If you’re interested in unconventional pets, you may have given mice and rats a thought. Both mice and rats can make excellent pets for the right person, as long as you give them the care and attention they need.
Rats and mice may look fairly similar, but they’re still two different species. This may lead you to wonder: Can I house my rats and mice together in one space? Simply put, no, you cannot house both mice and rats together.
Below, we’ll share some reasons why these small critters are best left separated. To learn more, read on!
Why Own Rats or Mice?
Owning rats or mice can be a rewarding experience for the right person. While some people squirm at the thought of these small rodents, others see the benefits of raising rats and mice.
Firstly, rats and mice are both relatively low-maintenance pets. They don’t require much space and can easily live in small houses or apartments as long as your lease allows them. They’re also much cleaner than most people expect and rarely smell as long as you clean up after them regularly.
Rats and mice are also highly intelligent, can easily learn new tricks, and can even be litter-trained. This can further help you keep their cage clean, as you’ll have a set waste space to clean regularly.
Finally, rats and mice both have excellent personalities. They can be quite charming and some even love to cuddle, which can help reduce stress in their owners. While rats and mice aren’t for everyone, they certainly make great companions for those who know how to appreciate them.
Housing Requirements for Mice
Mice don’t need much space, but they still need a cage large enough for them to move, climb, and explore easily without getting hurt. At a minimum, their cage size should be 12” x 18” x 30” to give them the space needed to not grow stressed. The cage should also be made of a solid material that they can’t chew through, such as tight wire bars or even glass.
Inside the cage, your mice need absorbent bedding, a nesting box, several hiding places, and toys such as chew blocks and exercise wheels. They also enjoy cages with stairs or ledges for climbing as long as they are not too high up to prevent fall injuries.
Remember that your mice need access to regular food and water. You can find food designed for mice at your local pet store, and you can find water dispensers there as well. Most mice prefer using water bottles that you can attach to the side of their cage rather than a bowl, as bowls can become messy easily.
Remember that mice have small mouths, so any grain, vegetables, fruit, or seeds you give them should be small enough for them to consume easily.
Housing Requirements for Rats
Though rats just look like bigger mice, they are an entirely different species with entirely different needs. Rats need a larger cage than mice due to their larger size.
The minimum size cage you should get for a family of rats is 24” x 24” x 36” to give them plenty of space to run around and explore. This cage must also be chew-proof using durable metal wire bars or glass siding. You can read more about the cage requirements here.
Rats are easily litter-trained, so you may want to have a dedicated potty corner for easy cleaning. You should also get them soft bedding for their cage and their nesting box, so they can burrow to their hearts’ content. Apart from good rat bedding, they will also need several toys including chew blocks, balls, and running wheels to exercise.
Rats have different dietary needs than mice due to their size and nutritional requirements. Make sure any feed you get is specifically designed for rats. Preferably they should be fed a combination of grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Why Mice and Rats Cannot Be Housed Together
The primary issue when it comes to housing both mice and rats is that rats tend to be more territorial than mice. This doesn’t bode well for the mice, since they’re usually much smaller than rats. While mice are easy-going and quite social, rats enjoy having their own space and can grow aggressive if they feel threatened.
If you house your mice and rats together, your rats will likely seriously injure your mice or even kill them. This close proximity could also cause stress in your mice, as they may fear being attacked by your rats.
If you plan to have mice and rats, make sure you house them separately with their own kind. These creatures love to be social, but only if paired with those of their own species.
Alternatively, you can house mice and hamsters together. I’ve done it for years with different types of mice and hamsters and they lived happily ever after for years.
Advice for Housing Your Rodents
For those wanting to own both mice and rats at the same time, we have some advice for you. Firstly, make sure you don’t put your rat cage and mice cage too close to one another. It can be in one room though.
Since rats are predators of mice, your mice may grow stressed at having rats so nearby. Keep them in separate rooms so they do not become stressed in proximity to one another.
You should also make sure that your mice and rats both have stimulation from both toys and additional mates. Mice and rats should not be housed alone as they are incredibly social and enjoy one another’s company. If you keep them isolated, they may grow anxious and depressed, which can lead to additional health issues.
Finally, make sure your nesting boxes have different bedding than the rest of the cage so there is a distinct difference between the two. For example, you may want absorbent bedding like paper for the cage but soft fleece for the nesting boxes.
Mice and rats are both rewarding species to raise, but they both have individual needs. Make sure you keep them separate and follow their needs to keep them stress-free, happy, and healthy for the rest of their days.