Mice are among the cheapest pets out there and they’re an excellent choice due to their low price. However, just because they’re cheap doesn’t mean that they’re not amazing. Taking care of mice is very fun! They’re very smart and affectionate animals that can learn tricks and be trained very well.
Even though mice are cheap to buy, it’s still a good idea to know all the associated costs with owning one. After all, you have to buy more than just the mouse itself. You have to account for the cost of their cage, food, toys, vet costs, and more.
With all of these variable costs, it can be quite daunting to get a proper overview of how much you should expect to spend when you’re getting one of these rodents as a pet. That’s why I’ve decided to create a complete breakdown of all the costs that come along with owning a mouse as a pet. I will go over both the initial upfront cost and the monthly costs.
If you’re thinking about getting a mouse as your next pet, read this guide first and you’ll know exactly what to expect in terms of cost! That way you won’t face any surprises. Let’s begin!
- 1 Upfront costs
- 2 Monthly costs
- 3 Conclusion
Let’s begin by taking a look at the upfront costs of owning a mouse. The upfront costs of course include the price of purchasing the mouse itself, but it also includes their cage, water bottles, toys, hide houses, and other things.
The price of buying a mouse
Buying the mouse itself is the cheapest thing associated with owning a pet mouse. You can buy mice for around $2 to $10 each, which for a pet is incredibly cheap. It makes sense why, mice are among the most plentiful rodents on earth, and they breed very fast. They can have up to 12 mice per litter and they can have 15 litters per year! If you do the math, you’ll see that they can have 180 babies every single year.
Because there’s such a high supply of them the initial cost of buying one of them is very cheap.
Do keep in mind that if you’re buying female mice you should get at least two. Females are very social animals and really enjoy the company of another mouse living with them.
Having two of them is also a lot more fun; you can watch them interact and snuggle with each other. On top of that, taking care of two mice is really not much harder than taking care of one, so there’s not much reason to limit yourself to keeping only one of them!
You can buy mice from either a pet store or directly from breeders.
Price of a mouse cage
The first thing every pet mouse needs is a cage to live in. You should have this set up before you bring them home so you can put them in immediately.
Luckily, cages for mice can be pretty cheap. If you get a very basic cage or buy second hand you can find them for as little as $10. Cages that are marketed specifically towards mice owners are usually on the more expensive side. It is possible to house your mouse in a cage designed for hamsters, and those can be found for cheaper.
If you want to get really fancy, is also possible to spend a lot more. If you go for a high-end cage you can spend up to $150 for a cage!
The average price for a cage is around $60, so I would take this as a ballpark number for how much you’ll spend on a cage.
Mouse cage requirements
Smaller cages are usually cheaper, but demonstrably worse for your mouse to live in. You want them to have enough space to roam around, climb, stand up, and expend some energy. For that reason, it’s important that you get them a cage that is large enough to do all that.
The recommended minimum size for a cage to house your mice in is 60 centimeters (24 inches) wide x 50 centimeters long (20 inches) x 30 centimeters tall (12 inches). If you’re in doubt, it’s always better to go for the bigger cage. Your mice will appreciate you for it!
The bar size is also important; too small and they can’t hold onto the bars properly, too big and they can escape or hurt themselves. Make sure that the space between the bars is no more than the width of your little finger.
Some pet mouse owners also choose to house them in an aquarium (without water of course!). This is a viable option, the size of their tank should never be smaller than 10 gallons, but ideally 20 gallons.
Water bottle & food dish
Now that you have a cage for your mouse, they need a place where they can eat and drink. That means you’ll need to buy a water bottle and a food dish. You should expect to spend around $5-$10 on a water bottle.
If you’re looking for a good water bottle, this one is excellent. It has great reviews and is among the most popular water bottles for mouse owners.
A food bowl for your mice will cost around $3-10 dollars.
If you’re looking for a good food bowl, this one is very good. It’s marketed as a bowl for hamsters, but it works just fine for your mouse.
Mice are very intelligent animals, if they’re left in an empty, boring cage they will not be happy. In order for them to stay mentally stimulated it’s good for them to have some toys that they can play with. There are many different kinds of toys you can choose from.
I suggest you put a hideout, bridge, tunnels, exercise wheel, and chew toys in their cage.
In total, you can spend as much as you want on toys. However, the minimum recommended amount will probably be around $30-$40 for a hideout and a wheel while the average is around $50.
They will also break toys on occasion and you’ll probably want to give them some new toys at some point so let’s add $10 monthly for toys as well.
The total upfront cost of owning a mouse
So, now that we’ve gone over all the individual components that you need to buy upfront in order to give you mouse a good life let’s add it all together.
2 mice will cost you around $4-$20, let’s say $10 on average. The cage will set you back around $60. In order to furnish the cage, you’ll probably spend around $20 for the water bottle and food dish and $50 on toys.
If we add all those costs together we get a total average upfront cost of $10+$60+$20+$50 = $140 for 2 mice.
Keep in mind that the number mentioned above is a low-average; you can spend much more if you want to get fancy.
Now that we’ve established the total upfront costs it’s time to move on to the monthly costs. These costs are all the costs that are associated with taking care of your mice and their cage. This includes things like bedding, food, vet costs, and toy replacements.
To create a cozy living environment for your mouse, their cage will need bedding. Mice generally enjoy bedding made of aspen shavings or shreds. They also like chips made of maple, beech, and poplar.
You can find good bedding for their cage here. You can also choose to go for more expensive bedding like Carefresh, this will obviously be more expensive but some pet owners swear by it.
Bedding to avoid is those made of pine or cedar. They emit gasses that are harmful for your mouse to breathe in.
You will have to change their bedding quite frequently; around twice a week.
It’s best to buy a big bag of bedding because you’ll pay less per liter that way. A 52-liter bag of the aspen bedding I’ve linked before costs around $11 at the time of writing this, which means you’ll pay only $0.21 per liter. If you buy a smaller bag you’ll pay $0.32 per liter which is 50% more!
How much you spend on bedding is highly dependent on how big their cage is, whether or not you buy in bulk and how much bedding you put in. The recommended amount is about an inch (2.5 cm) thick on the floor of their cage.
A rough estimate of the amount you’ll spend on bedding is around $10 a month for 2 mice.
Food costs for mice
All living creatures need food and water, and mice are no exception. Luckily, mice are very small creatures and don’t eat a whole lot. They do have a very high metabolism so they burn the food they eat very quickly. Because of this, they need to eat very frequently.
They are omnivores so they will eat both meat and plants, but the optimal diet consists mainly of commercial mice food complemented with fresh fruits and vegetables. You can buy bags of mouse food online or in pet shops. Just like with the bedding, it’s more economical to buy it in bulk. As for the fruits and vegetables, they don’t need a lot of them and can eat most of the fruits and vegetables that you eat yourself. You can simply feed them small parts of whatever fruits and vegetables you’re eating!
How much you’ll spend on food of course depends on how many mice you have. Since I’ve written this guide from the perspective of getting two mice I will do the same for food costs. If you have two mice, budgeting around $10 a month should be more than enough.
When you get a mouse you of course hope that it will be happy and healthy for all its life, and I hope the same! If you provide them with a healthy diet and a good, hygienic environment you’ll have a good chance of them staying healthy. Nevertheless, even the healthiest mouse can get sick at some point in their life especially as they get older. For that reason, you should always budget for vet costs, you never know when you’ll need it.
You never want to be in a situation where your mouse gets sick and you can’t afford to take it to the vet. By putting away this money every month you’ll assure that if your mice do ever get sick you’ll be able to afford to get them the care they need.
I recommend you to save around $10 a month for each of your mice, so for two, it would be $20 a month.
Total monthly costs of taking care of mice
So, bedding, food, and toy replacements each cost $10 every month, and vet costs are around $20 a month. If we add those numbers together we get a total of $50 a month for two mice including vet costs.
This number can increase or decrease depending on your situation; if you get cheaper bedding, and house them in a smaller cage it will obviously be lower, but in my experience, it’s a good estimate.
So, we’re all done! We have calculated the total upfront costs of buying two mice and everything they need at an average of $140 and the total monthly costs at an average of $50 a month.
I hope this price breakdown for getting a pet mouse was informative for you as a prospective owner of a mouse. Hopefully helps you decide whether or not you’re ready for the commitment of taking care of these critters.
If there’s one thing this price breakdown has demonstrated it’s that, compared to other pets, mice are very cheap to buy and take care of. The fact that they’re quite cheap, small, yet very fun makes them a very good and enjoyable pet to have.
I believe that many people overlook mice as pets in favor of other more popular pets like cats and dogs, which is a shame. Mice are excellent companions that I think many people would love to have if they gave them a chance!