Our Spiny Mice Personalities:

Spiny mice are little bundles of energy that need fairly large cages and lots of enrichment. They are good jumpers and climbers, so you must be careful when changing the cage/interacting with them as they will often climb/jump to the top to explore.

Our spiny-butts (TGR’s preferred term) are very curious and love to roam. If you pick them up you must avoid the tail as it is very easy to deglove and will not grow back.

Quick and Dirty Facts:

  • Have spines! Not sharp like a hedgehog, more like stiffened hairs.
  • Long gestation: about 40 days
  • Precocial: born with eyes and ears open
  • Small litters: on average, two pups
  •  Long lived: on average 3-5 years, but records of 7 years in captivity
  • Read more here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4747004/

The easiest cage you can get for a spiny mouse is a glass tank. Cleaned properly (ie: before you notice a smell) tanks are perfectly acceptable methods of housing spiny mice. We recommend twenty gallon long tanks as a minimum as it allows for lots enrichment and running space. They should be offered at least one hide, one wheel, and some kind of toy. They prefer warm tanks, about 80F (26C), and can be offered a heat source such as a lamp if your house is too cold. Make sure to check the temperatures under the lamp to make sure it’s not too hot. They must also not be able to touch the bulb to avoid burns. If you do not feel comfortable offering a heat lamp safely, do not offer it at all.

We do not recommend bin cages for spiny mice at this time. They are avid chewers and do better in a glass tank or a wire mesh cage with a solid bottom for bedding.

Critter-trail cages or similar are not acceptable housing. They are small, hard to clean, and hard to add things to. The wheels included are usually too small and it’s nearly impossible to offer bigger.

 
We recommend regular cleaning at least once every two weeks regardless of cage, with occasional spot-cleaning in between. Spiny mice have almost no smell, and don’t drink a lot of water leading to very little waste. They are adapted to desert environments and are used to using every little bit of water and food they can find. 
We highly recommend kiln-dried pine as your primary bedding for spiny mice. It has superb ammonia control and is also really fun to dig in. They can also be given small amounts of hay and shredded paper to nest with but this needs to be taken out once soiled. Though spiny mice do not actively dig tunnels, they will dig around for food and make small nests so offer about 2″ of bedding. P.S. The Tractor Supply has big bags of bedding for about $4 versus pet shops selling the same size bag for $12-20.

 

Paper beddings such as CareFresh have very little ammonia control and can be very dangerous for your mouse’s health. There are studies showing that CareFresh in particular quickly builds up dangerous levels of ammonia very quickly. If you find that you are allergic to pine, I recommend using aspen instead (or vice-versa if you are currently using aspen). Should you be allergic to both types of wood bedding, you can use paper-based beddings but be sure to change the bedding very often and spot-clean pee corners.

 

Tallgrass Rattery does NOT endorse fleece bedding. Fleece has zero ammonia control properties, which can quickly lead to sick animals.
There are many different types of food available for spiny mice. Two of the best brands are Mazuri and Oxbow (Adult Rat and Mouse). In addition to a stable block, spiny mice must have some source of high protein food. The easiest is sunflower seeds, and can make up to 1/3 of their diet. Spiny mice are prone to diabetes, so must be watched for obesity or sudden increases in water intakes. They LOVE sunflower seeds, but don’t let them eat too many! Avoid seed mixes as they will happily pick and choose what they like which is often the yummy unhealthy stuff. Veggies and fruits can be offered sparingly, but are not necessary. They do love live meals such as crickets however.
 
At TGR we feed Producer’s Pride Hog Feed (the red bag) which can be found at The Tractor Supply for about $13 and is 50 lbs of food. It has almost the exact same ingredients as Mazuri, at a fraction of the cost and without BHA. This is by far the best bang for your buck, but if you only have a few pets may be way too much food (you can purchase smaller quantities from us at 50 cents/pound if you’d like). We offer a bowl of pellets with a smaller bowl of sunflower seeds. They always eat the seeds first, but we wait until most of the pellets are gone before filling up both.

Really easy toys come from trash: toilet paper rolls (cut open to avoid getting stuck), egg cartons, small boxes (rip off bottom to avoid pee-soaking), or ripped up paper for extra nesting material. There are so many YouTube videos on how to repurpose stuff for toys so I won’t go into too much detail here. Just make sure to change out toys/hides before it starts stinking as paper and boxes soak up pee and that built up ammonia can lead to sick mice. Spiny mice are super active and love to things to climb, run through, and changes in their cage to investigate.

One of the easiest forms of enrichment is treat balls (wrapping up in paper or hiding in paper rolls) or simply scatter-feeding. There is nothing wrong with having your pets work for their food. This works their brains and keeps them active physically as well.

Most spiny mice will enjoy getting out of their cage for a time as well, so feel free to scoop them up (again, never pick up spinys by the tail) and set them in your lap or in a designated play space they can’t escape from (tub, table, large box/bin). Always make sure to supervise during free-roam time. Do not take your mice out in public, as it is simply too easy to lose them and if taken to a pet store they could easily pick up diseases from animals there. 

How many spiny mice should I keep? This a common question, and one that has many answers. First off, one should never get more mice than they have the time or money for. While fairly cheap and easy to care for, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. The best number for a new owner is three spiny mice, otherwise known as a trio. Spiny mice are highly social animals and should never be housed alone, and getting a trio ensures that should one pass away, the remaining mice are not alone. Once you get down to one/two mice you will have to make the decision to bring more into your household, or perhaps give away the remaining single mouse either back to TGR if from us, or to another home that has mice.

Spiny mice do super well in large colonies but always be sure not to overcrowd a cage. If you notice bites on their tails this could be from fights due to overcrowding (or too little protein in their diet). 

Adopting

Only knowledgeable homes are able to take home new pets from me. I will not adopt to you if you have obviously not done research on your new pet, so please use this page to help you do just that! You must fill out the following adoption questionnaire and provide proof of proper housing before you can adopt.

Thank you for choosing TGR!