KATHMANDU: When it comes to small and adorable pets, white mouse have always won over hearts. Their intelligent and friendly nature is the basic reason why they have landed as pets in houses. Born with pointed muzzles, long whiskers, compact bodies and clawed feet, they can bring a smile on everyone face. An adult white mouse measures 18-20 cm in length and their tail can grow up to 16-18 cm. A white mouse’s tail is long almost equal to their body. The average life span of white mice is around 2 years. As with any other pets a white mouse will need care and attention. “If you are keeping it as a pet and you want it to live to its fullest, you should give full attention to its habitat, diet, behaviour and its shelter,” suggested Dr Binab Karmacharya, veterinary officer of Central Zoo at Jawalakhel.

Know their nature

According to Dr Karmacharya, these amiable animals are colour blind, but they are very sensitive to any sudden change in the environment. Besides their co-operative nature, they can always turn cannibal. “That is why it is better to keep pregnant and baby mice separately from each other,” informed Karmacharya.

The worst thing about white mice is that they excrete frequently. “Since they are voracious eaters, their habitat is always filled with dirty faeces,” he said. “On the other hand, you need to get mentally prepared that they are mischievous and playful animals,” added Karmacharya.

Feeding

They prefer eating variety of green fresh vegetables, fruits and grain. You don’t need to worry that overfeeding may turn harmful to them. Karmacharya informed that their balance diet should include five grams of each- carrot, pumpkin, potato, unhusked rice and seasonal green leaves and grams. In summer seeding grass is best diet for them.

Breeding

Mice can live up to two years. They are prolific breeders. “As they attain sexual maturity at the age of 6-7 weeks, they can deliver 6-9 babies after a gestation period of about 19 days,” he informed .The babies are born pink and blind, and during this tender period one should not play with them. If you pick up the babies, do not keep them out in the sun for too long. After about six days or so the fur will start to grow, and faint colour will appear. It takes almost 10 days to open their eyes and at this age, it is safe enough to handle them.

Vaccination

Mice are not only beautiful creatures of nature but can be source of deadly diseases like plague and rabies. So timely vaccination is necessary to keep such risks at bay. Karmacharya also informed that such vaccinations also protect your pet from their own possible ailments too. “However, white mice are generally healthy animals and if looked after properly throughout their life, they are likely to remain fit and active,” claimed

Karmacharya.