Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Pet Owner Version

Selecting a Mouse


Katherine E. Quesenberry

, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian);

Thomas M. Donnelly

, BVSc, DVP, DACLAM, DABVP(ECM), The Kenneth S Warren Institute

Reviewed/Revised Jun 2020 | Modified Oct 2022

Mice are widely available at pet stores, or they may be obtained from a local breeder. When selecting a pet mouse, you should look for one that has smooth, glossy fur, clear eyes, and no obvious signs of trauma such as limping or hair loss on the body or tail. There should be no discharge from the eyes or nose and no signs of diarrhea in the mouse’s environment. Other signs of illness include matted fur, a hunched posture, and general dullness.

When awake, mice are usually lively and curious. Because mice are nocturnal, it may be best to visit a pet store and observe their mice in the evening rather than during the day.

For More Information

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!