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Should I Get a Rat Or Should I Get a Mouse? 5 Key Factors

Figuring out “should I get a rat or should I get a mouse?” is never a simple decision.

Have you fallen in love with long-tailed rodents? Unlike other rodents, such as guinea pigs or hamsters, rats and mice sport nice tails. But now you face the big question: Which one is a better fit for you? Do you want mice , a mouse, or rats?  

Continue reading, and hopefully, the answer to this question will become clear to you.

Should I Get a Mouse Or Should I Get a Rat?  

1. Do You Want a Singular Pet or Multiple Pets? 

Only a male mouse should be kept singular, while both female and male rats should be kept in at least pairs, and female mice should be kept in groups. So, if you only want to adopt a singular pet, a male mouse is the best option. This is because male mice tend to be more territorial than others.

So, if you want multiple pets, go for any group of same-sex rats pairing or female mice will be more suited for you.

2. Rat & Mice Life Spans 

The life spans of both mice and rats are relatively short. The oldest a mouse tends to live to is two years, while rats may live until the age of three years old. While they do have shorter life spans than other pets, this does not mean they are less of a commitment.  

3. Rat & Mice Habitat Space 

As the size of the animals suggests, housing rats will require more space for their cage then mice will. Rats and mice tend to like to climb more than other rodents, but do require a certain number of square inches for running space. 

The minimum size limit for a singular male mouse would be 214 inches squared, which would convert to being 18 inches long and 12 inches wide. For each additional mouse past the first, you should add another half of a foot of space.  

For rats, the minimum amount of space for one rat -which as stated above, is not an ideal living situation- is 280 square inches, or 20 inches long by 14 inches in width. For each additional rat, you should add another foot of space. 

These are only the minimums for the amount of space you should have for mice and rats in North America, and for all animals, the more space the better.  

4. Rats & Mice Personalities 

Between rats and mice, rats are the more sociable of the two animals. Owners will find it easier to build strong bonds with a rat and to teach them tricks. Rats needed time daily to spend with their owner, and to play around outside of the cage. Cuddles, licks, and kisses are often displays of affection.  

Mice are the scarcer of the two animals and will prefer to scurry around and explore then to cuddle their owner. They are a better pet if you prefer to watch your pet or pets interact with their habitat, then directly interact with them yourself. You will need to provide basic care daily as all animals require, but it is fine to go a day without handling them, though daily handling will build a better bond. 

5. Price Comparision

Overall, rats cost more than mice. This is because their habitats are bigger, they tend to have longer life spans, and so their cost is higher in the long run. 

Monthly costs are roughly the same though, as both require food pellets, additional vegetables and fruit in their diet, bedding, and a plentiful amount of chew toys. This cost is hard to compare between animals, as a large colony of mice will eat more then two rats will. When just comparing two mice or two rats though, the rats will eat more when just comparing the sizes.

Should I Get a Mouse, Mice, or Should I Get Rats?

If cost, space, time, and the ability to make a long commitment with an animal (example: you know you will be moving in three years) are scarce for you, a singular male mouse is the best pet for you. Their habitat is the smallest out of the options, the cost the lowest, and their lifespan is the shortest, making them the lowest level of commitment. 

On the other hand, if space and cost are not an issue for you, can commit to caring for a pet for three or more years, and would like a pet that shows affection, adopting a pair or group of rats would probably suit your life a lot better.  

If cost and space are not an issue, but you might not have the time to commit to spending time with pets daily, or prefer to indirectly interact with your pets and watch them interact, a nest of mice would be the best match for you.  

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