As with any pet, good quality food and clean, fresh water must be provided at all times. In the wild, these animals feed on leaves, seeds, roots, fruits and insects. Pellet rodent rations are recommended for feeding in captivity (Oxbow), which is processed as dry blocks or pellets. Typical maintenance diets contain about 14% protein and 4 to 5% fat, while diets for growth and reproduction contain 17 to 19% protein and 7 to 11% fat. Seed diets are also formulated for mice and rats, but these diets should only supplement the basic rodent pellet as a treat item. Rodents prefer sunflower-based diets to pellets, but these seeds are low in calcium and high in fat and cholesterol. When fed exclusively, seed diets can lead to obesity and nutritional deficiencies.
The pet’s appetite should be monitored closely. Many factors affect the rodent’s food intake, including the ambient temperature, humidity, food quality, breeding status as well as the pet’s health status. On average, an adult mouse will consume about 15grams of feed and 15ml of water per 100grams of body weight daily. Rats and mice typically eat at night.
Water should be provided in water bottles equipped with sipper tubes. The sipper tube keeps the water free from contamination. The tubes must be positioned low enough to allow the pet easy access. Inadequate water consumption leads to dehydration, lower body weight, infertility and death. These rodents drink only a fraction of the total bottle volume, but the bottle should be emptied, cleaned and refilled with fresh water daily.