Can cages be too big?

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Can cages be too big?

Post by CucumberMouse on Fri 29 Sep 2017, 9:57 pm

Hi everyone, I had never really heard this before I found this forum, but a lot of you have been saying that if mice have too much space in their cage, they can become aggressive, and "wild". My current mouse, Cucumber has an entire detolf all to himself right now, and has lived in it from the day I first got him. He has done fine with the cage his whole life, and was very easy to tame (it took only about 3-4 days after I started the taming process until he seemed comfortable exploring and sitting on my hand). I know every mouse is different, but I was wondering, about how often do mice really become aggressive due to large amounts of space? As long as you don't switch around their set-up that often, or clean the tank too much (as it would get rid of their scent trails) then they would probably be fine, right? Also, providing plenty of houses and places to hide could help a mouse not to be as nervous, I like to put at least one hide in for every 200 square inches in the cage, so I usually have 6+ huts in the cage at any given time. I understand how it might be dangerous with female mice, as they live with other mice and not alone, leading to possible territory issues. I guess what I'm asking is, Is there actually a high risk of mice becoming "wild" if they're given too much space? Could having less space (even if its above the minimum) cause mice to be more aggressive than if they had more space? What are all of your experiences on the subject? Sorry for the long question, I'm just very confused about the whole thing Confused
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Re: Can cages be too big?

Post by Peachy on Fri 29 Sep 2017, 10:22 pm

This is mostly an issue with mice who aren't fully tamed, who have territorial personalities, and/or a group of females who aren't fully bonded. Mice CAN do fantastic with large spaces, as you're seeing with your guy, but sometimes they can't. That's why we usually recommend starting off with the minimum size and moving up when you think they can handle it. If he's doing fine, leave him be. Smile

I have a territorial boy now. They get more aggressive with larger spaces because there's more for them to defend from intruders!

I've also had females who suddenly turned on others that they didn't like when I added a shelf. When they have space to have their own space, they'll take it. Think of kids and their "clubs."

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Re: Can cages be too big?

Post by CallaLily on Sat 30 Sep 2017, 8:28 am

@Peachy wrote:This is mostly an issue with mice who aren't fully tamed, who have territorial personalities, and/or a group of females who aren't fully bonded. Mice CAN do fantastic with large spaces, as you're seeing with your guy, but sometimes they can't. That's why we usually recommend starting off with the minimum size and moving up when you think they can handle it. If he's doing fine, leave him be. Smile

This exactly.

I do think that sometimes that gets misunderstood or simplified and then becomes "mice shouldn't have large spaces."  Which isn't the whole truth.


I had a pair of girls who did nothing but bicker in a 29g tank, but did fine when I moved them down to a 15g. But I also had groups of 3, 4, and 6 girls do great in a 40g breeder.  And a boy that did awesome in a 29g from day 1 - though he was an adoption who had obviously been handled well by his previous owner.  It definitely can depend on the individual mice.  Smile


Last edited by CallaLily on Sun 01 Oct 2017, 9:37 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Can cages be too big?

Post by CucumberMouse on Sun 01 Oct 2017, 12:15 am

I see, that makes more sense. I'll definitely be more careful to start out my future mice with smaller cages, and move them up to bigger ones when I feel they're ready Smile thanks for helping to clarify that for me
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