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Deer Mouse
(Peromyscus leucopus)

Article By Ann Vole

Postives Of Deer & White-Footed Mice As Pets:

  • Both have been domestic bred and have lots of colors and genes available (but all mine are wild caught)
  • They usually get along with each other
  • If kept in a large group, the will not breed (but pairs by them selves breed quite fine)
  • They are very active and fun to watch
  • They are easier than fancy mice to hold without getting bit
  • Their native colors look quite beautiful
  • Use mouse and/or gerbil accessories
Negatives Of Deer & White-Footed Mice As Pets:
  • Everyone reminds you about hantavirus (very little chance of them having it after quarantine and no chance if captive bred from breeders or labs)
  • They are good escape artists
  • They chew as much as gerbils
  • Like gerbils, some individuals will attack any ones added

When the run wheel gets stuck, some deer mice will run in fast circles inside the stuck run wheel like match box toy racing cars doing the loop-de-loop.

Do they have scent glands or smell?
I cannot smell any glands or special smells. The litter smells like human urine when wet from urine

How long do they live?
I have read about various captive species in labs that live 4-10 years depending on species.

Do they enjoy interaction?
They seem to calm down fast when you pet them and enjoy being petted.

What is their general personality, disposition, attitude?
Deer mice: they are like gerbils on "hyper" setting they are very easily distracted and are very curious about anything new.
White-footed mice: These ones are a lot calmer but they can run faster. They are less curious but they play fight lots (and the winner grooms the looser)

Are they sweet and petable, or mischievous and playful?
Deer mice: very mischievous and will often tease each other (e.g. if someone is stopped to eat, another will steal the food then throw it at the mouse it just took it from) They like to be petted but are too hyper to stay still too long White-footed: these are more sweet and love to cuddle with each%20other. They will stop to let you pet them if still loose in their home but do not like to be held as much.

How messy are their droppings?
Their droppings are often the consistency of peanut butter but dry quickly. They do not smell much.

Can they be trained?
They are quite smart and always naturally do neat moves (back flips, roll-over, run on hind feet, climb anything, drag or carry things around) so I think they could be trained if you could ever consistently catch their attention.

How are deer mice with other pets, larger and smaller?
I have kept deer mice with house mice and with gerbils without problems from the deer mice. I have never kept the white-footed mice with any other species.

What size cage do they need?
They love to sleep in a big pile (even bigger, taller piles then other rodents because they do not seem to need to have their nose exposed like mice or gerbils do) so not much per animal but being so active, they do need lots of vertical room to jump (two feet straight up with ease) and lots of things to jump to and from.

What is the best diet for them?
Mouse/rat food with extra fat and protein from seeds like flax or insects.

What vaccinations/vet care do they require?
None, unless ill.

At what age would it be best to get one?
Younger would probably be better, but not by much.

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