When you picture a mouse eating, chances are you visualize a cartoon mouse nibbling a block of cheese or a pest creeping out of holes in the wall, gnawing holes in cereal boxes. The truth is, pet mice need a balanced diet made up of both commercial rodent food and fresh food to stay healthy.
Of course, you want to be sure you’re only offering your mouse safe and healthy foods. What vegetables are okay for mice? Can mice eat cucumbers, for example? Yes, mice can eat cucumbers as a supplement to their primary diet.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to successfully incorporate vegetables like cucumbers into a mouse’s diet as well as some vegetables and other foods you should never feed your mice.
Feeding Your Mouse: The Basics
About 75% of your mouse’s daily diet should be made up of commercial rodent food, either in pellet or block form. Mice are omnivores so these foods should contain both plant and animal nutrition sources. Look for a diet with at least 18% fiber, 16% protein, and less than 4% fat.
In addition to their commercial diet, mice need a variety of fruits and vegetables to keep them healthy. It’s best to rotate the types of fresh food you offer to keep things interesting for your mice and give them access to as many different nutrients as possible.
Cucumbers can and should be one of the vegetables you feed your mice and we’ll talk about why next.
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Why Cucumbers Are Good For Mice
Cucumbers are chock full of vitamins and minerals, making them a healthy choice to feed your mice. Mice have different nutritional requirements than humans, but cucumbers contain several nutrients that are beneficial to mice.
A cucumber contains both magnesium and folic acid, two nutrients that are essential for mice, especially when they are growing. These long green veggies are also good sources of potassium and calcium, which help mice maintain strong bones and overall health.
Another benefit of cucumbers is their high water content. Lack of water can be very dangerous to mice. While mice should always have access to fresh water, eating cucumbers can also help them stay hydrated.
How To Feed Cucumbers To Your Mouse
If most of a mouse’s diet should be made up of block or pellet food, how much cucumber should you feed, and how often?
As a general rule, mice should be offered a few pieces of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Again, you don’t want your mouse to fill up on these other foods and not eat enough of the more nutritionally balanced rodent food. Fruits and vegetables are meant to supplement the primary diet, not serve as the primary food source.
Cucumbers can be offered peeled or unpeeled, depending on what your mouse prefers. Mice are natural foragers so scattering some food, like cucumbers, throughout their cage allows them to perform this behavior.
Clean up any uneaten fresh food, including cucumbers, at the end of each day so they don’t spoil.
Image Credit: Kseniia Vladimirovna, Shutterstock
Other Dos And Don’ts Of Feeding Mice
Besides cucumbers, some other fresh fruits and vegetables you can offer your mouse include:
Occasional treats of seeds, crackers, or cereal or okay but don’t feed these too often as they can be high in fat and don’t offer much nutritional value.
You should also avoid feeding a seed mix diet instead of pellets or blocks. Mice often pick through the seed mix, eating only their favorite items, leading them to miss out on vital nutrients.
Some foods, even some fruits and vegetables, shouldn’t be fed to mice because they are unhealthy or dangerous. A few of these foods are:
Before you offer any new food to your mice, double-check that it’s safe for them to eat. Your veterinarian is a good resource for this information. You should also consult your vet if your mouse accidentally eats something you know isn’t good for them or if you have any concerns about their overall health.
Mice are adorable and easy to care for pets but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the few needs that they do have. Part of responsible pet ownership is making sure your pet, large or small, gets the food they need to stay healthy. For mice, that means feeding a quality, rodent-specific food along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers are just one of the many vegetables your mouse may enjoy as part of a balanced diet.
Featured Image Credit by Roger Wissman, Shutterstock