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Living substrate ( ancient q never got answered)

3844 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  RockyMountainMice
Guys years ago when i first tried mouse breeeding and keeping I met this wonderful chap from Trimdon in Co durham who kept his mice in adapted aquaria, IE the mesh top replacing the plastic lid and a few 5 mm vent holes drilled through the glass to help shift ammonia. But the other thing I remember was the floor of his tanks had either, grass or sedum actually growing along the bottom 2/3 of the floor on a 2 inch bed of peat compost, he also had soime sorts of small creeping climbing plants growing in the mousery. It looked like a planted aquarium for mice ( cant think of another way or desribing it. He took this approach after some of his best pets developed lung problems cos of the wood shavings he used at that time.

Does any of the current generation go for the natural approach to mouse keeping these days, because i would like to find the most natural balanced environment I can if possible.
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I keep my colony of harvest mice in a natural environment but my pet mice live in the equivalent of a kids playground with silent spinner wheels, rope toys to climb on, plastic houses and tunnels, hammocks etc.
Harvest mice, thats one of gods few creatures I have never seen in real life, and I live next to a cornfield !!!. got garden mice living under a rhodadendron in the garden, no chance of catching them folks though, to fast even for the family were terrier. :D

I wonder how turf would fare in a mousery???
If you want to use living turf, it will need watering often and I think you'll find that makes the living conditions for the mice too damp. My harvest mice have a peat substrate and dried wheat stalks.
I would stick to conventional materials like paper based substrates and beddings. There are some good ones out there (Bedxcel substrate and PetLife safe bedding) are two of the best examples. Because they are paper based (not wood based) they won`t cause any problems to your mice. Some mice can even start having respiratory issues with other substrates like Megazorb, Carefresh and of course, shavings, so I would avoid those. Megazorb might not be so bad, but Carefresh and shavings are potential hazards to mice, even though manufacturers will tell you otherwise.

Using peat and soil is`nt a good idea because they retain moisture and because the mice are in a confined area (i.e, not outside) the substrate would build bacteria and cause problems. So until there is a soil based substrate made for rodents that is dry and safe, I would steer clear.
Aha of course Moisture the dreaded problem for keeping mice, I thought something natural like turf of sedum would be better but of course it would cause real health issues if not carefully managed. Cheers folks Back to the drawing board.
I am actually planning something very similar to this, steve.
Here is my thread about it: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=9666
The substrate I plan to use is Exo Terra Plantation Soil, it is coconut-based and is safe for all animals. I am not 100% sure how it will work for tunneling but it says that it's good for that, plus I've heard many people use it for burrowing Amphibians/Reptiles and that it works well. So, I am definitely going to give it a try! :) We bought some of that soil (linked in my thread) for our Gecko and it seems like it would be great for mice.
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