8 Cheapest Mice to Keep as Pets

Written by Zoe Carina
Published: November 2, 2023
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There are many factors that go into choosing the right pet. Potential owners have to keep environment, lifestyle, and budget in mind, among other things. While many people choose a dog or cat, these animals aren’t always the best option for folks. Some people do not have the time for daily dog walks or cleaning litter boxes.

For some, mice make the ideal pet. They generally tend to be less time consuming, require less food, and have shorter lifespans. Plus, they are considerably more affordable.

If you want cheap pet mice, you’ll still need to keep things in mind. Mice require a particular diet, must live in pairs or large groups, and can run into health issues. They also require special habitats that are well-ventilated and bedding that needs regular changing.

Before purchasing your mice, make sure you know which species are native to your area. In the off chance that they escape, native species will cause less harm to the ecosystem. Here are eight mice that are cheap and affordable to keep as pets.

Cactus Mice – North America

Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus Eremicus)

Cactus mice lower their metabolisms in hotter temperatures.

©Liz Weber/Shutterstock.com

For experienced rodent owners, the cactus mouse is a wonderful and affordable pet mouse. The animals are nocturnal, active, and shy.

To buy a cactus mouse, expect to spend between $20 and $40 USD. To create a suitable habitat and provide the right toys and food for your cactus mouse will cost extra. There could also be unexpected medical expenses so, if possible, set an amount of funds aside.

These mice can live anywhere from one to three years domesticated. They require a 10-gallon tank with a mesh lid. Layer bedding at the bottom and ensure there are hiding spots, climbing opportunities, and a box for nesting.

Expect to purchase a mixture of seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, and mealworms to maintain the cactus mouses diet. Potential health problems include respiratory and dental issues, and skin conditions.

Deer Mice – North America

Side view of a deer mouse on a white background.

The deer mouse has a light-colored underside, unlike the common house mouse.

©Close Encounters Photo/Shutterstock.com

Another affordable pet mouse is the deer mouse, native to North America. The mice are nocturnal, active, and tend to be quite timid.

The initial cost for each deer mouse will range between $10 to $30 USD. They are not commonly sold, so if you’re keen on a deer mouse, you might have to do some searching. The rodents need a specific habitat, food, and toys, which will cost extra. Plus, medical expenses could suddenly pop up.

Deer mice have an expected lifespan of one to two years in captivity, with proper care. Prepare a 10-gallon tank with a mesh lid, layers of bedding, hiding spots, climbing spots, and a place to nest.

Another cost to consider is food, which will be a mixture of seeds, fruits, grains, veggies, and insects. Deer mice in particular are prone to mites, gastrointestinal issues, and respiratory infections.

Fancy Mice – Europe, North Africa, North and West Asia

Gray and white fancy mouse on a white background.

The fancy mouse is one of the oldest domesticated mouse species.

©Emilia Stasiak/Shutterstock.com

The perfect affordable pet mouse for young children (with the proper education beforehand) is the fancy mouse. These rodents are social, curious, and friendly when handled correctly. Fancy mice regularly form bonds with their human caretakers.

Each fancy mouse will cost anywhere between $5 and $25 USD. The mice require an enclosed 5-gallon tank or cage that includes hiding spots and plenty of toys.

The rodents live between one and a half and three years, though a few have been known to live longer. Fancy mice have a higher cost of food in a mix of high-quality mouse pellets, fruits, veggies, and the occasional piece of cooked chicken.

Fancy mice can fall ill with a respiratory infection, develop a tumor, or catch mites.

Field Mice – Europe, Northwest Africa

mouse jumping

Field mice do not have fur on their tails.

©iStock.com/LaperladiLabuan

For those who do not want to go through a breeder or pet shop, you can find a field mouse and take care of it. Only try to care for a field mouse if you’ve had experience with pet rodents before. Pay extra attention because wild mice can carry disease and infections not typically seen in domesticated breeds.

Field mice do not cost money to acquire if they are found in the wild. You can also acquire a domesticated field mouse, which is the preferred option. That’ll cost between $5 and $15 USD.

The mice require a 5-gallon tank with plenty of bedding, hiding and climbing spots, and a nesting box. In captivity, the rodents can live for up to two years. Field mice eat seeds, berries, buds, fruits, and tree bark. They are nocturnal and can be timid.

Harvest Mice – Europe

Animals With the Shortest Lifespan

Harvest mice can chew through anything softer than their teeth.

©colin robert varndell/Shutterstock.com

As one of the smallest rodents on this list, the harvest mouse is great for dedicated owners. Though still cheap pet mice, they require more effort than others on this list.

Harvest mice will generally run between $15 and $35 USD each and can be a bit difficult to find in stores. The animals require a secure, well-ventilated enclosure that has a mesh top. Make sure the bedding layer is deep, there are climbing branches, and plenty of hiding places. A nest box is essential.

Harvest mice require high-quality rodent mix, small amounts of veggies and fruits, and the occasional insect. A healthier breed on this list, with a lifespan of one to three years, they can still fall prey to respiratory infections, parasites, or fall injuries.

Long-Tailed Grass Mice – Australia

Little pet: mouse on arm. Long haired decorative little mouse. Home animal, fun pet. Cute mice. Bicolor splashed mouse on white background. Decorative satin mouse. Photo of mice, pet. Animal and hand

Long-tailed grass mice reach around four inches in adulthood.

©Sergey Bezgodov/Shutterstock.com

One of the larger rodents on this list, the long-tailed grass mouse is great for owners who want an active pet. These are social and curious creatures that love to climb and explore their environment.

The long-tailed grass mouse will cost anywhere between $5 and $25 USD. They require a 10-gallon tank with a mesh lid, bedding base layer, hiding spots, places to climb, and plenty of toys. They live anywhere between one and two years.

For feeding the long-tailed grass mice, you’ll need a high-quality rodent mix, seeds, grains, and some fresh fruits and veggies. Long-tailed grass mice can suffer from respiratory issues.

Sitka Mouse – North America

Mouse by Bed

Baby Sitka mice are called pinkies, kittens or pups.

©iStock.com/Flore Sakowski

The Sitka mouse is another affordable pet mouse commonly found in North America. These are nocturnal, active, and can be quite timid.

Each Sitka mouse can range between $10 and $30 USD. Most stores will not carry these rodents, so you’ll need to do some special searching to find the Sitka. These animals need a 10-gallon tank, extra bedding layers, climbing and hiding spots, and a nest box.

With the right care, you can expect to keep your Sitka mice from one to two years in capitivity. For food, the Sitka mice will need a mixture of seeds, fruits, grains, veggies, and insects.

These animals in particular are prone to mites, gastrointestinal issues, and respiratory infections.

White-footed Mouse – North America

White-footed Mouse

White-footed mice are excellent swimmers.

©iStock.com/Weber

For an affordable pet mouse that is friendly, social, and active, the white-footed mouse is a great option. These rodents love to run and play fight, cuddle, and receive pets.

These mice will typically cost between $10 to $15 USD, depending on where you find them. They are also common lab mice, so there is potential to rescue the animals from experimentation.

These mice require a 5-gallon tank or cage with plenty of bedding, hiding places, and spots to climb. White-footed mice love to nest in dark and quiet places. They can live between four to ten years if given the proper care.

The White-footed mouse survives on a diet of high-quality rodent mixture, seeds, and insects.

NameInitial Price per-Mouse
Cactus Mice$20 – $40 USD
Deer Mice$10 – $30 USD
Fancy Mice$5 – $25 USD
Field Mice$0 – $15 USD
Harvest Mice$15 – $35 USD
Long-Tailed Grass Mice$5 – $25 USD
Sitka Mouse$10 – $30 USD
White-footed Mouse$0- $15 USD

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Emilia Stasiak/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Zoe Carina is a writer at A-Z Animals who primarily covers plants, animals, and places around the world. Zoe has been a professional copywriter and freelancer for six years and holds a bachelors degree in communications from Florida State University, which they earned in 2019. A resident of Oregon, Zoe runs a blog called Intuitive Traveler, where they write about traveling and language learning.

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