Getting a pet mouse can be a good idea, but only if you choose a species that’s suitable for the household environment. Not to mention, the source of the mouse is also essential.
A merle mouse can be of any species, but if we’re talking about pet mice, a fancy rat with a merle appearance is what you’re looking for here.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about merle mice, including tips and tricks on how to pet them. So, let’s get started!
What Is a Merle Mouse?
“Merle” isn’t actually a species or color. A merle mouse is simply a fancy rat that has dark splash spots on its fur, giving it a similar appearance to merle dogs, hence the name. The rat would often have a light-colored fur that contrasts with the darker spots.
However, in some cases, the patches may not be immediately noticeable if there’s little contrast between the primary color and that of the spots.
What Species Do Merle Mice Belong To?
There are no exclusive species to which merle mice belong. However, they’re commonly found in the offspring of fancy rats. These rats make an excellent choice as domesticated animals.
Merle Mouse Genetics
The genetics of merle mice aren’t really clear. It’s not known what causes mice to have patterned fur with dark spots. What’s even more interesting is that as the mouse ages, the dark spots may start disappearing or even blend in with the rest of the fur thoroughly.
However, it’s widely agreed that merle mice only appear in USA mink-based species.
Associated Risks of Petting a Merle Mouse
It’s generally considered safe to pet a merle mouse. However, complications may rarely occur as a result of environmental and biological causes.
Mice are curious creatures, and they like to bite on virtually anything. So, a mouse at home could result in chewed electrical wires, furniture, and of course, food. Electrical damage is thought to be the most critical since it can result in high repair costs or even death.
There’s also the risk of disease transmission. Merle mice may carry and transmit these diseases:
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV). This is a rare condition, and if a merle rat transmits the disease to a human, it won’t likely cause anything more than a mild infection.
- Rickettsialpox. Similar to LCMV, Rickettsialpox is a rare condition and maybe the reason behind a 2-3 week infection in humans.
- Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis transmits to merle mice through contaminated moist urine. Unlike the previous 2 diseases, Leptospirosis can be life-threatening, especially if not treated. However, it’s not very common, and as long as you follow the required hygiene protocol when petting a merle mouse, you should be safe.
Tips on Raising Merle Mice
Here’s how to safely pet a merle mouse at home:
- Wash your hands before and after playing with your merle mouse.
- Don’t eat or drink within 10 feet of your mouse.
- Keep your face away from your merle mouse.
- Avoid letting your mouse reach the kitchen or any other place that contains food.
- Disinfect and clean the area around your mouse’s habitat regularly.
- Take your merle mouse to the vet once every 2-3 months to check its health.
- Clean your pet’s tools and dishware outside your home.
- Feed your mouse regularly using a balanced diet that contains proteins, carbs, and fats.
Are Merle Mice Black or Pink-Eyed?
Merle mice usually have black eyes, but it’s not uncommon to find some pink-eyed ones. Nevertheless, if a female merle gave birth to 5 rats, they’ll probably have black eyes except for maybe 1 or 2 of them.
A pink-eyed merle often develops a silver patterned fur, which compliments its eye color.
Are Merle Mice Considered House Mice?
It depends on what species a merle mouse is. If a merle mouse belongs to the house mice species, this means that you can pet it. However, some merle mice species can be particularly dangerous and infest buildings.
If you get your merle mouse from a reputable pet store, there’s no need to worry about its species since the store won’t raise a species not suitable for domestication. However, asking the pet store guy about its species won’t hurt.
So that was a quick overview of merle mice as pets. In short, keeping a merle mouse at home is fine, as long as you practice the necessary hygiene precautions.