Housing nude mice
The text on this page is taken from an informal compilation of opinions of contributors to the online VOLE List. As such, they are not peer reviewed and may contain differences of opinion. Those wishing to contact the list may contact Adrian Smith.
I will be responsible for nude mice for the first time, and I would really appreciate your recommendations regarding the best bedding and nesting materials or any other practical tips you may have!
We have kept a colony on aspen wood bedding without issue for the majority of them, but we did have some in the colony who started developing some eye irritation on woodchips, so we moved them to Alpha-dri™ and that seemed to improve the condition. Whatever bedding you go for, make sure it's nothing dusty. I think the most important thing is ensuring they have some nesting to keep them nice and warm - lots of paper-based nesting material or similar.
I agree that a good quality aspen chip is usually OK for nude mice. Also corn-cob, but that always seems a bit prickly on the skin to me.
For nesting/shelter, both disposable (cardboard) or re-usable (plastic) houses seem OK for nudes, even if they shred the cardboard ones. However, avoid the cellulose/ paper-based nesting materials, as they tend to shed tiny fibres, which can get lodged in the eyes (nude mice have no/few eyelashes).
Many facilities use "happimats" (hemp fibre) for nude mice, as they provide an excellent soft nest. Sizzlenest (crunched paper strips) is also good, as it provides a nice structure - one unit I know uses both Happimats and Sizzlenest together - the mice build super nests from sizzle, lined inside with the hemp, which is important to help keep themselves warm.
We bed nude mice on deep Alpha-dri™, but we haven't (yet) found suitable nesting material. We were warned against using Nestlets™ (which we use for conventional mice). We use Sizzle-pet™ elsewhere in the unit (for rats, and sometimes for mice), so we might give that a try, given the recent positive recommendation for the related product Sizzle-nest™.
For housing, each cage has a small polycarbonate igloo and a small polycarbonate tunnel, so the mice can snuggle together in a small space for mutual warmth, and they even have a choice of bedroom.