The problem appears that I can't find any sort of proper bedding for my mouse.

I tried using ripped newspaper. It was fine until smells began coming out. I knew she was hiding her excrement down there, so I cleaned it and put dirt instead. She dislikes it extremely because she is unable to hide from us or from loud noises around her. She's forced to use the house I have for her or the toilet paper roll, but neither hide her well enough.

On the other hand, using dirt allows me to focus more on her and see what's she's doing which is very useful for me as I panic when I see nothing in the cage and hear nothing.

Sometimes I have to wake her up just so I know she's fine. Now I cleaned out the dirt, because I found out she was taking it outside of the cage in protest or in an attempt to make a hole.

I need a recommendation on what sort of cage floor and bedding to use.


For most small rodents, such as rats or mice, I would look to use hardwood wood shavings (aspen is usually easily found, depends on where you are). Avoid softwood shavings, such as pine or cedar as they're known to be very problematic and not just for rats and mice. There is also other bedding options, commercially available, made from recycled papers that can work. The trick with any of these options, however, is a regular cleaning of the cage.

I realize that you're keen to keep an eye on her, but you should probably consider the natural desire of a mouse to have some hiding places and make that available. I think I would be a little concerned with adding stress to her by not having that option around. Consider something like a cardboard box or PVC pipe. The former is easily replaced and the latter is easily cleaned.

  • Thank you, I'll try both the cardboard box and PVC Pipe!
    – user2503
    Jun 20 '14 at 21:10

What I like to use is shredded paper, because even though it is nessicary to clean it often, it has proven to be the more comfortable option for my mice. It is very easy for them to burrow in, and they can move and rip it as they please to build up on theirs “ house”. It is also really cheap. I can get many months out of one 3 dollar bag, it is also very obvious when I need to clean it because I can see the pee because the paper is white.


Depending on what you are using the lab rat for, this should be a very careful decision. They are many studies analyzing different types of cage beddings and many have advantages and disadvantages. As I do not know what you are using your rat for, I will provide you with a very useful document and allow you to decide. This document is from animalethics.org and is about rat housing in scientific institutions.

Some general guidelines though:

  1. Use a solid floor cage, not wire
  2. Use a bedding of larger particle size (wood shavings over saw dust for example)
  3. Wood chips seem to be one of the better bets and many types can be treated by autoclaving, however note that some cannot be autoclaved and that some may produce unwanted side effects in your rat.

Again depending on your needs, you will have to pick what is best for you.

The article can be found here and relevant information can be found in section 2.7 (page 22). You may wish to read the preceding section on caging; only for extra information.

  • "Guidelines for the Housing of Rats in Scientific Institutions", would be out of scope on Pets.SE Jun 20 '14 at 14:13
  • 2
    @JamesJenkins Sure, however in my opinion, it contains a lot of useful information on what certain beddings do to rats. The OP does not give give information on purposes of rat. Even if it is a pet, this document provides detail information on how to give the pet the most neutral and least harmful conditions possible. Jun 20 '14 at 14:25
  • The rat is NOT for Scientific purposes. It is merely the name for the breed in Spain. Also as commented above, it is a mouse. My bad.
    – user2503
    Jun 20 '14 at 21:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.