Most people are sued to giving their small pets water via a water bottle.
They have a little spout that usually pokes through the bars of the cage and allows your mouse to have a drink wherever they need it.
It’s the normal way to give a pet mouse water.
But it’s clearly not the normal way mice would drink in the wild.
Which might have got your thinking, do mice have to drink from bottles, or is there a better option?
Is it maybe better for mice to drink from a bowl rather than a water bottle?
In this article, I’ll discuss what I know about the benefits and disadvantages of mice drinking from a water bowl..
Mice can drink from water bowls but a water bottle is generally the better choice. Water bowls provide a more natural drinking method for mice and they put less strain on their neck than a water bottle might. However, water bowls can get contaminated very quickly so the water must be refreshed often.
Is it better for a mouse to drink from a bowl or bottle
Before we get into the details, I’ll just say that giving your mouse water with a bowl or bottle are both perfectly fine options.
Truthfully, most people should use the bottle, as there are some significant risks to using a bowl if you don’t keep on top of the hygiene issues.
In summary, water bowls are the most natural method for your mouse to drink water, but it can get easily contaminated.
Water bottles are lower maintenance, but they can be more difficult for your mouse to use.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Advantages of a water bowl for mice
- They offer a more natural way to drink
- They reduce the strain on the neck of your mouse
- Mice can more quickly and easily drink from water bowls
Disadvantages of a water bowl for mice
- They can get dirty and contaminated very quickly
- The water needs to be refreshed daily, perhaps even twice a day
- Contaminated water can lead to an ill mouse
- The water can easily be splashed out of the bowl and cause a mess in the bedding
Advantages of a water bottle for mice
- The water will remain fresh for much longer
- Little chance of the water getting contaminated
- The water cannot splash into the cage very easily
Disadvantages of a water bowl for mice
- They can be more difficult for the mouse to drink from
- It takes the mouse longer to get the required amount of water
- It can put a strain on your mouse’s neck
Best type of water bowl for a mouse
For mice in particular, there is a certain property of the water bowl that you must consider.
- Height – Will your mouse be able to reach over to the bowl easily, your mouse shouldn’t have to step into the bowl to drink
The edge of the bowls shouldn’t be so high that your mouse struggles to reach over to the water.
Mice are very small, and they won’t be able to reach over into a high sided bowl very easily.
It may actually be more appropriate to use a small tray, rather than a bowl, with a flat bottom and short edges, then your mouse can easily drink from it.
However; this in itself causes issues, as trays are more difficult to remove from the cage without spilling the water.
Water bowls need to be replenished a lot
The major downside to using a water bowl for your mouse compared with a bottle is that the water can quickly become contaminated.
This is especially true for mice who love to burrow and therefore cause a bit of a mess with their bedding.
You should replace the water at least once a day at a minimum, but twice a day would be preferable. Once in the morning and once in the evening.
You’ll probably find that you even need to replace it more frequently than that quite often.
If you don’t think you’ll have the time to change the water twice a day most days then I would recommend using a water bottle instead.
If you do try a bowl, the best place to put it is as far away from any bedding as possible, if your mouse cage has a top tier then put in there, just make sure they won’t be able to knock it off by accident!
How to teach a mouse to drink from a bowl
Your mouse should automatically know how to drink from the bowl.
It’s the natural way for them to drink so they won’t really need to learn what to do.
If they are used to a bottle and their cage still has a bottle then they might choose to keep using that for a while instead, but eventually, they should give the bowl a go.
You might want to place your mouse near the bowl when you first introduce it to their cage so they can investigate it straight away, you could even splash the water a little with your finger to let them know it’s there.
Summary – Can Mice Drink From a Bowl
Mice can drink from a water bowl. This is a natural way for them to drink and puts less strain on their neck than drinking from a water bottle, but it takes a lot more work.
The main question to ask yourself before switching to a water bowl is will you be able to ensure the water doesn’t become contaminated.
You’ll probably need to replace the water twice a day most days, so if you don’t think you’ll have the time to do that you should stick with a water bottle for your mouse.
It’s also probably better to use something more similar to a tray than a bowl, the shorter sides of a tray will make it easier for the mouse to drink from.
Ultimately, giving your mouse water by using a bowl takes a lot more work than simply filling a bottle.
My recommendation would be to use a bottle unless you are committed to ensuring your mouse always has fresh clean water to drink from her bowl.