Fancy Mouse - Hairless

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Other name(s): Naked Mouse, Rhino Hairless Mouse, Hairless Rex

Scientific name: Mus musculus

The basics:
“Naked”, “nude”, and “hairless” are all terms used to describe the varieties of Fancy Mice that have little to no hair. They are adored by some and shunned by others for their unusual look, but there’s no denying they’re one of the most unique-looking varieties. Several genetically distinct varieties of Hairless Fancy Mice exist, some the result of spontaneous genetic mutation and some the result of intentional laboratory tinkering.

Those looking for an unusual pet may enjoy the Hairless Fancy Mouse’s friendly nature and playful antics, but they should be prepared for a mouse with a few extra needs: they’re susceptible to a variety of skin conditions and their environment needs to be  carefully temperature controlled.

Fancy Mice are a small package of big personality – they’re curious, dynamic, and interactive companions. They’re popular pets both for their personality, and because they don’t require a lot of room or specialized care. Hairless Fancy Mice are somewhat of a specialty variety, and you may have some difficulty locating a breeder. Certain varieties of Hairless Fancy Mice are more readily available in some regions than in others.

Though mice are sometimes perceived as being dirty or diseased, Fancy Mice are actually very clean by nature. You won’t have to give your mouse a bath – they are very fastidious of their own hygiene and will frequently be seen grooming and washing. Fancy Mice even seem to prefer a tidy cage, and may be seen to gather up loose items to be placed in one area of the cage. Mice do not naturally smell, and if odor is a problem it is because of dirty bedding or a cage that is too small.

Appearance / health:
Though they all share a lack of hair as the common denominator, there are actually several genetically distinct varieties of hairless mice. The so-called “true hairless” mouse grows a full coat which it eventually loses, never to grow back. This mouse may or may not have eyelashes and whiskers, but is likely to lose them eventually. The “nude” hairless mouse never grows a coat, and has no eyelashes or whiskers. The gene that produces Rex mice may also result in hairlessness, though this variety will have whiskers which may or may not be curly, and eyelashes. Finally, the “Rhino” hairless mouse is distinguished by its incredibly wrinkly skin.

Except for the Rhino, hairless mice generally have smooth, wrinkle-free skin. Their bald skin is rather thin, almost translucent. Color variants in skin pigmentation are possible, ranging from pink to a grey/blue, and the dark pigmentation may occur in all variety of markings and patterns.

Hairless Fancy Mice average 6-7 inches in length including the tail, although some adult show mice are about 8-12 inches long, weighing up to 3.5 ounces. Standards for show mice include long and slim bodies, large bold eyes and expressive ears, and a long tapering tail.

Certain varieties of Hairless Fancy Mouse are genetically predisposed to eye problems. They may be more likely to develop acne and other skin conditions, and abscesses. The most common ailments suffered by all Fancy Mice are intestinal parasites, colds (from drafty situations), obesity (leading to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and arthritis), occlusion (from overgrown teeth), bacterial infections (from unsanitary conditions), and other major health problems such as cancers and tumors. Ensuring a healthy environment and proper diet prevents most of these ailments. Persistent problems are best handled by a vet.

Behavior / temperament:
All mice are naturally active and inquisitive, and a well-socialized mouse can be gentle and affectionate. They like to run, jump, and climb. They are primarily nocturnal, though they may wake during the day to forage and exercise. They are social creatures and are best kept in pairs or groups brought together while juvenile. Females are more likely to live peaceably with one another, while males may become fiercely territorial and dangerously hostile towards one another. Introducing new adults to an already established group can result in aggressive behavior, though adult females can be introduced with appropriate care and precautions.

Fancy mice rarely bite unless hurt or very frightened. The most common cause of biting is improper handling. Fancy mice are not suitable pets for small children who might be too rough on their delicate bodies. A well-socialized fancy mouse may enjoy climbing and exploring on their owner, though unfortunately they can’t be “housetrained” and may urinate and defecate when being handled. Mice have rather poor eyesight and could easily fall from the edge of table, so supervision is necessary when they’re roaming outside of their cage.

Mice enjoy chewing, and should always be provided with items to gnaw on to prevent tooth overgrowth. Acorns, walnuts, and other hard nuts are acceptable for dental health and as a treat. The wood from fruit trees or wood sticks from the pet store are an option that won’t add excess calories to your mouse’s diet.

Hairless Fancy Mice may be best housed in glass aquariums with a mesh lid, as wire-barred cages may prove drafty and less likely to keep a Hairless Mouse warm. It’s particularly important that the cage be kept in a temperature-controlled location as Hairless Fancy Mice have greater difficulty regulating body temperature. Keep in mind that mice are nocturnal, so keeping their cage in a bedroom might result in unrestful sleep for the human occupants!

Bedding or nesting material is essential. Aspen shavings, corn cob bedding, or commercially available paper products are commonly used, though Hairless Fancy Mice will appreciate soft and warm bedding to nest in, such as fleece, cotton, and toilet paper. Cedar and pine shaving volatile aromatic oils that can cause damage and irritation to the respiratory system, and should not be used.

Hide-aways such as cardboard shelters and wood boxes should be provided for seclusion and privacy. Toys such as obstacle courses and wheels are also recommended to keep the mice stimulated and active. Wheels should have a solid floor and be big enough that your mouse can run with back straight.

The cage should be cleaned often to minimize exposure to ammonia and waste products. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the bedding used and the number of mice. Male mice have a more pungent urine than female mice, and it may be necessary to clean their cage more frequently. To prevent disease, the entire enclosure should be disinfected at least twice a month.

Hairless Fancy Mice may eat more than their furred counterparts due to the increased energy requirements of regulating their body temperature. The recommended food for Fancy Mice are called “lab blocks” or laboratory pellets specifically formulated to give mice the balanced nutrition they require as well as the gnawing experience that keeps their teeth from growing too long. Fresh foods like fruits and vegetables can be offered daily, but uneaten fresh food should be removed at the end of the day. You can supplement your mouse’s diet with nuts, seeds, pasta, grain mixes, and wheat bread, though these should be given sparingly, as a treat. Obesity can considerably shorten your mouse’s life span, so excess weight gain should be carefully avoided.

Fresh water should always be available and best provided in hanging gravity bottle feeders.


good temperament, Unusual Pets, odd hairless appearance, great little rodent, sweetheart


life span, careful handling, extreme sensitivity


small shoe boxes, nude mouse, paper towel tubes, red eyes

Health Tip

Fancy Mouse - Hairless

From Dec 11 2013 7:10PM


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