Instructables
Three baby mice took up residence in a small aquarium after the tragic Victor-ization of their mother. The plan was to keep them until they could be released into the wild, but their cuteness got the better of the plan.
The cage soon needed changing, but catching mice to transfer them is as hard as picking up drops of mercury with your fingers.
Habitrail (TM) would do the trick but it's pretty dear for temporary pets.

Soda bottles make a cheap and robust set of skyways and nesting chambers.
 
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Step 1: Cut a hole in the mesh top.

A square hole, with diagonal cutters.
Smaller than the bottle top.
I cut at the corner to make butting two cages together, but the bottles can go anywhere.

Step 3: Cut a hole in the side of that bottle

Take out the bottle from the mesh top.
Cut a round hole about the size of the inside diameter of the bottle top.
Then cut a series of radial slits to about the outside diameter of the bottle top.

Step 4: Screw bottle into bottle side

Picture of Screw bottle into bottle side
I removed the ring from the horizontal bottle, so the flange would sit flush.
I was going to glue this, but it didn't need it.

Step 5: Assemble transfer link.

By following steps 1 through 4 for both aquarium/cages,
and cutting the bottoms off of the horizontal bottles, a link is made between the cages.
Put the food and toys in the clean cage, and overnight, the mice explore and make their move.

Step 6: Mouse Nest in the Sky

Once the necessity of changing the litter is relieved, only one aquarium/cage need be on the table.
Replace the open-ended bottle with a whole bottle. Melt about a hundred holes in the bottle with a skewer heated in a candle flame or alcohol burner flame. Add a couple of sheets of tissue paper, and the pent-mouse apartment in the sky is ready for occupancy.
Replace the bedding as necessary.
Anianna4 years ago
I think this is a great idea, but I want to warn pet rodent owners that PET plastics can harm rodents who chew them.  I used to give my gerbils water bottles to play in until I discovered that the ones chewing them would soon hemorrhage and die.  After some research, I found a vet that confirmed that many plastics, including PET plastics, splinter when chewed and damage the gerbil's innards much like cooked chicken bones can damage a dog's. 

I don't mean to rain on your innovative instructable, but I do want to warn owners before they suffer what I did with my beloved gerbils.  I had even given one of them to a little girl with some bottles for it to play with and her gerbil died in her lap after chewing the bottle.  I was mortified and so sad for the little girl.
They're pretty cute little guys... Just make extra sure you haven't got any females in the bunch, or you will have some rapid proliferation. Trust me, sexing rodents is not an exact science. I'm glad you didn't kill them, personally, but they will never be suited to outdoor life.
sexing rodents is not an exact science

It is, with enough practice! I can usually tell before they've got fur, and definitely before the eyes are open.
ooh, you're good! I've known baby rats to be mistaken for females because their balls dropped a little later than the rest. Then you have a tank/cage full of pregnant ratties (drat). Hopefully, Danakayama is good too!
That would be a good thing for me, as I could Use the pups for snake feed. Kinda sucks that Just before they get fed to Avati(my texas rat snake) I like to play with them like pets and I very well know whats about to happen to them. I guess thats the price snakes and Mice.:[
I had two gerbils that I thought was both female. I didn't know that at least one was male until he died of old age and I stuffed him for an ecology class (the prof had told us that if we found enough dead birds over the course of the semester she'd show us how to prepare study skins).
danakayama (author)  Robyntheslug7 years ago
Well, Isabakayama (wait, not good) Isakayama worked with rodents in her days in research, so while I think I can, I'm really just fronting on the rodent sexing. At this point, if we were wrong, we'd have proliferation. Word to the Mus
It's a question of relative distance between the anus and genitals; once you can see testicles it's often too late. ;)
that's good to know. Fortunately, my 3 boy rats are well past that age and into the cuddly fat stage.
the creepy thing is that all your mice are dead/stuffed. to become something creepy like a mouse mouse! why not make an RC mouse?
danakayama (author)  rocketbat7 years ago
Eh?
just have a look at Canida's instructables! LOL, creepy.
how about clear plastic pipes or pvc
danakayama (author)  Jr Hacking kid6 years ago
Constraints were that it be cheap and readily available. Or better, free and there. Mice are not long term pets. Wild mice don't live long in captivity. These guys didn't. But they lived well, were admired and observed, connecting humans with nature, and the fact that it means we kill somethings sometimes. The mice in the attic face Victor kill traps. These guys never chewed their way out of the PETN bottles either. I was really careful with the tolerances of the holes, so they wouldn't get ideas. Later versions of their bottle condo had hundreds of tiny holes for air and moisture movement. A little beeswax on the running wheel axles kept it quiet at night. Changing the cage was easy, slap on the cap while they sleep, and they keep for a while in the bottle condo. No handling was the policy.
By the way, if you can locate RED clear plastic bottles somewhere (are the bottles for Code Red Mountain Dew actually red or is it just the liquid?) - mice can't see red very well, so it'll be dark inside to them. They'll go in the red bottle to hide, while you, the human, will be able to see them perfectly well.
danakayama (author)  xenobiologista6 years ago
They have two red tubes from a hamster-trail set, tied with wire to the screen top of their five gallon tank. They like to go in them, but are pretty happy to rip tissue into a nest in the ventilated soda bottle. They disappear to sleep most of the day, eat and run at night.
Zetheros7 years ago
Why do rodents have to look so cute? Ahhhhhhh
Kiteman7 years ago
I see your cute, and raise you! Be aware, the bottles are not as tough as you think - as soon as the mice (like any rodent) can fit their teeth around the edges, they will reduce them to shreds very quickly. If this is going to be a long-term home for the wee tim'rous beasties, I would consider replacing the vertical bottle with a tube rolled from small-hole mesh, and replacing the horizontal bottle with a wide-necked glass bottle or a narrow-necked glass jar. There's no need for the extra air-holes as long as you don't seal the neck.
C:\Documents and Settings\ml\My Documents\My Pictures\Instructables\Mams mouse.jpg
danakayama (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
The air holes were mostly to keep the condensation from turning them into wee soggy beasties. I was careful to keep the edges they might bite on the thickest part of the plastic, and I keep an eye on that. The thin parts are harder to get their teeth around. Their litter has chunks of pine in it so they have something to gnaw. I have some experience with rodents; kept a pet rat once, and long ago a rat colony to feed a python. My three-fold cuteness photo is at home, behind a firewall, alas.
canida7 years ago
Wild mice can really jump! Nice solution, but keep an eye on them- if they find an edge to wrap their teeth around, they can be through a soda bottle in no time flat.
Trans_Am7 years ago
YOU KEPT WILD MICE? AND DIDN'T KILL THEM? I live on the praries, and if we see a mouse, you do anything you can to get rid of it. Even if that means killing it with a tree branch. (been there done that)
Garbage Man7 years ago
so where did you get these mice exactly
isn't that illegal
danakayama (author)  Garbage Man7 years ago
Exactly, down a dry drain-pipe for a toilet that was not yet connected (2) and in a Havahart live trap (1), all over a couple days. They are wild, and from their age/size, all of the same litter. Original plan was to inbreed them for ten generations and then donate the (by-then) clones to the Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor, ME. They turned out to all be males, so they are currently guests in the house their late mother chose to raise them in.
mrmath7 years ago
Great job on this instructable!
Dark_Helmet7 years ago
That's a great idea! And I like your haiku :D