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Mice/Mouse fell: Gooey Eye, Spasmed, then died.


About 3 months ago, my mum found my cat attacking a mouse, the mouse was not harmed, had no scratches or broken bones so we took it in. We bought "Houdini" a cage and accessories, we got correct Mice food and cleaned the cage on a regular basis. He was fun and energetic and always moving about. He stayed in my room so that the cats couldn't get to him and he would run on his wheel all night (the wheel was squeaky so that's how I know). Then about a week ago, my little sister said he fell off the bathroom counter, onto the tiled floor but continued to walk around normally. A few days later I noticed his eye was shut with all this goo, so I wet a cotton swab and little brushed his eye. About 10 minutes after that he peed and according to my sisters ( I didn't see it I was downstairs) started Spasming, I'm not quite sure how he spasm-ed but when my little sister bought him downstairs he was breathing heavily, so we put him in his cage so that he could calm down. That night he hardly moved from the spot he was in and continued to breathe heavily at intervals. The next morning (yesterday) I noticed both his eyes were shut with the gooey stuff, so I bought some Saline Solution and little rubbed it against his eye with a cotton pad. His eyes opened almost immediately and he seemed to be running around a lot more. A couple of hours later his left eye was shut again, so I washed his eye again. Then that night I was holding him on my lap and snuggling into my hand, whenever I took my hand away he would snuggle right into it again. He was also making a clicking noise, and when I Googled it, it said mice make that noise when they are Happy or Relaxed, or Intimidated and Scared, and I thought, what has he got to be scared off? Then he peed on my jumper, I took my jumper off and continued to hold him. About 2-3 minutes later he literally started to jump and convulse, it was as if he was trying to run away, even though he had been so calm before, it was difficult to hold him so I lay him down on my laptop keyboard and he lay there lifeless, my mum checked his heartbeat but it had stopped. I'm just curious what happened? I know mice apparently convulse when they die, but this was really intense it was like trying to hold a fish out of water. Have you experienced this before? Do you know what the problem was? Thank you in advance.

Dear Beth,

It sounds like he sustained internal injuries in his fall. That is so sad. Sometimes when mice fall they land just right and are fine. Other times they are killed immediately. And in between, they break bones and damage organs.

I do not know what kind of injury would cause eye problems- I am not a medical expert- so whether it was related or not, I don't know. Maybe he landed hard on his chin (actually we don't know what he landed on) and it jarred his eyes on the sockets. But I do believe it was the fall that ultimately caused his death.

I am sorry that you and your sister had to witness such an active death- it is hard to watch. I have no evidence that the mouse experiences anything unpleasant at that moment- I have never heard a squeak- so it probably makes no difference to the mouse. Yes, I have watched extreme spasm. I had some (5)  mice who all died of the same thing (an illness they got from me) within the space of an hour. And their deaths were so violent they were thrown up in the air. I am afraid I felt almost like I was juggling as I sat with them on my lap on the bed. Some mice just kick. Others have more violent-seeming deaths. It is hard for us but as I said, probably not hard for them.

I am so sorry for your loss. Mice should be held over a bed or soft place, and if they are on something they can fall off of, whenever they get to the edge you must put your hand under them. What a sad way to learn this.




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I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: **** SEXING MICE: **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES:


I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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