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Mice/Found Baby Mice?


Rescued babies
Rescued babies  

All Four
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My husband was cleaning up a yard yesterday and it was very wet and very cold. He moved a lot of things in this yard and found a litter of, what we think are, mice.  They were half frozen and weren't moving. We were not at home so i grabbed the first warm thing I could think of and it was a diaper. The diapers gave them a place to cuddle and it also helped to dry them up. It was so sad they were all laying on their sides with legs straight out, I thought for a minute it was too late. We turned on the truck and got the heater going.  Thankfully, within the hour they had turned over and were laying with their tummies down. Their eyes are open and they have eaten. Last night I gave them unflavored pedialyte and this morning they have eaten 3 times. They very much like apple baby food. The babies are very jumpy and quiet frankly I am a little afraid to try and hold them. I do not know if they are mice or rats and would like to find out. Should I keep them as pets because my kids would love that or should I release them? is it too late to tame them? My children have already named them Enny, Meany, Miney, and Moe.

Hi Megan,

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Those are the most adorable mouse butts I have ever seen!

Whether or not to keep them is a decision for you to make.  They do look like mice to me, and mice carry relatively little health risks, but it would be wise to have a vet take a look at them and confirm what kind of mouse they are.  Deer mice can carry hantavirus, which is a health risk and is not currently treatable and is transmitted by inhaling aerosolized fecal matter (so until you've had them looked at, be good about washing your hands and don't breathe deeply when tossing around bedding).  They look like house mice to me - but I am definitely NOT a deer mouse expert and don't know what their tushies look like as pups.

From the photo I would guess them at about 12-15 days old, approximately.  Their eyes are open, which is excellent, but they still have that hunchy look babies get when they are still pretty top-heavy.  At this age you can make solid mouse food available but they will still look to you for most of their nutrition and all of their hydration - more on that in a moment.

Also around this age and up until about 3-4 weeks they are in their "popcorn" stage.  All that hopping around is a defense mechanism to protect them from aerial predators.  It's wise not to handle them too much now as they can absolutely injure themselves if they fall a long distance, but you will still need to feed them, so have a safe, soft, on-the-ground spot for feedings that is also escape proof where you can sit and work with them.  This stage is made even more poppy by not being handled as newborns and by being wild, so it may take some serious patience and care.  They CAN be tamed eventually, but as most of their wild nature is genetic, they may not ever really be enthusiastic about you or your children.  If they get to the age where they are entirely self reliant and they become stressed when handled or approached, or if they become nippy, you may consider releasing them.  If you do so, take solace in the fact that those instincts don't go anywhere and they will be able to care for themselves, but also remember to release them far away from housing and in a covered area so they can get settled quickly.

In the meantime, here is a truly excellent link on caring for orphaned mice (and rats!):  Please keep in mind that caring for orphaned mice is hard, hard work.  It would be a good idea to have the number of a vet who works with pocket pets on hand in case of an emergency, and please let me know if you face any difficulties that I can help with from here.  You can also try asking local rescues, pet shops (sometimes they can point you to a expert breeder), or even wildlife rehabilitators (if they work with small rodents, that is) to see if anyone has experience with orphaned mice.  It's always good to have help on hand!

Best of luck, and thank you for rescuing them!  They really are adorable!


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I can answer questions regarding mice as pets, mouse behavior, color and coat genetics, breeding techniques, and general health questions. I can help with caging and setup, nutrition, social issues, and what to do in most mouse emergencies (such as unplanned litters, injuries, fighting, etc.). I can also assist with questions pertaining to orphaned mouse pups, weaning litters, and questions of mating and birthing. I cannot answer questions about exotic or wild varieties of mice such as spiny or pygmy mice. *****FOR EMERGENCIES, anything requiring immediate medical intervention, PLEASE take your mouse to a professional veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator who works with mice as soon as possible! IMPORTANT RESOURCES: Raising Orphaned Mice: Orphaned Mice Videos: Natasha's Your First Mouse: General Mouse Help: Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds:


I have enjoyed the companionship of mice nonstop since 2004, and spent a year caring for them in a lab where I learned a great deal about their breeding, social needs, and health. I spent a few years breeding them, specifically working with albinos, marked mice, angora mice, and satins. My education never stopped - I am learning something new every day from current and well-established research thanks to the wonderful folks at the Jackson Laboratory, as well as from my wonderful mousey friends online. I also love learning from my terrific questioners here on AllExperts - you folks keep my passion for these amazing animals alive and well!

East Coast Mouse Association - expired, American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association - expired

Partial University for a B.S. in Microbiology, Partial University for a 2-year degree in Veterinary Technology (RVT cert), C.E. classes in pathogens, aseptic technique, genetics, and applications

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