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Question
Hi, I've been wanting mice for a while now, and I just gave my parents a 11 page book with information about mice.
This morning I looked up mice vs. gerbils, and almost everyone said gerbils!  1) I'm not a very big gerbil fan and, 2) They said mice were jumpy, vicious, and unsocialized. Then I looked it up on a real website and they said mice weren't good for human interaction. I'm super scared that I wasted 22 pages (2 copies) of paper for a pet that I don't even want!
So I'm asking help from a real expert,
What is their personality like?
I'd like a pet that would sleep on me.

Answer
Dear Emma,

Holy Mousey! What terrible sources! Mice are so much better than gerbils. Gerbils are spazzy and not nearly as smart as mice.

Socialized, non abused mice do not bite. If you stick your finger into their nest, some mice might kind of put their teeth on you to tell you it is their territory, but it does not hurt. The worst part is if you are afraid of it. You also don't want to give a mouse your finger if there is food residue on it, for obvious reasons. And even if a mouse is nippy, they are easy to train out of it (never punish a mouse though).

Mice are also much more loving than gerbils. I have never even heard of a gerbil who would hang out happily on a person's shoulder, or cuddle on their neck. Or a gerbil who kissed.

Mice are interesting. They arrange their cage the way they want (but many mice don't understand that if they fill up the wheel they will not be able to use it! But some do). And they know what they want. Recently I had put some dried pasta in the mouse cage. I also gave them a tiny bowl of something that they liked. The next day, when I went to collect the empty bowl, as I always do, they had put the pasta, which apparently they didn't like, into the bowl to be removed!  Another time recently I gave them some Timothy hay from my rabbit. The next day they had kept all of the hay -- except that they had thrown the seed parts out of the cage. Why didn't they like it? I don't know. But they did what it takes to make their living space how they wanted it!

I could give you a hundred stories. And also, each mouse very much has its own personality, which you can get to know if you give them attention.

Yes, get mice! Get either one boy, because they live alone; or three girls, so they have friends and when one goes the other isn't lonely (mice have very human emotions), and you have time to replace the third mouse.

Do do some more research. I find it very strange that the people and sources you reached were so negative. People do have a visceral reaction to the idea of mice, but they should not talk about them if they have not gotten to know a mouse! I must say, one expert here, Jedediah, does have the unfortunate opinion that mice are pets to observe but not handle. I don't know why she thinks that. She is German, but when I lived in Germany, it was a great place to have pet mice. I even had a mouse specialist as a vet!

Anyway, a mouse care book is a good place to start. Asking me questions comes next. There are also mouse forums to join, where people are very happy to help, and to chat about mice.

Actually, start here. In my profile, there is an addy for a YouTube video that I made called "Your First Mouse." Your first mice will not be as calm as mine, but the video shows you how to handle them and set up their cage. Sorry I can't give you a link as I am on my iPad.

Have fun with your adorable, loving, clever new pets.

Squeaks n  giggles,

Natasha

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Natasha

Expertise

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): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising **** SEXING MICE: http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/sexing.cfm **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES: http://thefunmouse.com/info/index.cfm http://www.rmca.org/Resources/mousefaq.htm

Experience

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.

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

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

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