QUESTION: A neighbor from down the hall in my dorm has a snake she feeds mice. She just feed her snake only to notice that the mouse just gave birth to babies. Now these pinkies don't have a mother so I offered to help. I have been watching CreekVelleyCritters' YouTube videos on raising pinkies. And rushed to the store (meaning bus ride) to pick up kitten formula, electrolytes, and q-tips, to take care of the pinkies. Since bus service is slow it was about under 2 hours when I got back and there were only three pinkies left. From 5 to now I have been feeding them a mixture of warm formula and electrolytes every 45 minutes. I couldn't find any paint brushes like in the video so I have been using q tips rolled to a point, though I am not sure if they are drinking anything. I have also been rubbing their bellies with warm water for a while but haven't seen pee or poop so far. They are chirping a lot, so hopefully they are happy. The pet store is too far from me even by bus so I don't have a chance to get a heat pad, I use the warm of my hands and belly, and of my desk lamp to keep them warm, though I am not sure if the lamp would work during my breaks. Not really sure if I am doing everything right, since I can't see poop or know if they are really drinking the formula.
ANSWER: Hi Ana,
A Q tip poses the danger of swallowing cotton and choking. An eye dropper or syringe without the needle are commonly used; if you don't have them, people have reported success to me using the corner of a clean rag or even a paper towel. You can actually see whether they are drinking this way too, though not measure how much.
I am worried about the temperature... Fluctuating temperature is stressful and dangerous even for a grown up mouse. Another way to make a heater is to heat up a bag of frozen vegetables in the microwave, unopened. But you have to be really, really careful not to get it too hot. Another option would be to somehow attach them to your skin in a little blanket or sling-- you have to figure it out, but if a sling won't work, duct tape does stick well to skin. Make it so you can take them out without taking it off. They will really, really bond with you this way, too. And you can still go to class, unless you can't keep them warm on the way to class.
If you are having no luck rubbing their little tummies, try actual gentle genital stimulation. It might work best with your pinky finger, assuming you don't have long nails (didn't you know that's why they call it a pinky finger?! :o. ). I promise they will not sue you for mouse molestation! That is how I got my rescue infant kitten to go to the bathroom. Mom mouse licks them there.
If they make it you will have some extremely loving pets. I guarantee you will not give them back to be feeders like their poor mom.
Do tell your friend that live feeding is not only extremely cruel to the mouse, it is also very dangerous to the snake. Mice can and do bite snakes and can cause illness and death. Any reptile can learn to eat frozen. In the UK it is illegal to live feed, and their reptiles do fine.
Best of luck and health to the little pups. Let me know what happens.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Out of the three, two survived the night. I got an eye dropper and have been feed them on the hour. The only problem is I am not sure how much to feed them, I don't want to give them too much or too little and I don't have a way to measure them or how much they had.
Glad to hear those two made it.
You can't give them too much. Mom doesn't tell them to stop either. As for too little, well you watched the video where she gives the fussy pup a break and tries again till it refuses. That's all you can do-- don't take no for an answer the first time, but believe it when it says it is full the 2nd or third time.
best of luck to those little troupers!