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Mice/Spiny mice?


QUESTION: You may remember me, I'm the one asking about mice personality.

Today I went to the petstore to look at mice... they brought up a few questions:
This petstore had brindled, and variegated brindles. There was that grey roseish color, and white ones. I was stunned! There sitting in a corner was a light grey brindle, with a tint of brown and a diamond. She was gorgeos. A quick look at her I could tell she was 1) Skittish 2) Pregnant!
Then I saw males and females together. I was so sad! Obviously the petstore just threw in some litters together.
They made them so pretty though!
Anyway, would it be OK to buy there... (from a different batch)?
Does the pretty colors mean they care or not?
The mice were CRAZY!!
I tried picking one up by the base of the tail and even that was hard. Would they get calmer? I really want a companion. And I can't get rats again. Would they make a good companion pet?
Thanks and sorry for all the questions!
I saw one of your facebook videos, you had "micro-rats" where did you get them?! They're adorable!!

ANSWER: Dear Emma,

It is not good that they have makes and females in the same cage. If you get three girls (recommended, so when one dies you have time to replace her without the other one being lonely and prone to illness and mites), they will probably all be pregnant. That's a lot of babies. And since mouse bucks, UNLIKE rat bucks, usually cannot live together once they are adults, you need one cage /home for each. Can you find adopters?

Wait a sec-- being stupid-- obviously you can keep a couple of babies to be friends with the mom later. So you don't actually have to get more than one, though if you are in love with another one, mouse mums do prefer sharing a nest with someone who will help with their babies.

The question is, would the pet store take the babies (some of them) back?

What I did once was to get a crazy, wild acting but beautiful orange marked silky mouse who was pregnant. Once I raised the babies to be little loves, I actually returned the mother to the store with the babies that I didn't want. Now that was a pet store when I was a kid, where they used to take my tame babies every three weeks in exchange for mouse food or accessories! Don't expect to get anything back from them for the babies you return! Still, many pet stores will take the babies back, since they did sell you a pregnant mouse.

*However," first you have to figure out if the pet store is neglectful in other waysl So far you know they have a bad breeder, which may mean they like to cut costs. And you know they are either dumb or have some philosophy where having pregnant mice and babies is somehow Ok-- I ask myself, what do they do with the pinkies? Feed them to the reptiles? But ... Just because they have a bad philosophy and the owner or management doesn't exactly love mice, this does not necessarily mean that they treat the mice badly, or that the mice are sick. You have to figure that out yourself.

Look at all of the mice, not just the ones you love. Do they have sleek, clean, glossy coats? Smooth, lithe bodies-- no one is hunched over? Do they all have clean and bright eyes? No one is making any noise? They don't have scabs? They aren't scratching themselves? No one looks lethargic and depressed? These are the major problem signs.

If the mice pass those tests, then you have the decision to make, with the information I have given you plus asking the pet store if they will take babies back. By the way, if you love the mom too much to give her back, just keep her with some of her daughters, and she will become at least somewhat more tam over time.

Of course, the very best thing would be if you find another pet store with gorgeous mice that are already tame. Even if they aren't quite as lovely, you might want to learn about mice with some tamer ones, and go back to this store later when you want more. In this case I again recommend three.

You can keep as many girls together as you want. And if you don"t want to repeat the problem, separate the sexes at 4 weeks.

Lastly, if you want to put time and effort into taming the crazy ones you buy, check out this list of steps to tame a frightened mouse. The third paragraph will be useful for you when the babies are about 15-16 days old; the steps later on are for the crazy mom.

By the way, "microrats" is the name my mother coined for these miniature dwarfs. I had to travel all the way to Baltimore for mine, which was a very full day's journey! But I have been so happy with them, especially as they have gotten older, because they are the sweetest little animals that ever walked this planet. Sadly I only have one left. They had weak hearts and this one has already had multiple heart attacks. But the breeder says that seemed to be just that pairing, and she is no longer breeding that line. I will be getting more in the early summer. At which time I believe I will also be picking up some beautiful fox (black top, vivid orange underside) and some rosette (like a guinea pig) mice for my mouse breeder (from another mouse breeder)! Then the next mice I get from my breeder can be descendants of them. Isn't Facebook awesome? Both of these people I met on Facebook when they posted pics of their lovelies!

Friend me, tell me who you are, and then I can see your mouse pics when you get them. And it will be easy for you to ask for small bits of advice there, though for important things, I check here far more often.

Squeaks n giggles,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Wow!! Thanks!

Actually, I don't have an account. Still have a year to go!

Yeah, they do take animals. I've given them my breeded fish (Those guppies...)
I like the idea of making them tame and bringing back the mom, or keeping some babies. I only looked at one cage of them. I'll look at more, to see if they're different.

I also have another question not relating to fancy mice:
Are spiny mice different personality wise? They had some there, and they intrigued me.
I don't know if you have any experience with them.

Dear Emma,

Spiny mice are special, because they are different. I came close to getting a dozen last summer because there was a rescue from a hoarder... But the rescue organization  was simply too disorganized to get through the process, and I finally gave up. Anyway, because of this I did some research and talked to some of my friends who, it turned out, have actually had them (yay Facebook!)

Spinies are less personable and tameable than fancy or house or even field mice. It is possible for them to be tame but most likely not if they were not well socialized as babies. What my friends basically agreed on was that spiny mice are to watch, not to cuddle.

So in a year when you are on Facebook, look me up and I can hook you up with a couple of mouse groups.

Squeaks n giggles



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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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