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Mice/Lone male mouse.

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QUESTION: Hello,
I've recently adopted a male fancy mouse from Petsmart. I did a lot of research before I got him. Although, one question that was never CLEARLY answered was whether or not he could be happy living on his own. Some sorces said that since males are dangerous toward each other, they will be just fine on their own. After about a week I realized how easily bored he can get and although the wheel helps entertain him, I have a fear that he can easily become depressed in the future. I researched more, and I found OTHER resources that say it's it's true! Male mice can be easily depressed when alone, yet it's still dangerous to give him another male, and I don't want to go to the trouble of nutering him to give him a female!
I'm so confused on whether he can live alone or not. Can he?
If he can, any tips on keeping him self entertained?

ANSWER: Hi Daniella,

The thing I adore about male mice as pets is that even though it is not safe to give them a mouse friend, they tend to bond very well with you!  Males do well with people-love, and if bored, rotating out toys (get creative - this part is fun! Popsicle sticks, hot glue, and paper towel tubes make some fun, disposable toys and playgrounds).

On rare occasions, such as an exceptionally well-bred line or siblings that have never been separated, males *may* get along.  Unfortunately, if they did not grow up together, and frequently even if they do, being within smelling distance of another male can be a huge source of stress and anxiety.  Even if violence never occurs, this stress can lead to nervous habits, a tenser attitude toward you, and a sense of always being ready for another male encounter and the fights that usually result.  You are right about neutering being a bother, too, and most vets will not do a castration on a mouse because of the risks.  This leaves you with combatting boredom and depression with activity and affection, rather than other mice.  Like most pets, a little time each day with him, putting him in a frequented area of your home, and swapping out his toys regularly will keep him more than happy!

In short, yes, he definitely can and should live alone...but with you!  I think you will really treasure having him.  Remember, too, that he may seem to sleep more after he settles in to your home, but this may not be depression so much as his sleep cycles returning to nocturnal after an exciting move from the pet shop.

Let me know if I can help with anything else, clarify something, or if you want popsicle stick designing ideas!  :)

-Tam

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

QUESTION: Thank you for your answer!
I've gained some confidence back in raising him.
I would LOVE some popsicle stick designing ideas!

Answer
Hmm, I can't actually figure out how to attach images to my response, so instead here is a link to a post I wrote ages ago that has a TON of ideas and some good photos for inspiration:

http://tinyfurballs.blogspot.com/2010/03/diy-toys-for-rodents.html

The pictures are down at the bottom, but the whole thing has a lot of good ideas for how to repurpose things around the home into creative and safe toys for Mister Mouse.  Hope it helps!

-Tam

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Tamarah

Expertise

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: http://www.rmca.org/Articles/orphans.htm Orphaned Mice Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising Natasha's Your First Mouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share General Mouse Help: http://www.fancymice.info/ Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds: http://www.hiiret.fi/eng/species/

Experience

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!

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

Education/Credentials
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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