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Mice/. Establishing hierarchy In mice


QUESTION: Hi Natasha

Guess what I finally got mice, I just brought them home today. I couldn't find a breeder who was near so my dad had to drive me quite far. So I now have 3 beautiful girl mice and I'm soooooooo happy. I didn't want to take a picture of them because I just brought them home a few minutes ago and I thought it would be a bit mean to pick them up and flash a camera at them and I wanted them to settle into their new cage first so I'll just describe them to you, their names are Misty, Luna and Bambi:

Misty is a black and white, long-haired mouse and she very gentle and seems to sleep most of the time.

Luna is a beige saturn-fured mouse (I named her Luna because she's very shiny like the moon) and she is very curious and playful but seems to tire herself out easily.

Bambi is short-haired mouse and is brown all over except for one random white patch on her side (I chose her for her unusual markings) and she is incredibly lively and boisterous and almost never tires out.

I'm soooo happy to have them home and their in that cage I showed you before. I've made it very homely for them, I've managed to fit in 2 wheels, 2 nest boxes, a little wooden hied (which they can also use as a nest box), a lttle wooden cheese toy, a chew toy, a toilet chube and of course the essentials like a food dish and a water bottle. Ha! I've only had them in their cage for few minutes and they've already made a complete mess of it.

Although I'm really happy that their here there is one thing thats bothering me. It's Bambi, she keeps attacking Misty and Luna which I find very strange because I've never heard of females fighting and it's just Bambi who is the most boisterous of the three and when I first put them in they were fine, they were all playing with their toys and climbing and it was fine but after a few minutes Bambi and Misty were climbing on the wooden hied and then suddenly, completely out of nowhere Bambi just attacked Misty, it was like she was biting her a bit and Misty was squealing and then Luna came over and Bambi started biting Luna and she started squealing so Misty and Luna ran away to where I couldn't see them and Bambi chased them, I couldnb't see them but I could here squealing so I panicked and just picked up the cage and shook it a bit, surprisingly this worked and it stopped and all 3 mice came out and they all looked ok but a few minutes later and Misty had gone to bed so it was just Bambi ans Luna and Bambi attacked Luna again and Bambi then also attacked Luna again a few minutes later!!!!!!! I'm a littlke bit scared.

Is this sort of behaviour normal? I suppose it might not have been fighting, they might have just been playing but I thought it was quite weird.
Anyway please tell me if this is normal behaviour for mice when you first bring them home.

Anyway thanks for answering :)

From Verity :)

ANSWER: Dear Verity,

YAY! You got mice! And they sound simply adorable :)

Is there any blood? When female mice get to know each other, they need to figure out who the alpha, or top, mouse is. Sometimes they chase and chase and squeak and squeak. The squeaking is not pain or fear; it is communication.

Here is the rule. Chasing and squeaking is fine, even for a couple of weeks, UNLESS one of the following is true:

a. Someone is bleeding
b. The chasing and squeaking does not stop.
c. Someone is blocked from nest, food, water, or wheel.
d. Someone is depressed, lethargic.

You can give the mice a break sometimes by picking someone up. Remember that Bambi is not being bad; she is being a mouse the best she can. I wouldn't shake the cage, but you can blow on them.

Let me know. I will try to keep an eye on my email to be able to answer you quickly.



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

QUESTION: Hi Natasha

Ok well I think I have good news, Bambi seems to have calmed down a bit. Mostly all of the fighting is done between Bambi and Lunar (sorry I know I spelled it Luna before but I think it's spelled Lunar) whereas Misty doesn't seem to care and just gets on with sleeping, eating, drinking and playing like any other normal contented mouse. I think Bambi and Lunar might be trying to decide which one of them is the top mouse. Bambi seems much calmer now which started when she tried to attack Lunar but Lunar seemed really annoyed by this point and started fighting back which seemed to scare Bambi off for a little while. After that Bambi came out again a little bit later and she sniffed Lunar but didn't attack and they were fine. Today they had a tiny quarrel but have been mostly fine and sniff eachother and they seem ok. Lunar seems to know how to defend herself and is actually starting to keep Bambi in check. the two aren't exactly friends yet but they put up with eachother. Bambi is getting a little bit rejected by the other two because Misty is quite timid and seems a bit afraid of Bambi so she mostly follows Lunar around but Lunar doesn't mind and has sort of befriended Misty and taken her under her wing.

I am a little worried that they will reject Bambi too much and she will be isolated and lonely but at least she's not fighting with them anymore.

Dear Verity,

Sounds terrific. The only thing to worry about with Bambi is if she starts to act depressed- doesn't move much, doesn't want to eat..

Luna is a name and Lunar is an adjective, like a lunar eclipse. It means moon of course :)

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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