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Selina and Harley napping
Selina and Harley napp  
QUESTION: Natasha,
My wife and I just got three fancy mice and we have never had mice before, so there are a few things I was wondering.

One of the mice will let you handle it and doesn't seem to be freaked out, but it makes almost pulsating movements almost like it is shaking...I was wondering if it is because she is stressed or scared...and what should we do?

The other one seems less comfortable with handling...but still lets me do it. however she will nip at my fingers and sometimes the palm of my hand and it doesn't seem like and angry or defensive thing...but more like "hey I'm gonna chew on you now".
They have a lot of chew toys and lots of food (probably too much food) so why does she think I'm tasty?

My last question is about tail rattling...the third mouse will come to the entrance of the tube and whip its tail and rattle the tube...What is that all about?

ANSWER: Dear Edwin,

Welcome to the wonderful world of mice!

First: could you send me another photo of the white one? I want to make sure she doesn't look sick. Does she make any sounds at all? Healthy mice make no sounds. I'm asking because she looks scruffy and her eyes are half closed. Talia is so pretty!

To your questions. You have a normal mouse, a curious mouse, and an aggressive mouse. The pulsating shaking is just mouse-ness. It is completely normal. If you ever feel another vibration on top of that, you will know she is super happy. That is how mice purr; you don't hear it but you feel it.

The chewy mouse is curious. She may even be expressing affection. As long as it doesn't get more nippy and towards hurting, let her do it. She may be grooming you! Let me know if it seems to become aggression, and I can help you with that.

The third mouse, rattling her tail, is warning you not to get any closer. You are in her territory. This doesn't mean that she is unfriendly; just territorial. The reason she is choosing the tube is that it makes noise. In an aquarium I have had mice hit the glass. Outdoors they would only hit the ground.

You need to try not to offend her. I don't know your exact cage setup and how you are approaching her, so I can't give a detailed answer. The basics are, you will only make very gentle and slow movements toward her with your hand, retreating if she starts to rattle. Offering her a treat this way is a good method. Something irresistible like a piece of buttered popcorn. However, you also do want to handle her outside of the cage. So as not to pick a fight with her over this, you can use a toilet paper tube (there must always be toilet paper tubes in a mouse cage!) to gently usher her into, put your two hands on the two sides, and lift it up. Then she will probably be most comfortable letting her out on a surface.

I have a video on youtube called Your First Mouse I. The I is because I intended to make a better one but never did! The URL for it is in my profile. Sorry that I can't give you the link from my iPad. Copy that URL and paste it into your browser window. Do not expect your mice to be as tame as mine. My breeder has spent decades breeding the very sweetest mice, until some of the mice he gives me sit still in my hand.

Let me know if you have any more questions. If you search for topics on this site, always add "Natasha mice mouse" to your search words.

Squeaks n giggles,


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

QUESTION: Hi Natasha,
Harley (the white one) doesn't seem to be sick...not that I can tell, She is very active; in fact she is kind of a bully. Harley will steal treats from her sisters and sometimes picks on them and chases the other two away...that's normal sibling rivalry right?

I also think I have figured out the biting thing...Natalia is a pig and LOVES cheerios. if you put anything up to the bars of the cage she will nip at it because she thinks it is a cheerio. I generally break the cheerios into two or three pieces and try to only three per that too much?

This morning I got both Selina and Natalia to walk onto my hand to get a treat...Natalia even stopped and ate the treat on my hand, but when I am handling them they have no interest in taking that normal or is that something that will change the more comfortable they get with me?

Thanks so much

Dear Edwin,

It is normal and fine for there to be an order of dominance in a group of mice. It is only an issue if the chasing is constant; someone gets bitten; someone is depressed; or someone is blocked from the food, water, nest, or wheel.

A mouse that is not overweight can have a Cheerio a day. Not the honey ones-- too much sugar. Cheerios are pretty much grain and water and air.

Now that you have taught Natalia that she might get food between the bars of the cage, you will not want to put your fingers there. it is one or the other. That's fine, though. Make sure you watch little kids to make sure they don't try it and get nipped or bitten.

I don't feed my mice on my hands, and so if I tried to, they would not eat. It is just what they are used to.  I don't even bother to teach them to walk onto my hands from the cage unless they are in a cage which is difficult to reach into.

Here is the My First Mouse video (Now that I am on a computer I can paste it as a link):

Have fun!

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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