Mice/mice

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Question
Ok, I've had two female mice for about four or five weeks now, but my little black mouse , Gracie, keeps chasing my little tan mouse, Sarah, and squeaking. I've seen her do it about three times now and it looks like their fighting or something.


         Thanks, Heather

Answer
Hi Heather,

By now, any normal dominance struggles should have been worked out between your new mice, so this is definitely something to try and fix if possible.  There are a few things you can try within the cage to help them settle down, and a few signs to look for that may signal an immediate need to separate them.

Some things you can try include rearranging the cage.  If you notice they are scuffling more around a certain object, or when one tries to eat, try scattering food around the cage and adding hides and toys.  Sometimes this helps by giving them enough places that one mouse can't "claim" them all, but sometimes this can make it worse, too, if she tries, so if you notice more fighting when you add toys, instead try removing everything you can except the bedding, food, and water for a little while.  This part is really just depends on the nature of their scuffling.  You might also try completely changing out the bedding and adding a dab of natural vanilla extract (not artificial substitute) to each mouse's bottom and chin.  This will make the whole cage smell the same, and may help them share the space better until they can get more used to each other.  When you give them treats, always give one to each mouse directly to reduce arguing.

It takes a little bit of sleuthing to figure out why they are fighting, but by observing when they chase, and what objects or supplies are involved, you can get a better feel for how to mediate it.

There are some instances where fighting mice need to be separated immediately.  If you notice any biting, actual holding of the skin in the mouth, or if you see any scabs when you blow backwards on the fur, they need to be separated.  This is a sign of serious aggression and it can lead to real injuries, not to mention it means both mice feel stressed and unhappy.  If you see any boxing (standing on the back legs and "punching" outward at the other mouse), or tail rattling (a fast buzzing of the tail against a hard object), watch them very carefully and consider separationg.  Both of these are signs that a mouse feels cornered and may lash out violently.  Hopefully it won't come to this, and they just need a little help settling in, but it is important to know what to look for as not all mice get along with each other.

I hope I helped - please let me know if you have anymore questions!
-Tam

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Tamarah

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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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