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Mice/Mouse PTSD after weevil incident


My female mouse is about 1 1/2 years old. She lives alone (other female died about 6 months ago and I'm phasing out of mice) but she doesn't seem lonely. Last week a found that bugs (possibly weevles) got into her food and house and caused her to have an irritation in her skin. Since then I cleaned and changed everything, including bedding. Problem is now she won't go in her little house and avoids her cage all together where possible. She is sleeping in a toilet roll when i make her go in cage whilst im not home/busy. I can't get her to go in anything else, not even tissue boxes because she freaks out (noticeably). I don't know what to do. It's like she's scared of something. It would be ok buy it's winter here and I'm worried she will catch a cold only sleeping in a cardboard roll. Any advice of help would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Dear Kelly,

Mice are prone to many of the same psychological difficulties as we are. Not the social ones, of course, but both psychiatric and other psychological problems. It may sound silly, but your little mouse has a bad case of PTSD.

She got so freaked out by what happened in that house, in that cage, that every enclosed space reminds her of it. Maybe a weevil even got into her nose, which would be horrifying. You need to give her as safe an environment psychologically as possible.

Is it possible to try another cage? Even something that will be unsuitable in the long run. Big is obviously much better than small. If she has been in an aquarium, this is a very good time to get a wire cage. If she is in a wire cage, maybe, maybe the aquarium would be different enough to help--- but as you can imagine, maybe it would also feel confining. Don't use something she can escape from of course. And watch her to make sure she isn't panicky.

In any case, new cage or not, take all enclosures out. No point in having scary places in the cage. Now get some polar fleece, which is not expensive, or other very soft blanket material, and cut up small pieces and large pieces and make a big, nice pile in one side of the cage. My mice used to sleep between two "blankets" which I showed them by putting them inside.

I feel mean, but I would at first take the toilet paper roll out too, to encourage her to make a nest. Just watch how she is. It is your call to put it back if she is upset. If you put it back in, put the fleece in and all around it. Of course, once she has slept in the nest a time or two, give her back her toilet paper roll and several more. Her cage is a bit boring now with no hideys.

I also suggest using another litter, just to make it as different as possible.

Poor little girl. Can you imagine weevils as big to us as these were to her?

Please let me know if this helps. I may be able to think of something else if it doesn't help. I wish her the best of luck and psychological health.




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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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