Mice/Rehoming tamed wild deer mice
Hello again Natasha! I wrote to you back in dec. 2011, i believe, about my 4 deer mice and me catching hantavirus etc. And to this day i still have all 4 of them. They look healthy as can be! But here in about 2 to 4 weeks, ill be moving to a house where pets arent allowed....:( and i dont know what to do with them! Asked everyone i know almost and noone wants them. So i was thinking about releasing them all together back into the wild, cages and food too. But im not sure thats a good idea? Been searching for info but getting mixed answers. Some say since they are wild and not store mice, they may have a chance. Others say since they been in captivity for so long, theyre too ignorant to survive? So im extremely worried if i release theyll starve to death or cant find water. These are my little buddies, i cant believe i have to give them up! They are about 3.5 years old or so and they could possibly live for another 4years! This whole situation is making me very upset and sad. Please help if possible. If they could survive at least another year in the wild, free to explore and live possibly happier, then thats what im going to do, either that or sneak em into my new house? I want to write so much more but i better keep it short. Thanks for your time!
It is so wonderful that these guys are still happy and healthy! I am assuming they are very tame and you handle them as pets. No, you mustn't let them go. They wouldn't have a chance. They have lost their wild instincts to be afraid. They also may not have developed the speed that they would need to escape from predators. And they have no idea how to find a safe place for a nest, or to gather food and find water. They may be better off than a bred mouse, but still simply have very little chance. And they would be unhappy.
The first best thing is to sneak them into the house. They are easily hid under a towel or in a box. When the landlord comes you take the wheel out (a mistake I made once!) throw a blanket over the cage and put a plant on top. Have these things at hand.
Next best thing is to find them another home. You have asked everyone you know, but have you tried science teachers? Or kindergarten teachers? What about putting up an ad which explains what great pets they are (friendly, smart, clean), with a photo, in the library, or school, or other place children and their parents go. Make the photo nice and big so the kids beg for them. You could also arrange to bring them in for show and tell and the kids will definitely want them. One mom would say OK..
Another way to find them a home is to tell me where you live so I can see if I know someone who could take them. Most of my Facebook friends are rat people, but some love mice too.
As a last resort, find a shelter or rescue that will not set them free. Some people have a strict, and I think silly, philosophy that no wild animal should ever be a pet, with no regard whatsoever to the particular animal's well- being. I find that pretty stupid. If they are reasonable, they will try to find a home for them.
If you do bring them to a rescue or shelter, I recommend you volunteer there once a week. It will be nice for the mice to see you, and it is a thank you to the shelter. If they don't ask for an adoption fee, offer them what you can afford. They will be very grateful--and possibly take better care of the mice. Also, if they are at a shelter, you could assess your situation and find that you can take them back and hide them.
I hope one of these ideas works out for you and the mice. Let me know how it ends.
From my Facebook group Rats and Mice are Awesome (though the name on FB is actually just Rats are Awesome):