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Mice/Wobbly Mouse


Hello Tamarah,

My husband and I were coming home from the park when I noticed a small mouse walking slowly near the garbage bins behind our building. He was wobbling and looks very small, I think he would fill a spoon and is about as tall as the tip of my baby finger.

He or she has a full coat of grey hair and a tail that is about an inch and a half. His tail looks smooth, which I think means that he is an okay weight. I don't see his vertebrae.

He's wobbling and his eyes are a bit squinty, we brought him home and put him in a large organic lettuce container (clear plastic) and we put holes in the lid. I put a cardboard tube for him to hide in, a bunch of napkins to pad the bottom, a piece of carrot, cat food and lettuce as well as a clean snapple cap of water.

I'm not sure what else to do for him. Could he be sick? When he crawls up the side of the container he often falls over backwards and struggles to right himself. Otherwise he's not moving too much and I can really see him breathing. Almost little hiccup type breaths. I'm not certain what to look for or how to help him and I really don't have much money. I just figured he'd do better with me than he would out on his own.

Do you know of there is something wrong with him and if there is anything I could do to help him?



Hi Dez,

He definitely sounds like he could be ill.  From your description, he should be old enough to move around pretty well on his own, though he may still be young.  There are a lot of possibilities, including if he was kicked out of the nest for a health problem (moms often know these things before we do), or even injured in a way that might not be immediately obvious.

The difficult breathing is a sign he is not doing well, and it may be a good idea to see if any wildlife rehabilitators in your area work with small rodents and can help.  You can also ask pet shops, breeders, and animal rescues or shelters if they know anyone with mouse experience who can attempt to nurse him back to health.  In the meantime, a mouse diet can be purchased at your local pet shop for not very much money and can help him build up his strength if possible (keep mixing in that cat food, though, it's very high in protein and a great supplement!).

Because he sounds young, I cannot recommend any particular home antibiotic options, in case it is an illness rather than an injury or an inherited problem.  You would need to see a vet to explore medical options, which can become rather expensive.  Still, it may be worth your time to call around and see if anyone can help you out of the kindness of their heart, or if a vet could possibly take him off your hands and rehabilitate him personally.

One other thing you can try is offering kitten milk replacement, which again can be purchased at your local pet shop or even some feed stores.  You can use a dropper or even a paint brush tip to see if he will take it.  If he is too young to eat solid food reliably, this will help to keep him hydrated and get him proper nutrition.

I hope he is doing alright, and thank you for taking him in.  It sounds like he is in rough shape and there may not be much to do other than keeping him comfortable and fed.  Please let me know if there is any other way I can help or if you have more questions,



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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: Orphaned Mice Videos: Natasha's Your First Mouse: General Mouse Help: Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds:


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!

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