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Mice/Baby mouse behavior


QUESTION: Hi!So I had a question someone had found and given me this baby mouse who is probably around 3 to 4 days old. I have raised a baby rat at this age before but never a baby mouse lately it has been acting very odd. It is almost constantly squeaking and thrashing around like there is something wrong with it and I don't think it's hungry because it would do it after feeding and getting it to use the restroom.  I've never raised a mouse so I dont know what their natural behavior is compared to it showing signs of injury or unease. Hope you can help me out.

ANSWER: Hi Michelle,

If I'm understanding your description correctly, that is definitely outside the norm for baby mice. If their eyes are not open yet, they should sleep peacefully between meals and wake when they are hungry again, every couple of hours.

Is the enclosure perhaps too warm? You should not be able to feel much difference at all in the temperature.  A heating pad which is too hot could certainly cause nonstop discomfort and pain - it should be set to it's lowest "warm" setting and checked frequently.  Is there a draft near the enclosure? Chemicals or something scratchy in the enclosure? Anything with a strong smell? Predators in the same room, such as rats, cats, dogs, or reptiles?

Have the stools been consistent and fairly normal, and has he been urinating before (or after) every meal?  If he is having trouble pottying successfully, he could certainly be in a great deal of pain.  Does he eat well and stop of his own accord, with a visible milk belly (if he doesn't yet have fur)?  Hungry or gassy pups may cry some when put down after a meal. Try feeding more, or if he refuses, laying him on his tummy and petting very lightly on either side from shoulder to hip - almost no pressure at all, with a forefinger and thumb. This can help move the digestive system and comfort gas pains.

Does he cry and thrash only in the enclosure, which would indicate an environmental problem like temperature or sensitivity, or also when you are holding him, which might indicate an internal discomfort?

If this continues until business hours, I would strongly recommend getting a vet to help you identify and solve the problem, especially if he truly is thrashing around nonstop. As you know from rat pups, babies are extremely delicate, and there's no reason to let him continue being visibly distressed. He needs that energy to grow and remain healthy if possible.  The are just so many things that can go wrong, it can be overwhelming to try to guess.

I'm going to bed right now, but I'll be up in a few hours again. Please write me back if you have any further questions, information that might help me help you figure out which thing is bothering him, or if there's anything else I can do.

Best of luck,

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

QUESTION: I think the behavior is because his or her genital area is red and swollen. The stool was constant but now it has become inconsistent and yellow. I feed the baby baby soy milk mixed with pedialyte every two hours. He or she seems to calm down when I feed him or her but as soon as I try to softly rub it's bottom it starts freaking out and thrashing. I don't know what to do about helping it's swollen bottom. Today I decided to lighten the formula and have more pedialyte in it then soy milk to see if that'll be better for it to digest. I hope to hear back from you soon! I'm very worried about the little one.

The red bottom is usually a result of irritation from stimulation, loose stools, or a combination of both.  Have you tried stimulating him to potty before meals instead of after? This should help encourage his digestive system to start moving and encourage his appetite so he can eat more.

Frequently, the switch from mom's milk to formula can cause loose stools, differently colored stools, and general stomach upset, especially the first couple of days. That unflavored pedialyte is great to help keep him hydrated during this experience, but he needs the nutrition as well available from kitten milk replacement, called KMR. Watering KMR down with water or pedialyte will help him still absorb the stuff he needs until his system evens out.  Once it does, pooping normal poops will allow the swelling to ease.

How are you currently stimulating for potty time? Try dabbing, not wiping, with a warm, moist cotton ball, then again with a fresh cotton ball to completely dry.  Leaving skin wet or with urine, feces, or milk could chap and irritate sensitive pup skin.

If the skin around the genitals or anus is swollen, irritated, or chapped and red like you mentioned, try a tiny amount of neosporin on the skin around that area (NOT on the actual genitals or anus). You barely need any ointment, and you only need to redo the application once to twice per day.  Just imagine making the thinnest coat you can with as little rubbing as you can to prevent further irritation.

How is he doing now?  Hopefully some of this is helping him adjust?


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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!

East Coast Mouse Association - expired, American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association - expired

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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