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Mice/Wild baby mouse


QUESTION: Hello! I have been hand raising a baby mouse my boyfriend found in a blow motor in a car at work. The babys eyes werent even open yet so i did research fed him KMR ever 2-3 hours and gave him belly rubs and everything to keep him going, even hiding him in my purse at work to keep up with his feeding schedule! He is now about  5-6 weeks old  and is doing great! However he is constantly  trying to nibble my fingertips and is insanely fast and very excited! I cant get him to stay still or even remotly calm when handling him. Im so afraid he might jump down  and hurt himself or even get lost in the house.  Im hoping this will pass and I will be able to hold him and hang out with him when he gets older. Is thee anything i can be doing to help him burn energy or make him stop nibbling fingers?

ANSWER: Hi Nicole,

Unfortunately, even hand-raised wild mice are still wild! This is due to something called epigenetics, and it sounds like he's just listening to his instincts.

The best thing to do is to remove hazards, so if his cage can be escaped, or if it's placed high up, you might need to mouse-proof it a bit more.  He'll almost certainly test it at some point.  This way, if you lift him out and he leaps, he doesn't have as far to go, same for if he gets out.

You can also provide him with a frequently changing and large home, giving him new toys and hides often to keep him interested in exploring. Many toys and jungle gyms can be built at home with toilet paper tubes, tissue boxes, Popsicle sticks, etc! Giving him one area that is always private will allow him to retreat when he feels overstimulated or threatened and may help him enjoy your presence better.  If he doesn't yet have a wheel, that can definitely help!  Wild treats like live mealworms are also exciting.  Just be sure you leave him be when he's eating and never play with him when your hands still smell like treats.

Is there any pattern to when he nibbles you?  For instance, it's a strong instinct to run from or fear hands coming down from above, since predators often swoop down on mice, so if he bites when picking him up, a more lateral approach might help. Does he seem tensed or stressed when he nibbles? Or is this during playtime when he's behaving otherwise normally?  Getting clues about what is causing the biting can help quite a bit in preventing it.

The last thing I'd suggest is building a mouse-proof jungle gym where you can interact with him out of the cage without having to hold onto him. Of course, if you think there's any chance of him escaping from the area, the risk may not be worth it.

Please let me know if any of these suggestions help, or if I can assist in any other way!


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

QUESTION: Thanx Tam! I hav built him tunnels with tubes and i cut sum holes in plastics containers for him to play and he scoots around in them and he has a wheel hes learning to use. Its funny you say mealworms , my boyfriends mom has geckos and wev been giving the mouse mealworms as snackd and he loves them! The nibbling happens at playtimes. He runs and jumps right into my hands when i reach in the tank very happy to come out and he starts licking first like he wants the salt and then that leads to nibbling . Im not going to give up on him tho! Hes my lil Trooper ! Thanx again! Oh and 1 more thing , i was wondering if maybe he would like crickets? Give him sumthing to chase around but im not sure, i dont want him to get hurt/scared or anything!


Absolutely, crickets are yummy treats!  Just be sure you get them from the pet shop, and not the wild.  Outdoor wild crickets may be affected by pesticides or other chemicals that may be hazardous.  But store-bought crickets are great!  Remove any uneaten crickets or mealworms after snack time.

Since the licking tends to precede the nibbling, try removing your hand and pausing playtime any time he starts to lick you.  While this grooming can be beneficial bonding, if it leads to biting, it's better to not encourage it.

Good luck!


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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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