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Baby mouse
Baby mouse  
QUESTION: Hi my daughter found a baby mouse yesterday on the hot cement in the sun there was another baby with it that had died. It has fur but it's eyes are not open and it was panting and sprawled out when she picked it up she put it on a damp cloth to cool it and when we got it home we put it in front of a slow fan to cool it down. We have been feeding it 1/2 strength kitten formula every couple of hours and it appears to be picking up but it goes through stages of being highly awake and active to deep sleep but it also twitches is this normal? Is there anything else we should be doing for it? We brought it a plastic little mouse cage and put a cloth under it and on top as it doesn't appear to like being exposed. Thanks in advance

ANSWER: Hi Leanne,

Thank you for rescuing that little pup! You've been doing perfectly so far. Twitching a little in sleep is fine, as well as sleeping a lot. The only thing I would add is helping him or her potty if they are not already going on their own, and keeping them dry and warm (but not hot, obviously). Since baby mice are very tiny and usually under the momma, they chill very quickly.

This link is a very detailed explanation of how to help orphaned mice and rats. Because it covers both, you will have to do some weighing and measuring to apply it to your little guy, but it also covers pottying, how much/often to feed, and weight gain: http://www.rmca.org/Articles/orphans.htm

A food scale and frequent weighing is your best way to make sure he or she is gaining weight steadily. Please keep in mind that raising orphaned mice is truly an uphill battle, but every day that goes by is one step closer to a full grown, healthy mouse! By about 4-5 weeks old he or she should be eating and drinking mostly on their own!

Best of luck, and please let me know how else I can help,

-Tam

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

QUESTION: Thank you so much for all that information. So far so good we are still feeding well and loves to be held our eyes are still closed so must have been only a few days old when my daughter found it. I just have one more question do you think it is a mouse or a rat from the photo - or is it too hard to tell when they are so young? Also once it is eating on its own would it be kinder to set it free or to keep it as a pet? We would rather do what is best for the little thing it is so cute. Thanks again for your help. Leanne

Answer
I'm sorry, I don't see a photo attached.  Can you try attaching it one more time?

As far as keeping it, that's really up to you and how the little one does.  I can tell you however that instincts about survival and "wildness" do not go away from being raised by hand.  If you do decide to keep it, it will probably be much higher energy than a pet mouse (or rat!), quick to escape, and with a potentially higher level of anxiety.  Chances are that it will probably not be interested in snuggling!  But the benefit to that is if you do release him or her, you will not have to worry about the little mouse finding food or shelter, provided that you release it in a safe, brushy area away from your home.

If you decide to release it, make sure he or she is drinking on their own as well.  Drinking usually comes a little later than eating - I'm not as sure about wild mice, but orphaned pet mice typically begin trying out solid foods between 2 and 3 weeks, and drinking reliably on their own around 4-6 weeks.  :)

-Tam

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Tamarah

Expertise

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: http://www.rmca.org/Articles/orphans.htm Orphaned Mice Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising Natasha's Your First Mouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share General Mouse Help: http://www.fancymice.info/ Mouse Info and Exotic Breeds: http://www.hiiret.fi/eng/species/

Experience

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!

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

Education/Credentials
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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