Mice/New mice housing concern
Hello, my fiancee and I just got 2 pet mice for the first time ever. We got two female mice, one the pet store warned us was very jumpy and got out of many peoples hands, and the other was normal. We got the jumpy one because it was the right color for my fiancee, and we thought it could be cool and didnt wanna discriminate. We are so glad we got both of them because they are wonderful, although i do fear they fight sometimes. The jumpy one seems to dominate in a fearless way while the other is more calculated and intillectual. So weve had them for 3 days now and suddenly tonight they are both overly hyper, the jumpy one Luna nibbled my palm gently three times and she has only done one nibble in the past and i gently reacted in discomfort and she got the idea Luna is the jumpy one but she calmed down after getting her home but now she darts faster then ever i cant see her move and kicking up paper and stuff at the glass while cleaning herself. But also Peach Snapple wont settle into my hands she energetically runs about when she used to calm down eventually and clean or just move about slowly , i have been looking and im afraid they are eating the water proofing glue in the corners of the aquarium they are housed in, im not sure yet but the first full cage cleaning will haveto be tomorrow so i can check the corner glue seems for more solid proof they are eating it, or at least biting it but i think i have seen them dip down to the bottom where they dug away the paper and bite off glue and rush back, there too fast to watch and know for sure whats going on but i really dont want them to be sick, this glue sealant cant be good for them, did we buy the wrong type of aquarium? We really cannot afford to risk them escaping from a plastic and wire style cage or anything like that, thanks- chris
You guys have only had them for three days - they are still trying to get settled in. It's a big change for a mouse, going from pet shop to house! They are going to need another few days to settle in, get in their own routines, and establish the new order of dominance. If I were you, I'd leave them alone for a couple of days, and maybe put off the first cage cleaning until then as well (you can peek at the glue, but space is key). After they've settled in and there's no more chasing or squeaking, then begin fostering a relationship with them via low-pressure playtime in short bursts with treats after. Never remove them from their cages when they go to their hide - they need a space where they can effectively say "let's not play right now." This way, you'll get them at their best and can gradually build trust.
Another thing to consider is that most pet shops sell mice when they are very young, at about 4-6 weeks of age. They may be "full size" but not yet full weight, and are far from being adults. They still have their youthful habit of "popcorning," leaping straight up when approached from above, startled, or nervous about being held. Most mice grow out of this, but it can be avoided in the meantime by holding over safe surfaces and only approaching them from the side. Young mice also have much more energy! They need a way to exercise, via safe wheels, disks, or "flying saucers," or even homemade jungle gyms from chew-safe materials like popsicle sticks or tissue boxes/toilet paper tubes. Chances are, as they mature a little bit more, you'll find their in-cage behavior becomes more predictable, regular, and less frantic. For now, just try to give them safe outlets to get that energy out, and play with them when they seem more relaxed (but not asleep).
I don't know what cage you have or what the glue is made of, so I can't speak to the safety of ingesting it. I can tell you that they need something to chew on, like wood blocks from the pet shop, and usually they chew but don't actually eat. Mice need to chew to keep their teeth filed down to a healthy size, so chewing on the glue may be how they are exercising this need. As long as they are not actually consuming it, it should be fine. However, the biggest risk would be them escaping, as you mentioned. I went through many plastic cages before I started using glass tanks. There are heavy plastic bottoms with wire tops, using no glue and only snaps to keep the two together, which I have also had success with:
However, if the plastic isn't very thick, it's going to get chewed through by those more avid chompers. The other thing to consider is the distance between bars - if it is made for hamsters, rats, or guinea pigs, and if the mice can fit their heads through, escape is possible. For these reasons I now use glass tanks with locking mesh lids for ventilation:
(There are no locking clips on that one, but there should be) I attach water bottles using heavy duty velcro tape (one half stuck to tank side, one to water bottle). All components for the cage are very affordable, less than many plastic/wire mouse cages, but far easier to wipe clean and prevent escapes. The one downside is that with no side door, you will always have to go to pick them up from above, which might spook jumpy mice.
Natasha has a great video on her youtube about setting up your first cage, and I believe it covers setting up both wire and glass cages: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share
Hope I helped - please let me know if you have any more questions or need clarification on anything!