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Mice/White footed deer mouse.


Hi Tam, I wrote to you a couple of days ago regarding my pet mouse scar. Looking at pictures, I think that scar is a white footed deer mouse. As I was doing some research about these mice, I noticed an article on how hanta viruses are connected with them. Is it possible that scar may have this, he is a wild mouse. And do you think that I have it?

Many thanks Ella and Scar. X

Ella (and Scar),

It was my understanding that deer mice are not very common in the UK, and therefore hantavirus, but I do not know your area very well.  I am having a hard time finding incident reports for your area online - you may want to check with your health department to find out if there have been any reports in the past year or two to raise concern.

Scar could also be a wood mouse, a similar type called a yellow necked field mouse, or even a regular field mouse.  I am not able to tell you what species you have, as I only work with house mice, but you can check with a local veterinarian, pest control provider (maybe just call them, don't invite them over!), or wildlife rehabilitator.  Any of these should be able to help you correctly identify what species Scar is.  Of course, all wild mice should be treated with caution and common sense, as deer mice may be the primary carriers of hantavirus, but they are not be the only ones.

Hantavirus is spread primarily by breathing in airborne feces or urine droplets which are infected with the virus, but may also be spread by eating contaminated food.  What this means is that if you had a mouse which was carrying the virus, then breathed in their dirty bedding or ate food without adequately cleaning your hands after handling them/bedding, you would be at risk for contracting the disease.  If you are concerned, wearing a mask and maybe even gloves when changing the cage, as well as thoroughly washing your hands after handling Scar, can help mitigate risks.

The only way to determine if Scar carries hantavirus is to have his waste tested by a laboratory.  There may be one in your area that you can send a sample to if you call around and ask.  I am NOT able to diagnose whether or not you have hantavirus - that is something only a physician can do for you and it would be unethical for me to assume anything about your health.

Hope this information helped!


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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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