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Mice/Sitting facing the wall


Hi Tamarah,

My mouse is about 18mths-2yrs.He has become very quiet and still. His body seems to making bobbing movement. When he's out of his box on the floor, he escapes into other rooms and seems to prefer time on his own than mixing with his siblings. He has stopped running about and exploring and sits facing in, up-close to the wall and remains like this until he is picked up. He sits in my hand and has taken to sitting on my feet, climbing into the backs of my slippers - when I'm in them, or in the crook of my knees when I'm kneeling down. He never used to be 'clingy' This has gone on for about a week. He also likes to hide his  his eyes under some felt he has in his box; rather like dogs when they hide their heads under coffee tables and think you cant see them! But I wonder if he has got an eye infection. They look okay, however. His coat has become very patchy as if he's sweating a great deal... can you please help. My local vet's practice say they don't know anything about behavioural traits in mice. My mouse doesn't appear to be in pain, and is eating and drinking as normal. I'd be really grateful if you could help. I just cant get any answers. Many thanks for your time...

Hi Nicholas,

It sounds like he is, in fact, uncomfortable in some way.  Prey animals like mice tend to not show discomfort until it is bad enough that they cannot help it.  Lethargy (playing less, being quiet and withdrawn) and poor coat condition (the sweatiness/greasiness you mentioned) are both good indicators that something is up.

Depending on his genetic background, 18-24 months can be a pretty good age for a mouse, so age may be simply slowing him down.  It could also be that he has something internally going on, which is making him feel bad, and may or may not be something that can be fixed with medical attention.  The problem could also be as simple as arthritis making it uncomfortable for him to clean his coat or play (though I wouldn't expect this to start suddenly), or even an injury from a fall or scratch which is making his back, neck, or feet hurt.

Can you and/or your veterinarian look for more clues to see if it is something healthwise that can be fixed?  Check under the coat by blowing backwards on it to look for scabs, bumps, or scratches.  Check toes, tail, and ears for color, healthy size/position, and injuries.  Watch his posture - is he hunching?  Favoring anything?  Moving normally when he walks?  Does his breathing sound normal?  Is he eating the same food that he has been, and is that food abnormally high in fats and proteins?  Sometimes older animals need changes in their diet to keep them healthy - is he overweight?  Underweight?  Is his waste normal?  If his eyes look normal, what makes you think he might have an eye infection?

The more clues you can gather, the easier it will be for your veterinarian or you to figure out what is bothering him.  I can tell you, however, that something definitely sounds like it's bothering him, so focus on making him comforted and happy for a bit.  If there is a part of his cage that he likes but doesn't feel like getting to anymore, help him by making it more accessible.  If the other mice are bothering him, make sure he can always get safely to food, water, and shelter.

Hopefully this has helped, but if you have further questions or can get me more details to go on, please feel free to write me back and I will do what I can!



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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

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