Mice/wild mouse running in circles
QUESTION: Hi Tamarah,
Please, help! I found a mouse on my driveway a few hours ago. She was running in circles and didn't seem to be scared of me. I was able to come very close to her. She finally ran from the asphalt to the grass and was sitting quietly. I brought her some rice grains, she ate and then moved back to the open area to resume her marathon. She would run for some time, then lay down and nap right there, on the asphalt. Well, to make the long story short, I put her in a large see-through plastic container with paper towel on the bottom, gave her different grains, pecan nut (she liked it), pieces of baby-carrot and water. I also gave her little boxes to hide. When she got into the little box with a rigid bottom I heard some weird noise. It was a rattle sound and I noticed that the mouse was "drumming" with her front leg (or both) as if it was having convulsions. It happened periodically and then she was moving just fine. She eats, pups, sleeps and... goes in circles again. I don't know what to do with her. I don't think she is safe outside the way she is. So she is staying in the box overnight.
I called the vet trying to get some advice. They referred me to the wildlife specialist but no one returned my call.
Two more things. The mouse seems to be a baby, she is small and the head is relatively large in proportion to the body. She CAN run straight, her head is not tilted to one side. But she always runs clockwise.
Secondly, we had lime application on our loan yesterday. Could it be the reason of poisoning the mouse? And what can I do with the poor thing? Please, help. Looks like nobody really cares...
ANSWER: Hi Irene,
Yes, lime can be toxic to animals, but mostly to the skin and eyes. It can cause blindness in large doses, which COULD result in what you have observed, but another possibility is neurological disorders.
Even when not demonstrating a head tilt, some mice with neurological problems will still circle, also called waltzing. This would seem to agree with the apparent seizing, as well. There is nothing to do about waltzing, and other issues such as brain tumors or congenital defects can be lethal over time.
Some mice will buzz body parts against hard surfaces as a warning when they are scared, though usually we see tails doing the vibrating. It's possible she is just frightened or uncomfortable from not being able to see, and is warning "predators" away. You can test her vision by attracting her attention with a treat back and forth, though she might not be interested tonight. Running from you or moving the head to noises isn't a sufficient test, since mice have terrific hearing and smell.
You've done well by providing moist options like carrots in the meantime, which will provide hydration until she can be released or you decide what else to do with her. You can also try offering a commercial mouse mix (she won't forget how to forage), or stale bread soaked in water. If she's eating solids, you won't need to bottle feed, just watch her weight closely and keep her hydrated.
The best way to find out if she will survive in the wild is to observe her over a few days and see if the behaviour improves. She might just be stunned from a bad encounter with a predator, of course. If she gets worse or doesn't improve, the option of a wildlife specialist or rehabilitator isn't a bad option (if they ever call you!). You can check your state's forestry and wildlife website for other numbers to try.
Hopefully this helps, but please feel free to write back if you have further questions or developments! I'll be going to bed soon(ish), but I will try to respond as quickly as I can.
Best of luck!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Tam,
It was not until today that I received your answer. The email said that it was the second notification, I believe I should have checked my spam folder to get your letter on time.
Thank you very much for your answer and for your moral support. The mouse is still in my garage (I would have brought her to the house if I didn't have three dogs and two cats).
The mouse is very quiet. I don't see her running much. And she almost doesn't make this buzzing sound. She doesn't eat much (well, I have no idea how much she is supposed to eat).
My daughter said that the mouse doesn't seem to be a baby.
Most of the time the mouse sleeps. She shredded some of the paper towel that was in her box. I see pieces scattered all over the bottom. I bought her some "mise" food but she doesn't seem to like it. She eats some pecans, oats, buck weed grains. I keep fresh water in the box for her to drink. She doesn't like carrots. And I gave her some cheese. She showed no interest at first but few hours later the piece I gave her is nowhere to be seen. Hope, she ate it.
I was trying to get some advice from the pet store but they said that the mise they sell go mostly to those who buy them to feed their pets. I spoke to another vet but got the same answer: bring the mouse, we will keep it overnight and if it shown no signs of improvement, we will euthanize it. NO THANK YOU!
What is wrong with this world??????????
I'm not sure if there is a new question I missed, or if this is just an update, I'm sorry. You're right, she looks like at least a young adult, if not mature. Is she still waltzing? Have you checked her vision?
Vets can't (and don't want to) euthanize pets without your permission, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. Honestly, wildlife rehabilitators are your best bet with wild mouse species. Has anyone called you back?