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Pet Rats/What's wrong with my pet mouse

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QUESTION: Hello there,
I need your help.. I don't know why my pet white mouse behaves so strangely.. He's 7 months old. He never wants to play with me or with any toy. Whenever I take him out of his basket he searches for food. He is hungry everytime. No doubt he's active bt he's actively searching food. And from few weeks he's scratching himself around his neck and he is bleeding. I live in A small town and there's no vet here. Im worried about him. Btw I keep him in a basket with paper bedding and feed him fruits sweets and wheat bread and also noodles and corns because he loves it. What should I do.? What am I doing wrong.?  He's my first rat so I have no experience. Please help. Thanks alot :)

ANSWER: Hi Vipi,
First, is he a mouse or a rat?  Because you used both words. A mouse or rat needs to be handled a lot as a tiny baby to bond to people and want to interact with them. It sounds like your boy was not handled enough. Scratching himself might be caused by mites, which are quite common in mice and rats, or it might be from poor nutrition. He might always be looking for food because he isn't getting the right diet. Are the foods you mentioned the only food you give him?  Because what you listed is not an adequate diet. Do not give him noodles or sweets, because they do not contain much nutrition. He needs a variety of vegetables. And could you buy some dried dog food nuggets to include in his diet?
Deb

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QUESTION: Well sir to be honest I don't know if he's a rat or mouse.. But thanks for the idea of nutrition. Yes I'll get him some nuggets ASAP and give him veggies from now .. Will that be enough.?  Or should I include some other food items?  and I don't think he has mites I groom him regularly.. Is there anything else that I am doing wrong?

Answer
Since he is 7 months old, it is simple to tell if he is a rat or a mouse by his size. A addult mouse will fit in the palm of your hand, and a rat is much bigger.

Mite are too small to see, and grooming will not get rid of them. They live in the skin. For info about treating mites see the article called Skin Problems on my website at www.ratfanclub.org.

The dog food should only be about 1/4 of his diet. The rest should be vegetables, fruits and grains.
Deb

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Debbie Ducommun

Expertise

I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at www.ratfanclub.org/helpfinfo.html. If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.

Experience

I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

Organizations
President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

Publications
I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

Education/Credentials
BA in Animal Behavior

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