Chew deterrent help

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Post by j.n379 on Mon 18 Mar 2019, 2:37 am

So my newer better bigger cage has a bit of hard plastic at the back that they can get to. There's no real way for me to make it inaccessible to them.
One girl chews on the plastic. Every day. Constantly. Despite me picking her up and moving her over to a different section of the cage over and over, providing new entertainment, hard things for her to chew, soft things to chew. The other girls don't do it.

I tried my best guess at what could stop her: I rubbed a hot pepper on it to get the spicy juices on it. That didn't stop her! I know some people use "bitter apple spray" for bigger pet chew deterrent, is that safe for mice? Is there anything I can get at the pet store or grocery store to rub or spray on the chew spot to get her to move on to her variety of safer (and less annoying and noisy) chew toys? She loves getting out of the cage but doesn't live *being* out of the cage, and she starts again literally moments after being put back after a half hour of outside the cage play time with her sisters. I don't want her to hurt her little face smooshing it against the plastic to chew it.

If it's fully safe for her to chew the edges of her own cage, let me know and I'll try to ignore this Very Annoying Thing she does for hours. It doesn't seem healthy. It seems obsessive.
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Post by j.n379 on Thu 28 Mar 2019, 6:08 am

They literally chewed their way out of the edge of their tank, and are in the process of chewing through their backup tank closure.
I hate this. Nothing I do helps. We have a cat and a dog, they need to stay in their tank for their own safety. They have been impossible to deter, impossible to lure away with better chewing materials, impossible to stop by trying to train them that they shouldn't be trying to chew by picking them up and moving them away from the spot they are chewing over and over, all night long. I've got to sleep some time! They've chewed through two water bottles in a month, those things are $15 each and they chew one tiny hole in it on the side and it won't hold water any more, just drains right out in one minute!
SOS send help I've tried a water bowl, they fill it 100% with bedding within an hour, I've built them a water bowl table to raise it inches above the bedding and they're using that height to chew the cage edge. These little weirdos are insane and stupid, I have a cat and dog, stay in your cage!
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Post by CallaLily on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 1:55 pm

In this situation it would probably be best to switch to a glass tank with a secure lid (metal mesh with locking clips, usually found in reptile section) and glass water bottles. Continue providing things to chew of course but this way they’re secure and safe. Good luck.

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Post by j.n379 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 2:37 pm

It is an exo Terra. They chewed the plastic blocking the lid from being accessed, then they chewed the plastic that was holding the wire mesh to the lid, then they ripped the metal mesh away from the edge and crawled through.
I've literally never seen any creature so obsessed with getting somewhere. It's completely insane. I've had to put them into my backup ten gallon glass tank (we have to rent a car to get to proper stores so I had to wait a week) but they're chewing the plastic latching mechanism. And the bottles. Every bottle we have in any store here is intended for those horrible barred cages. There is no way to attach them to glass tanks, and there are no standing water bottle holders for sale, I've asked and the stores don't even know what I'm talking about.
The ones I buy are flat backed, so I can attach a velcro piece to them to get them to stick inside the cage. The only glass bottles are nearly a foot tall, their tips would be in the bedding leaking and I wouldn't have anything to hold them up. I'm losing my mind. I gave them a bowl which I hate, on a little Lego shelf to try to keep the bedding out because it moulds within 24 hours and they fill it to the point where there's no water left at all. But now their poor little tails are getting wet from playing around on the water bowl.

I've had mice for ten years and I've never had such mischievous, destructive little babies. I don't know what they want from me. I gave them new stuff to rip apart every day and they still couldn't keep their minds off the relentless chewing.
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Post by CallaLily on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 2:44 pm

Unfortunately the screening on exo terra lids are not chew proof but the type I mentioned that are found in the reptile section are much thicker and are chew proof. Perhaps you can find one to fit the top of your exo terra?
Try looking up DIY water bottle holders online. I’ve seen tutorials for ones made from cardboard, popsicle sticks, and wood.

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Post by j.n379 on Fri 29 Mar 2019, 2:55 pm

The exo Terra are all that is sold for reptiles here. And they only sell in kits including a bunch of unnecessary things (lights, etc), no lids separately. They're also all over a hundred dollars each, so considering I just bought this one I can't really afford another cage they'll just get out of in 3 days again.
I'm going to be trying to remake my own lid. The problem isn't the mesh though, that's made of metal and they didn't chew through it, they pulled it until it came out. The problem is that all the edges are plastic, the part holding the lid from just falling into the tank, the thing under the doors, it's all plastic. And they were getting to it all. There's a part under the doors she started at first for no apparent reason, a little ledge directly under the glass doors. If she gets through it she'll definitely fit, it's almost an inch of plastic.
Even the tanks that held my other mice their entire lives, she's chewing on the underside of the edge of the lid. None have ever even tried before. I don't think I'm going to be able to make or buy anything that she won't be able to chew on, I think I need to work on discouraging it in some way, or figuring out how to change the behavior. Otherwise she'll just ruin her teeth on whatever stronger material I come up with.
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Post by Animallover562 on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 11:27 am

Sounds like you have some crazy mice! I once had a trio of girls chew a hole through the bottom of their bin cage but thankfully they didn’t chew on the sides. I’m not sure how the cage is built/what it looks like but would it be possible to line that part with either some cut wood, a piece of glass or wire mesh?
If not I think it would be safest to switch to a glass tank instead. If you do go for a glass tank, look on Craigslist! Sometimes people will sell leaking tanks for super cheap which work perfectly for mice.
Good luck!
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Post by j.n379 on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 12:09 pm

Yeah they've certainly crazy.
The thing is, like I said, they're in a glass cage. And after moving them from their destroyed brand new very expensive glass cage, into a glass tank, they still find a place to chew to try to get out.
It's the entire perimeter of the top, there's no way to block it with anything at all, unless I want them to suffocate. I also don't have any tools to work with glass, so that's fully out of the option, the only thing I can work with is metal meshing and wood, and they'll eventually chew through any wood and probably injure themselves on the edges of the mesh in their pointless struggle to be Not In Cage. One already had a tiny scratch from the softer metal mesh that they ripped away from the lid, the stronger stuff would be downright dangerous when they got to an edge. I've given myself nasty scratches from the stuff last time I worked with it. I promise you, she will get through any wood. I'm not even sure she won't get through metal. Even the toughest, tightest mesh I could find is still technically cuttable, and I already know she has the drive.

I slowed them down a bit by giving them a different wheel, but it only gave me, again, one day before they started attacking their roof again. There's a slight chance I can switch my oldest boy out of his tank (which has a slightly different lid system than the others and might be less chewable) except, even with a heavy thing on top it can still be wiggled to the point where 3 insistent young mice might get themselves hurt trying to wiggle themselves under it. And it's too small for them.

I'm already at 3 extra cages sitting empty, buying another cage is absolutely not an option at this point. This is already a new, fully functional cage, and no new cage won't have the exact same problem as this one. It'll just be ANOTHER $150 wasted on something they can't be contained by. There is no such thing as a cage or tank being sold in Canada without any plastic on the upper rim. The tiny thin rim of plastic is what they can chew through and get out through, it's what they did chew through and get out through. I'm pretty sure at this point she'd be willing to chew on solid metal if she thought it would be a way out, and it wouldn't be impossible for her to get through the metal they use on the mesh tank lids. I've seen it done over time, in tiny spots, after years of use, but I've never seen it done this fast.
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Post by CallaLily on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 4:00 pm

Tank lids like the one linked here are completely chew proof.

Sorry I don’t have any other advice. I’m not sure there’s anything more you can do besides continue to offer a variety of chews, plenty of activities, and a chew proof cage/lid to keep them secure.

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Post by j.n379 on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 6:37 pm

I have that lid, on my ten gallon. However, it's warped and slightly bent from shipping which is why I said it could be lifted a tiny bit at the corner. Enough for a still small mouse to get stuck halfway out. Even with a heavy wooden thing on it, it still wiggles unless I fully cover it with things, which obviously would block all air flow.

It's not available for, and would block access to, my front opening larger tank. And it doesn't stop the tank from having, as I've said, a plastic rim all around the top.

I'm just getting really frustrated. I have literally the perfect set up. I have literally the best that exists in terms of materials, and I feel like I'm pretty much being treated like I don't know anything at all, despite telling you I had that lid and that the tanks themselves come with black plastic all around the rim that can be chewed.
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Post by CallaLily on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 7:09 pm

I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. I thought the lid you had was the thinner window screening type, which is why I linked the other type of lid.

But I still stand by there isn’t really much you can do to stop a mouse from chewing beyond what you’re already doing (offering various chew toys and plenty of activities). Beyond that all you can really do is try to make your glass tank as secure as possible. Perhaps purchasing some locking clips will keep the lid in place. You could get two sets if necessary. Zilla Screen Cover Clips

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Post by j.n379 on Sat 30 Mar 2019, 7:38 pm

I so wish there was a safe way to make her not want to do it at all. I guess, I don't know, I usually wouldn't want to put 3 girls in a ten gallon, it's why I got them the bigger one but I can find the clips this weekend and then if she makes it out again I can put them into the one Gus lives in now, and he can have the bigger one. He's elderly at this point so maybe it'll be good for once he stops wanting to climb upwards.

She's been good for about 24 hours, I did a little temporary fix yesterday on the bigger cage lid that won't actually stop her if she goes back up there, but she didn't do a prison escape last night so I will cross my fingers it was a temporary thing. In the temp slightly different ten gallon, there's a plastic latch to hold a sliding lid instead of the lid that you showed that is on the other tank, and she was trying to get through that, didn't want to lose another tank's functionality within a week so that's why I tried the big cage again.

It's on a high cupboard, so at least if she gets out she isn't going anywhere, there's no way for her to get down. And we check on the cage every morning before letting the bigger animals loose just in case I'm wrong about that and she's a daredevil. Anyways I'll go out tomorrow and get some wood to try to make a new lid, and the lid clips as a backup in case the new wood and wire lid is either not good enough or doesn't work.
Last time I used the wire mesh was to try to turn a book case into a tall tank, that was a disaster that didn't turn out, but if I worked at it a couple more weeks (bad back all I am very slow, fifteen minutes of construction a day is all I can manage) maybe that can be the third backup plan. It's very sturdy, took heavy duty tin snips to cut, but after how brutally efficient she was at plastic I have my doubts that she will give up just because it's hard. It would be downright inspirational if it wasn't such an unwanted behavior.

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