Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

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Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by timez on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 7:18 pm

Hi,

I have a mouse called Peanut who I got from a pet shop around 2 weeks ago.
(I'm not sure of the sex or age since the pet shop didn't give me any paperwork - but he/she looks tiny with a long tail)

I am having the most likely age old problem of a very scared mouse...

What has happened so far is:

- I transported Peanut using only a cardboard tube into any carrier or cage (even when moving it from the pet shop cage)

- I made sure I had a cage ready set up (as i fell in love with peanut so quickly I had to return to get him after doing his cage) which is equivalent to a 10 gallon space and only has entry and exit bared doors (most of it is like an aquarium but made of very thick see through plastic - its designed for pet mice so didn't home make it or anything)

- when i got home i transported him (or her) from a critter keeper into his cage also using the paper roll which he hid in inside the critter keeper the whole time.

- he instantly run into the igloo of the cage - and hid in there - and i never saw him again except at night when i could hear him biting the bars all night (probably intent on escape) - for 1 week solid!
(when i slowly approached the cage while he was doing this - he instantly ran and hid again until he was sure i was gone)

--- I put this all down to time adjusting - but its now 2 weeks later - and although he now comes out in his cage while I'm in the room and its daytime - if he sees me move or even notices I'm there he will run and hide again (I'm sure he is awake now - but he has been hiding in the igloo for 2 hours solid now

(which is usual for him - usually longer - but I'm getting a little worried he will never even feel comfortable being a mouse with a human anywhere near him)

------------------

I really want to try to at least trust me enough to be himself around me as step one - but we cant seem to get there.

- for the past week I have been trying the bathtub method - however - he is able to jump the height and even though the bathroom is mouse proofed - its a nightmare trying to do anything at the point as it seems like I'm chasing him round when I'm not - I'm trying to offer him a tube or his igloo from his cage - as when he gets down - i made sure he has a soft landing around the bath since he jumps a lot - he eventually goes into the igloo when hes has calmed a bit.

He is in a lot of fear during all this though - he seems to try to run and hide anywhere he can - and the last time we did it - he was hiding and shaking he was so scared - that was when i slowly got really close with the igloo and waited for as long as it took for him to get back in as i knew he feels safe there.

We have not done the running around / bathtub thing since as it scared him so much (this was the day before yesterday)

-------

However - and this is a big however - I would by no means say there has been zero progress - relatively there has been a lot...

- He does come out in the cage when I'm with him (as long as he doesn't see me though)

- When running around scared and hiding in the bathroom after jumping out the bath (I don't know he does that - what do i do since i cant keep him in there?) - he walked onto my held out hand and used it as a platform a good few times and walked off again (I don't think he knows its my hand though)

- last time in the bath - he got scared (of me i presume) but then proceeded to run under my legs and use it as a hiding place (again i don't think he knows its part of me)

- The last time (and hes only done this once) he climbed up me and actually sat on my shoulder for a while - i couldn't believe it! - but then as soon as i moved even slightly he was off and running scared again.

-------------
I'm almost confused - the only thing that makes sense is he is scared of me still and when he does these things he does not know its me hes on or hiding under.

Any advice would be amazing - I'm not sure putting my hand in the cage and leaving it there would work - he doesn't even come out when he sees me - i doubt he would come out if my hand was there in his cage? and clearly I have not tried to scoop him or anything like that (I think he would have a heart attack if I did)

Thank you in advance.

Timez


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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by Artistwolf on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 8:35 pm

Wow, that's one scared mouse! I'm sorry, I've never actually had mice so I can't really help with this kind of thing, but I just wanted to say I hope he warms up to you soon!

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by CallaLily on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 11:32 pm

My Hazel was a super jumpy, terrified little mouse when I got her.  Even now she can be a bit jumpy if I accidentally surprise her.  I just took it very, very slow with her. She was/is also a jumper.

I would give him more time just getting used to your presence near his cage. Once he's used to that introduce your hand, just by placing it in the tank. Keep it still, a bit away from him, and down low. Keep that up for however long it takes for him to start regularly coming over to check you out. From there, I would start taking him out of the tank for regular play time (even if at first you have to tube him to move him).  Take it slow even in the play bin/tub, starting again with just introducing your hand - letting him come to you.  If he reverts back to totally freaking out at any time, go back a step and give him more time. After each session is over (even after you've just been hanging around his tank), hide a few treats for him to find around his cage (Cheerios are great and/or pumpkin seeds).

It was pretty slow going for me and Hazel, and even though she's still a bit jumpier than other mice I've had, she did eventually warm up to me. I hope your little boy does the same. Good luck.

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by timez on Tue 26 Apr 2016, 5:48 am

Thank you for replying Smile - also I keep his cage on a chair next to where i sit when im home - so hes with me all day - do you think thats making it worse?

maybe it would be better to move him to another room while he gets used to me? - might be a case of too much too soon - i just worry he will get lonely.

Also how do i know when hes used to my presence around the cage? when he doesnt run away at the sight of me?

And I may be imagining this but im sure this time when i looked at him he didnt run as fast - he still did - but it was maybe an extra second.

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by MouseLover on Tue 26 Apr 2016, 7:18 am

Keeping his cage in an area where he can see/smell/hear you a lot is a good thing. He should become desensitized in a way, and learn that you're not a threat and he can carry on with his mousey business. If he's alone in another room, and see's you less, it will take him longer to learn that.

I really think it's a case of time, patience, and persistence. Scaredy mice can take a long time to win over, but I think it's very rewarding when you manage to earn their trust.

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by Mouseketeers on Tue 26 Apr 2016, 8:00 am

Like everyone has already mentioned, time works magic on most things. Give him time to settle in, new place, new smells, new food, bedding. New area to mark as his own. I have always found in the beginning just changing food, bedding and water was more than enough interaction.

Callalilly already said it, even if you have to bring him out in a TP tube, bring him out. In a safe area. Even if you need to sit down in the bath, leave the tube on your stomach let him explore. Wearing the same clothes each time can also help, as they will begin to smell like him. They are curious by nature. I have always used my hands to create a jungle gym of sorts. Giving them something to explore whilst getting them used to being handled.
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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by peas on Tue 26 Apr 2016, 2:09 pm


Does he still chew on the bars? That's not good at all. If he still chews on the bars you need to get him an aquarium with a mesh lid.


As everyone is saying, time helps. I have had mice that took months to warm up to me. I thought they would never come around and then suddenly they were good buddies. They're not the smartest bunch but eventually they'll most likely get it.

You could try playing little games with the tube. Put one tube in front of another and so forth so it has the effect of them crawling through a tunnel. Then transport that tube to various parts of you while you're in the tub. If he gets the hang of the tube taking him places, he'll start to see it as more of a tool that has the potential to take him somewhere he likes.

Also you can talk to them a lot. Announce when you are moving and when you aren't. They can be a forgetful bunch and just because they saw you 30 seconds ago doesn't mean they aren't going to forget they saw you 30 seconds ago and not be scared as if you suddenly appeared. If you talk to them a lot, especially before you get up he'll be more aware of where you are and what you are doing.

It's been awhile since i had scared mice but i found just constantly talking to them made it seem less likely i was trying to surprise them.



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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by timez on Tue 26 Apr 2016, 7:23 pm

OK thank you for all your answers Smile I feel like i have a good starting point with him now because of you all Smile

And yeah i intend to get him a aquarium I just cant afford one at the moment Sad - the goal is to give him maybe 20 gallons + - so he is happier too - money is a big issue at the moment though.

However - even though some nights he chews the bars quite a lot - he seems to be doing it less and less - sometimes he only bites the bars a few times in a day / night - at first it was 24/7 it seemed like.
so i do think that's reducing.

I will start working more slowly with him and see where we can get to improvement wise

I hate being the source of his fear when in reality i would never do anything to harm him - in fact id do anything to prevent anything hurting him let alone be the one doing it! - but of course he doesn't realise this yet - hopefully he will one day Smile

Thank you again for all your help - feel free to post more obviously - but just wanted you to all know i appreciate it Smile

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by Artistwolf on Tue 26 Apr 2016, 8:43 pm

Are you in the UK? If so, you should take a look at our UK users sticky under the item review section. Your cage might just be okay Smile

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by timez on Tue 26 Apr 2016, 9:01 pm

I do live in the uk yes - Im sure he would be happier in a bigger tank though and i know bar biting is defo not good for his teeth - so the goal has always been a bigger home for him -

also whats the maximum size for a single male? (although I may not move him to a bigger (and different) home until he is calmer as ive heard he will feel safer in a smaller space at first.

I just want to give him the happiest life I can Smile

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by CinnamonPearl on Tue 26 Apr 2016, 10:58 pm

A 10gal tank is the perfect size for a single male. The maximum can be any size you want, but before he's tame, you needn't go larger than a 10.

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by timez on Wed 27 Apr 2016, 4:14 am

wow cant beleve im doing everything right (with loads of research anyway haha) - was going to wait until he was a lot more tamer before moving him (as a move will stress him out i imagine - even to another tank) and all that extra space ive read will make him feel less secure.

also as a side note: I talk to him all the time Smile - just natural to me - and i talk like - well we all know it - animal talking voice - kind and gentle and almost baby talk lol.

I also do try to talk to him when something is going on too - even if i hear a noise outside i think may have startled him (like dogs barking) - im always like - "its ok peanut - good boy - its just dogs barking"

almost trying to replace the scary sound with my gentle talking - dont know if it works or not but hopefully he wont be as scared, also i always tell him what we are doing if moving to the bathtub etc - then its - "come on peanut time to come have a run about" etc lol.

Does any of this feel silly to you? - I think my friends would think ive lost the plot.

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by MouseLover on Wed 27 Apr 2016, 6:18 am

Haha don't worry, I talk to my mice too, especially when I'm getting them out to play. I like to think it's calming for them... whether it actually has an effect, I'm not sure.
Every night when I go to bed, I say something along the lines of: "Goodnight babies, have fun!" Laughing

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by timez on Wed 27 Apr 2016, 9:08 am

Aww! i say goodnight too to him Smile glad to know im not the only one (doubtful i was anyway but you never know sometimes) and when i go out i say - bye Peanut ive gotta go out now - be back soon.

it feels so nice to be able to talk this openly about it all and be around true animal lovers - if someone is this kind and loving to mice - i would imagine are the same sort of people who wouldn't be bad or neglectful of any animal at all - so truly grateful to have found this forum and all of you Smile

also as another side note: I don't know how anyone could be afraid of mice (as generally is the case) - they are the sweetest things I've ever seen nature produce - which was why when i saw him like that in the pet shop i was just "awww" and that same day he came home with me haha (As someone else said to me before im sure most of you know how it is to accidencitly end up with a mouse) Smile

Personally I dont think people are afraid of the actual mice themselves (as much as people might say otherwise - im sure they beleve its of the mice) - I think they are afraid of the myths and untrue stories surrounding mice - im sure I know the answer to this question but...

if anyone found for example wild mice in their house - are we all in agreement we would only use humane / live traps only (eg no harming traps) - no matter how long it took?

whenever anyone I know informs me they think they have wild mice - I ask them to not call pest control - and let me come round to humanly catch them and release them instead.

If anyone says they don't want to do that and use other types of traps - they get a guilt trip usually involving - how would you feel if someone set a hurt trap for your dog or cat if it got into their house - I find that's usually the turning point for most people to change trap types.


(Sorry to get so off topic - I ended up having a bit of a rant about that)

Back to the topic at hand...

Im sure I missed it if someone answered - but i like the bathtub method most for taming - but what do i do now since Peanut doesnt take long to jump the height of the bath and end up jumping off the edge to the floor -

thankfully the first time he did this I had already predicted it was possible and ran a soft sheet rolled up the entire length of the bath on the floor so he has a nice soft landing -

But it still makes taming harder if i ever need to use that method if he wont stay in the bath - what can i do about this?

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Re: Very very scared mouse - I dont know what to do?

Post by Norman's Mom on Wed 27 Apr 2016, 3:39 pm

1.) You can use a huge RUB that has higher sides than the tub.

2.) I read through everything - and one thing stood out, that you didn't know the sex of your critter - Are you sure you have a boy? Sex matters....and it matters in taming too.

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