nippy boys

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nippy boys

Post by boofandkara on Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:47 pm

hi hi,

so some of you may have read my intro, i've adopted two males, who live separately. one was surrendered to a pet shop at 1 month old after only having been in a home for 3 days, and went on to live in the pet shop for 3 months before i scooped him up (Boofaloo). the other was intended to be a feeder and was 'rescued' by the shop owner to be a pet (Karamakete). I have had them for six days. they've been on and off friendly with my interactions - for the first days, they'd check out my hand, and Karamakete even came on it a couple times and then once climbed up into my hair and peed all over me. he spent a lot of time sniffing my face and tickling my ears until I couldn't take it anymore. but then my boyfriend put his hand in Karamakete's tank, just letting it rest there, and Karamakete ran over and bit him (it bled). Boofaloo will quite often stand up on his house and sniff at me and I'll put my hand in and let it lie there and he'll come over and smell it and put his little paws on me and then - bite me! at first he was just a little nippy and I almost wondered if he smelled food on me or if he was recreating a baby thing, cause he'd nip me on the tip of my finger. so I left the boys alone for three days. no real contact, just food and water, talking to them (as always), spending time near their tanks. today I took them to see a mouse lady to check them out and make sure they aren't ill. Karamakete was very afraid and skiddish, whereas Boofaloo climbed all over this lady for a while, and then even explored me a bit. When we got home, I thought maybe our relationship had shifted so I put my hand in Boofaloo's cage (just letting it rest there, real gentle) and Boofaloo actually came over, lunged like a dog, and bit me hard. I pulled my hand back immediately, but then put it back in, and he bit me again (this time he came over and put his paws on me like he'd crawl on but then bit me). this evening I gave him a treat and he climbed up as high as he could and stood up, sniffing me, so i put my hand near his feet, and he leaned down, rested his little paws on me, and bit me. what is happening! what do i do with these boys! i know everyone says time. i suppose i'm just worried if i leave them alone too long they will get nippier and nippier.

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Re: nippy boys

Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:18 pm

You haven't been hand feeding them, I assume? I don't think you have, but just in case, make sure you aren't, especially with untame mice. This'll make them see you as a food dispenser, and they'll bite because they expect food whenever they see your hand. If that's not it, start wearing gardening gloves while handling them so they can learn their bites won't affect you, and get them out for some bathtub taming sessions. You could even blow on them a little to deter them whenever they bite. Mice hate being blowed on, so it's good to get them to stop doing things. I'll sometimes blow on Little Cow and Rosie when they try to steal my food (not that it works very well once food's involved Laughing).

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Re: nippy boys

Post by boofandkara on Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:21 pm

that is such a great idea! i was trying to figure out how to 'reprimand' them. i haven't heard of bathtub taming sessions. is there a resource you can point me to? i was attempting to hand feed them for a bit, some other sites really recommended that for taming, but i stopped for exactly that reason. they both have red eyes, which, i don't know, leads me to believe that they are hard of seeing and at first i thought they were biting me out of confusion. but it kind of seems deliberate now.

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Re: nippy boys

Post by CinnamonPearl on Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:34 pm

Red eyes don't mean their vision is any worse, but mice in general have very poor eyesight. They rely mostly on hearing and smell.

Bathtub taming sessions are the best way to tame up mice. All you have to do is put down a blanket or a towel in your bathtub, plug the drain, go grab one of your boys, sit yourself down in the tub, and let your boy run around the tub and climb all over you. They work like a charm for getting mice used to you, and they're actually really fun. ^.^ Keep them out for a half hour at a time, a couple of times a day (or as many as your schedule allows), and they should tame up soon. Not sure if we have any TFM articles on it, but if you check the mouse information sections, there should be a couple articles on taming somewhere there. Hang on, I'll go get a link for you.

EDIT: Here we go! This should help: http://petmousefanciers.forumotion.com/t8-handling-taming-mice

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Re: nippy boys

Post by Brynne on Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:57 pm

Biting you in his cage is simple territorial aggression. You'll need to take the mouse out of his home and work on taming him in neutral territory. Since your hand is a target, transport him by shooing him into a box.

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Re: nippy boys

Post by Peachy on Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:12 pm

Oh no! I went through this with one of my boys a few months ago. He was always a little territorial and nippy INSIDE his cage, but seemingly out of nowhere it got much, much worse. During playtime he would actually chase my hand to bite! Very deliberate. I handed Yoshi over to my fiance for a couple weeks, and when I took over again, he was somehow good as new and hasn't bit me since. Maybe he missed me? lol

I've had girls who liked to nip at home but behaved when they were out, but if he bites you no matter where he is, I second the gloves. They'll help you keep your confidence and protect your fingers at the same time. If your boys are as stubborn as Yoshi was, they'll spend a few days squinting their eyes and biting through the blowing, but they'll learn. Smile

Hope they'll calm down for you soon!!!

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Re: nippy boys

Post by Soren on Sun May 08, 2016 9:06 pm

i had a mouse like that. I bought a cute little PEW from petco. She was really skittish though. And strangely, it was like she never grew out of the hopper stage. She would randomly spaz out in her cage for seemingly no reason. She would bite me the moment i put my hand the the cage. The attempts tame her did not work. She bit me outside the cage, during taming sessions (i let her roam around a table with my arms on the table). She would deliberately find me, and bite me. I was afraid to feed her and change the water, because i knew she would attack my hand. After 25 days of no luck, i brought her back to petco.

I've had bad luck with petco mice. Two of my mice died, one was constant biter, and one was okay.....
I was about to give up on mice altogether, i thought i was an awful mouse mom, when i found a small pet shop that had fancy mice. These mice had much better personalities and were not sickly. And none of the mice i brought home from there had health problems or biting problems.

Where did you adopt your mouse? How the mice are cared for and brought up before you get them plays a big part in their personality.

I hope your attempts have a better story ending than my PEW did. Giving up on a mouse with problems is not a good thing to do. But think of your self as well. Being a mouse mom requires dedication, but should also be fun and rewarding.
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Re: nippy boys

Post by scaredymouse on Mon May 09, 2016 12:53 am

Well, first of all, six days is nothing. It takes mice at least two weeks to settle into a new home. Washing your hands with unscented soap is a must, to make sure you don't smell like food or the other male mouse. Mice bite for all kinds of reasons, they associate you with food, they are being territorial, they might just be investigating, or they could simply be a brat.

I've worked with a lot of animals with behavioral problems/some biters and have always been able to work it out. My best advice is to get a pair of gloves, scoop that mouse up, take him to a neutral area, and show him who's boss. They are plenty smart. When he bites the glove and sees that he doesn't get his way anymore, he will stop trying. Also, like Abeona said, it will help your confidence. They know when you are scared and are smart enough to exploit it. Gosh, they are so smart.

You can break them of this habit. Six day is not enough at all, though. Don't be discouraged. Get some gloves and let the little guy go to town.

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Re: nippy boys

Post by boofandkara on Mon May 09, 2016 4:04 pm

Yeah it's been a few weeks now, and the one who i did not expect to tame up has to the point of seemingly liking being picked up, but not being handled. He wants to see everything in the house except me, which is a little insulting. As soon as we are in the tub, he's off me, as soon as we are on the bed (i have an old blanket i spread over the bed and let him explore), he's trying to figure out how to jump off. He hasn't bit me in a while - at first, blowing on him gently worked, but now I think he's even learned "don't bite me" because if he's sniffing at me in a suspicious way, I'll say 'dont bite me' and he'll immediately stop. The other mouse, the white feeder one, is definitely more skittish than even when I got him, which I don't know why. I haven't spent as much time with him because he does still bite, and hard at times. The blowing works for a moment but sometimes he'll come back to bite again. He's more interested in me during tub time, but tends to pee on me a lot so honestly between that and the biting, I have to convince myself to get him out (and set aside time afterwards to change, shower, do laundry, etc.). But they are coming along. I have faith. I should find some gloves.

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Re: nippy boys

Post by CinnamonPearl on Mon May 09, 2016 4:09 pm

If your white boy is still biting, devoting less time to him will only have the opposite effect of what you want. He might not be there yet, but the perfect, loving pet you've always wanted could be hiding under that scared mouse you see. All you have to do is give him the time of day.

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Re: nippy boys

Post by Upendiparrot on Mon May 09, 2016 10:34 pm

Hmm... everyone has listed the basics. Remember, just blow on their backs and that's enough. Mice hate blowing. They're pretty smart, so sooner or later, they'll figure it out. Boys can be super affectionate once they warm up to you Smile good luck!
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Re: nippy boys

Post by peas on Sat May 14, 2016 12:28 am



My bitey fools changed pretty quick. One day they were biting monsters and suddenly they were super affectionate "would never bite you" types. Not sure what changes in their mind but i have found that gently petting their muzzle and behind the ears does the trick.

It might help to pet them when they are eating a treat. Some mice will just run to somewhere thinking you are trying to steal their treat, but some will just enjoy a gentle petting while they munch away. If they are the running type, then don't bother them when they eat.

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Re: nippy boys

Post by boofandkara on Sat May 14, 2016 9:28 pm

yes they definitely don't want to be pet just yet they freak the fudge out when i try to pet them!

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Re: nippy boys

Post by Teramis on Sun May 15, 2016 5:54 am

Regarding the getting peed on problem - I used to have a boy who did that with me. Here's what I did to deal with it: I would take him out for tub time, put a towel on my lap, and basically just keep him in my lap area. I'd block him off with my hands and arms if he tried to go off the towel/lap area. So his playground was much more limited, and I didn't even let him run up my arms more than just a little (on my forearms). It kept him contained, and if he whizzed it was on the towel, not me, so no need for shower and clothes change afterwards.  He got used to my limbs and hands being in his way constantly (ie forming the 'walls' of his exploration space) and so he became accustomed to my presence and touch over time. Eventually he became less territorial with the whizz-marking, and I could let him wander more freely without incident.

I've also found it helpful to let a mouse test-bite me (not the vicious scared chomps that draw blood, but those that range from gentle to hard nips. If hard, I brace myself for it first, of course) - and when the nip lands (no matter how hard or soft), I squeak like another mouse, and move my finger a little in reflex. Not a lot - I don't jerk back - but the squeak sounds like a distressed mouse, and the movement associates the sound with what my mouse just nailed. Eventually they figure out that hand-thing they are biting is actually attached to *you*, and that you are hurt when they bite it.  

For some meeple it takes just a few squeaks to break them of the biting habit this way. For some others I'll weather a few nips in a row before they give up on any particular hand-visit occasion. I haven't yet had one who does it persistently if I keep my hand still and in the same place, and just do the squeak and twitch thing when they nip. I would recommend doing this without a glove on, so they associate you as the thing they are biting. This assumes you can tolerate a hard nip or three - ie something less fierce than blood-drawing. I find they bite less and less harshly as they figure out you're safe and don't need to be driven off. Though right now I have one girl who always, always gives me a test-nip (gentle pinch), even when I offer her treats. It seems to be her way of asserting her authority as Guard Mouse of the colony, before she allows me into their space.

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Re: nippy boys

Post by MouseLover on Sun May 15, 2016 6:44 am

Regarding peeing and pooping on you -

This is just an observation I've had personally: Untame mice seem to pee and poop on me way more than mice that are tame and used to you. When my mice become very tame, they practically never pee or poop on me. I've come to the conclusion that they are more likely to pee/poop if they are nervous, so you may find that this reduces a lot once your boys get used to you.

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