Territorial issues

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Territorial issues

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:55 am

Scout just drew blood from me today, that's the first time a mouse has ever bit me that hard. He was in the play bin and I had just finished cleaning his tank. I set my hand in the cage and he tail rattled at me. I took my hand away, and he ran around the bin a bit. I put my hand back in, and he ran up and bit me as hard as he could. Apparently the play bin is his territory now too?!?! He's just so territorial. Everything is his. When he's in my hand though, he's the sweetest little mouse and doesn't bite, it's only when he's in his tank or in the play bin. I have tried gently blowing on him when he bites, and he knows it means no-no, I can tell he doesn't like it. Is there anything else I can do to make him not so territorial?

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Re: Territorial issues

Post by peas on Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:27 am


How long have you had him?

Sometimes talking to them more often and getting them ready for you to enter their territory by making sure they see you coming can help.

The few mice i've had that were little meanies grew out of it the more i handled them and the more used to me they got.

I had one mouse that used to chase me around biting in the beginning. He'd run around with his mouth open snapping like a monster, eventually he just stopped.

My girl Thutty, who bit me quite a few times in the early goings, still didn't like me in her tank even after a few months. When i'd spot clean and move stuff around she'd run at my hand, didn't bite me anymore though like in the first months but she'd still run at my hand and push it with her front paws. Scooping her up was not an issue, but moving her stuff around annoyed her.


All my bitey mice just sort of got used to me.

In the meantime i would just use toilet paper tubes or hammocks to move him around until the tail-rattling stops.


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Re: Territorial issues

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:37 am

I got him in August. He's been a tail rattler since the beginning and it hasn't stopped. His tank smells so much worse than my other mouse tanks, so I know he marks his territory a lot. I already take him out in toilet paper tubes, or something of the sort, because he won't voluntarily climb in my hand. I handle him a lot, and he's very comfortable in my hand, enjoys being petted, etc., but he still tail rattles, nips, and bites when my hand is in what he considers "his territory".

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Re: Territorial issues

Post by Peachy on Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:34 am

How big is his cage?

My Yoshi has his little territorial monster moments. Love He used to bite me everywhere, though. He'd chase my hands to bite me while he was out on my lap (like he'd pop out of my sleeve and bite my thumb since it was in his way) and then go home and charge at my fingers while I was checking his water/filling his food dish/closing his door. The only thing that really helped long term (he stopped for a while after I handed him off to my husband to work with) was putting him in a cage. Then he can come to the door and climb out if he wants to, otherwise I can take his cage apart quick and easy to do what I need to. With more open space (no walls! lol) it kind of takes away his territory. And you can pull away faster without banging your hand on stuff. Giggling

If he bites during playtime, blow at him, tell him no, and put him back home without any fuss or treats. You have to make sure that you make it clear that biting isn't acceptable... my Yoshi doesn't care if you blow at him. He squints his eyes and bites again. lol
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Re: Territorial issues

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:50 am

I believe it's a 20 gallon (tall?). My dad gave it to me and helped me make the lid, he told me it was a 20 gallon but I'm not certain on that. Definitely quite a bit above the minimum, though. I get a lot of complaints about smell with the tank, and I've tried everything, I'm concerned about it being even worse If I use a cage.  I can't get anymore bucks after my current boys are gone, because of smell Sad Also, are cages hard to decorate? Can you like lift them off the base or something or does everything have to fit through the tiny door? Silly question, sorry, but I haven't ever used cages for the mice before.

Yeah, after he bit me I held my finger tight so it wouldn't bleed much, blew on him to make sure he knew it was bad, then closed the play bin and quickly ran to get a band-aid, lol. It bled for over a minute, it was a really bad one right on the tip of my finger (He had to bite me in just the right place Rolling Eyes ).

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Re: Territorial issues

Post by Peachy on Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:01 am

Maybe try him out in a 10 gallon. He might mark less too... 20 gallons might just be too much for him to protect!

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Re: Territorial issues

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:04 am

@Peachy wrote:Maybe try him out in a 10 gallon. He might mark less too... 20 gallons might just be too much for him to protect!
Actually, he was in a 10 gallon for several months, he moved just last month. Nothing has worsened nor improved. Pardon

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Re: Territorial issues

Post by Peachy on Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:10 am

I actually think that more ventilation helps with smell a lot, but I know others say a cage smells worse because there's no walls to contain it. I guess it depends on your mouse and the room. I don't think decorating a cage is much harder than decorating a tank either, and connecting with your mouse is a lot easier. The cage part usually fits into the base and then snaps on to secure, so lifting it off and on is pretty simple.

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Re: Territorial issues

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:23 am

Hmm, I'll have to try a cage. Do you have any suggestions of good tall cages for $25-$35? It's ok if it goes a little over my price limit, I just don't want to buy a giant $100 cage from the UK or something Laughing . And if the cage doesn't work out, I'll always have the tank to switch back to Smile It could be a few months before I get one, so there is plenty of time to look around for the right cage. The bar spacing would have to be pretty good, because I have a fear of someone escaping (I check each tank twice to make sure they are closed before leaving the room. I think I have a problem lol.). And It'd need to fit a hide, a few MES, a 7 inch mesh wheel, a hammock, water bottle, and food dish.  Also, does it get very messy with them throwing bedding out? Could you wrap the lower part of the cage with paper, fleece, felt, or something else?

Edit: Wait, I just read over the cons on the "Proper Housing" section, and I'd be really worried about wild mice slipping in, and him biting the bars. I just don't know... I feel a lot more comfortable with a tank..

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Re: Territorial issues

Post by peas on Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:05 pm


I don't see what trying a cage will accomplish.

Is your bedroom window open a tiny bit? That often can help with air flow. You would be amazed at how less stinky a room can be if the window stays open a crack.


August is a fair amount of time for a mouse to get used to things. I did have girls that took almost a year to really warm up to me hahaha but they were the exception!

Does he have lots of toys? How often do you re-arrange his area?

I change my mouse tank layout, (just moving things around) every 2 days. I feel it always keeps things fresh for them. That could help. When my mouse wakes up, she's never sure what her little world is going to look like, so she's got to do a bit of exploring.

I am not really sure what else you could try.




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Re: Territorial issues

Post by Peachy on Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:19 pm

Um. Trying a cage would accomplish what I said it would accomplish:
1) Make your territorial mouse more accessible so your hands aren't in some corner waiting to get bit, and
2) Respecting your mouse and his space, so he doesn't feel like he has to protect it from you.

Some things work for some mice better than others, a cage is what worked for me and my mouse after trying out several ideas. I know for sure that going in and rearranging all of Yoshi's stuff every two days wouldn't be helpful with his territorial behavior.


I hope you find something that works with Scout, AMO. Smile


Last edited by Peachy on Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Territorial issues

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:24 pm

@peas wrote:
I don't see what trying a cage will accomplish.

Is your bedroom window open a tiny bit?  That often can help with air flow.  You would be amazed at how less stinky a room can be if the window stays open a crack.  


August is a fair amount of time for a mouse to get used to things.   I did have girls that took almost a year to really warm up to me hahaha but they were the exception!

Does he have lots of toys?  How often do you re-arrange his area?  

I change my mouse tank layout, (just moving things around) every 2 days.   I feel it always keeps things fresh for them.    That could help.   When my mouse wakes up, she's never sure what her little world is going to look like, so she's got to do a bit of exploring.

I am not really sure what else you could try.  




The window is cracked open with a fan pulling the air out of the room and blowing it outside. It does help a lot, but the other people in my house still notice it. Honestly, I myself don't smell it unless I'm within a foot of the tank. I just rearrange it every week with the cage cleaning, how would rearranging help with territorial issues, though? His tank is packed full with as much toys as I can put in it, and it's very tall, he has ladders and hammocks hanging from the lid.

@Peachy wrote:Um. Trying a cage would accomplish what I said it would accomplish:
1) Make your territorial mouse more accessible so your hands aren't in some corner waiting to get bit, and
2) Respecting your mouse and his space, so he doesn't feel like he has to protect it from you.

Some things work for some mice better than others, a cage is what worked for me and my mouse after trying out several ideas. I know for sure that going in and rearranging all of Yoshi's stuff every two days wouldn't be helpful with his territorial behavior.


I hope you find something that works with Scout, AMO. Smile
Thank you, Peachy!

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Re: Territorial issues

Post by CinnamonPearl on Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:01 am

With biters, wear gloves when you handle them so they learn that biting accomplishes nothing and you don't waver in your confidence. Then you wanna blow on them hard when they bite. That's about all you can do! I don't usually treat shy mice very differently from ordinary mice. They have to learn that my normal behavior is, well, normal, and once they do they come around. I only start really getting into taming if they very much do not like me and they want absolutely nothing to do with me, like my Gracey. Once a mouse starts to show interest in befriending me, I treat them as normal and let them adjust to what I'm doing as fast as they please.

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