Mice Jumping

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Mice Jumping

Post by Sparrow on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 3:51 pm

Hi all! So over the past few weeks I've been bombarding this forum with numerous questions and I don't think the list will end soon, so please bear with me! I'm a complete noob to owning mice and still trying to figure my way around their care.

Next week, after weeks of search, I am expecting to buy two more females to introduce to my two girls. After Foxy culled her litter, I introduced her back to her sister Stella. They were happy to be back, absolutely delighted but seemed uneasy in their 650 sq inch cage, so I moved them to an approximately 20 gallon bin cage, they have been there for the past three days and at first seemed fine but since last night that have been starting to act strange.

They are extremely tame, they happily will climb on my hand and up my arm, they ask for attention whenever I enter the room they are in. Before they would just sit in my hand and liked to be gently petted, now they run up my arm and up my back, they jump quite some distance to reach my hand if its not completely in the cage, desperate to go on top of me.

If I leave the lid off while I do other stuff around the room, they have started to try to jump onto the edge of the cage to get out. It's so weird and I'm starting to get really worried.

I would like to figure out what is wrong and if there is anything I can do, especially before I introduce the two new females to the group? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Mice Jumping

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:19 pm

That is certainly strange behavior if they are used to you and tame. I have found that mice will usually "respect the edge" and not jump, unless they feel very scared or threatened, and feel it is their only option.

I know that the breeder I get my show mice from doesn't handle the mice, so when they come home with me they have never really been handled much before, so I have to be extra careful with them. Until they are used to me and I've handled them enough, they WILL jump. In fact, the other day I was holding Sierra, one of my new girls, and she jumped probably 1-2 feet out of my hand. She was fine, though! Crazy little things.

Are you sure they are 100% tame and don't see you as a threat? You do mention them running up your arms though, that would be strange for them to do if they saw you as a threat.

I have a mouse that won't voluntarily go in my hand, but if I do get her in my hand, she will jump off if she's close enough to the ground. If she doesn't think she's close enough to the ground to land softly, she kind of climbs halfway up my arm and clings onto me with her nails. I can feel it too, she has some sharp nails! Perhaps your mice are doing the same thing? If they feel they can't jump, they climb all over you trying to escape?

Not sure, that does sound very odd!

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Re: Mice Jumping

Post by Sparrow on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 5:18 pm


I don't think they see me as a threat. I'm having trouble even just refilling their food bowl or water bottle because both of them shoot up my arm and mostly sit on my shoulder, or climb down my back. If they cant reach my hand because I purposely don't take them out they jump onto my hands from the ground (like if I'm in a rush, but need to refill their water bottle/food bowl). I don't think they are climbing down my back because they are scared, because even when i'm sitting on the ground with them, they don't even bother going past my lap. If anything, they go right back up to my shoulder or arms/hands if they notice they wondered off too low and are too close to the ground. I do have to admit, I was shocked over how sociable mice are, I have had hamsters that enjoyed attention, but never demanded it nearly as much and definitely were not desperate like my girls are for some quality time on a shoulder! Laughing

I'm genuinely really worried about them trying to jump to the edge of the cage when inside their bin cage. It's a similar behavior that hamsters display when they don't have enough space or are bored.

It's very strange because I kept foxy in a 10 gallon tank when she was having her pups and a few days after that too after finding out that the little ones were culled by her. Stella stayed in the Alaska cage (650sq inches) and was acting uneasy, I assumed because she was on her own.

When I introduced the two sisters again and placed them together in the Alaska cage after scrubbing it down beforehand, they started to act frantic. Biting on the bars, hiding if they would hear anything, not eating, if they were not hiding, they would run across the cage completely uninterested in the wide variety of toys given to them and even wouldn't touch their wheel or saucer.

After a few days of this, I brought them to the vet to make sure they are okay... all nice and healthy! So out of desperation, I moved them to a 20 gallon bin cage that they are in now. I've read that sometimes smaller cages work better for mice, so I thought that maybe it would be worth a try. Now with them jumping to try to get out, I'm even more worried.

I'm considering moving them back to the Alaska cage, but I don't want to cause them any more unnecessary stress. It's bad enough that I keep dragging them down to the vet practically on weekly basis over everything that concerns me and changing their cage around. With them being separated recently, it's just one more stressful thing to add to the list!

I feel like I'm at a loss, and failing my darlings. I don't know what to do anymore...


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Re: Mice Jumping

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 5:42 pm

Mice are very different from hamsters. They actually seem to quite enjoy cage setups being changed around, they don't show stress like hamsters with cages being cleaned but show obvious signs of excitement - like sparking and running around - instead. So I definitely don't think you've stressed them out too much from a few cage changes! Every time I would clean my Rocky's cage, he had the most excitement I have ever seen in a mouse - he'd just be sparking around everywhere so happily.

I'm curious, do you have the cage packed full so that there are no wide open spaces? This is why small spaces often work better for mice - large spaces without much cover are scary to them, because they feel as if a predator could come down and grab them any moment. Perhaps they are looking for somewhere to hide?

It could just be that you have really tame mice. I had a mouse that suffered a stroke, and after her stroke her whole personality changed. She would literally beg me to take her out anytime I was in the room. I'd put my hand in the cage and she'd hop right in. She loved to just crawl all over my jeans. I have another mouse that lack of space is obviously no issue for - she lives in a 40 gallon breeder with 2 other mice, and she likes to come up to the top of the cage and climb onto the lid (The lid folds in half, and I open half so she can crawl out onto the other half). They just like to come out and play. Although it is more seen in males that live alone, some mice will beg for your attention and love you very much. They are extremely social animals and might just enjoy your presence.

I doubt that them jumping is due to lack of space. That's not a sign of lack of enrichment/space that I have ever heard of. If your mice are unhappy in their cage, they will sometimes chew on the bars (Though this is not always what chewing on the bars means, sometimes they do it for attention). They will over groom their cagemates out of boredom - you will see bald spots usually on the neck/back area of one mouse or multiple mice (This too, can have another cause, and that is dominance. An overly dominant mouse will sometimes aggressively groom her sisters to show dominance). Then there is chronic scratching/over grooming self/ OCD, this can be caused by boredom, lack of attention, or mites. Mice will overgroom themselves or scratch themselves to the point that they are missing fur or making themselves bleed. Sadly, this can often not be stopped once it has started. If it was caused by mites, treating them for mites may help. If boredom or lack of attention caused it - keeping mice busy and distracted can help them do less damage to themselves/make the effects of it not as bad. Those are the basic signs of boredom in mice - much different than in hamsters.

I don't believe your mice are showing signs of being unsatisfied with space from what I am hearing. Mice are very curious creatures who love to come out and explore, perhaps they just want out-of-cage time?

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Re: Mice Jumping

Post by Sparrow on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 6:19 pm

Could you please have a look and see if there is anything I'm doing wrong in terms of the cage setup? Is there anything I should change? In the pictures you can also see my girls climbing onto my hand and up my arm.











They don't overgroom themselves and don't even show any dominance behavior, they also don't scratch and are mite free (I have a vet check all my mice for mites before just to be sure).  Them jumping is all new behaviour to me, although I haven't had them all that long so I'm not 100% sure, but they never done that before I moved them to the bin cage...

I hope it is just a sign of them wanting more attention from me, although I'm not sure. I do play with them at least two hours a day, often more, and I do keep them out on my desk to wander around when I'm working which is extra out of cage time too. I will try to take them out more, but with a 4 year old child and a whole lot other animals in the house, I'm quite limited to how much more time I can interact with them. Sad

Is there something I might be missing? Also, is there anything I could do before I bring the two other girls home?

When my girls jump to what seems to be an effort to get out, they end up falling all the time and I don't want them to injure themselves...

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Re: Mice Jumping

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 6:36 pm

It looks nice and super packed! I don't see anything wrong with it or missing.

Is it like - they seem desperate to come out and just run straight over to your arm? Or they casually walk up to you and climb up? A video might help if you are able to provide one.

To me - it just looks like they love you a lot. 2 hours is already a lot of out of cage time - I don't think you aren't providing enough playtime already. It sounds like they are some spoiled mousies! Maybe because you take them out so much, they are used to you and see you as someone who takes them out for fun - so knowing that, they run straight to you.

Are they just jumping off the edge of the bin? How far is the fall? That's the weird part of what you are describing to me - because mice are known to really respect the edge, unlike hamsters who will just walk right off with no hesitation. Mice have a very good ability to judge how far a fall is and whether they should jump or not.

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Re: Mice Jumping

Post by Sparrow on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 6:52 pm


I'm so happy to hear that the cage they are in is fine! I really do try to provide them with the best care possible. It's very satisfying to know that I'm doing something right Smile

I'll try to take a video and send it through as soon as I do. Would a youtube link work okay? What they do is stop whatever they are doing and just run up my arm. I do hope that it is just the fact that they are used to being taken out whenever I come around that causes them to be so desperate about climbing up my arm. I guess I'm just not used to my tiny fur babies craving attention this much! Love

They don't jump off the edge of the cage, they just try to jump from the inside of it onto the edge as if they were trying to escape. They never jump so far as to actually reach the edge but they have come pretty close a few times. A few times they walked off my arm onto the edge but never jumped, they sprinted right back onto my arm instead. This might sound silly, but when I'm in the same room as them, I like to take the meshed lid off to have a clear view of them and that's when they jump. They can jump almost the full length, so about 12 inches or so and whenever they jump, they fall. It seems like a high fall, and I don't want them to get hurt since they mainly fall onto their toys... Worry

Edit: Here is the video of them running up my arm:


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Re: Mice Jumping

Post by Squidly on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 3:22 am

Their behavior sounds pretty normal to me, especially when you clarified here ...

@Sparrow wrote:
This might sound silly, but when I'm in the same room as them, I like to take the meshed lid off to have a clear view of them and that's when they jump.


I think their natural curiosity and readiness to play says, "Open cage? Yes please!" If you are super concerned I would stop taking the lid off casually just to have a better view. They will always see it as an invitation to come out, and if your arm isn't provided they'll do it themselves Laughing
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