Shy mouse?

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Shy mouse?

Post by maizazia on Tue 27 Nov 2018, 6:06 pm

First, a bit of background. About a year ago, my roommate got a female mouse (named Kya) as a third to add to a group of two female mice. He ended up not really liking her, and didn't give Kya much attention compared to the other two. (He said that she bit him and was not as hygienic as the other 2 girls.) Though she was shy, when I interacted with her she didn't bite, she just nibbled sometimes and I think that is because she was not comfortable. Anyway, after several months, my friends' other two mice got sick and died within a few weeks of each other, and Kya was left alone. I ended up adopting her from him since he didn't really want/care about her. She is a sweet little thing, but I am having trouble socializing her. For a few months I had her alone. She was super shy at first, but I have slowly gotten her to warm up to me (and she stopped nibbling early on too) and just recently introduced 2 new female mice to keep her company and hopefully help her feel better as she seemed very depressed. (The introduction went well!)
The problem is, even though she seems comfortable enough with me around and taking food from my hands, I have never been able to get her to consistently step all the way on my hand. It's been this way for a couple months now. She is comfortable reaching for food on my hand and taking it, and will come up to the cage door when she sees me walk in. I have slowly been trying to move the food ever so slightly further back on my hand so that if she wants it, she needs to step all the way on my hand. When I do this, she walks around my hand and tries to reach it while keeping her rear paws on the ground, but when she realizes she will have to step all the way onto me to get to it, she leaves and goes back to doing other things in the cage until she gets interested again. (note, if I have her out to clean the cage, she will sometimes climb on my hands, but she won't do it from the cage.)
How can I get her comfortable stepping all the way on my hand from the cage if she won't try it? I have been using millet seeds so she is encouraged to keep coming back to get more, and have been interacting daily. I want to be able to get her out of the cage more often so she can play and so I can do health checks. All the research I've done seems to suggest that getting mice comfortable being handled may take a few weeks but not months like this. Help please!!

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Re: Shy mouse?

Post by MerciToujoursMaPetiteBoop on Tue 27 Nov 2018, 7:12 pm

Maybe that's all you are going to get from Kya.

Or maybe food just isn't the motivation she needs to put four paws of trust in your hand. Is there any other reason (other than food) for her to climb on your hand? That may be what she needs. If something fun or interesting happens while you are holding her, or carrying her around elsewhere on your person, she may be more willing to use climbing on your hand as the route to funland.

Little April was with me for 22½ months and rarely ventured more than three paws on my hand. I just accepted that. She probably could tell I am a clumsy oaf (why do I have a scab in the top middle of my forehead since last week???), but she would confirm that we were bestest friends by giving me two or three paws, sometimes for a very long time. Three was all, though. I had to give her an alternative in order for her to climb on board.

One way was to offer her the sleeve tunnel. For almost all of the time April was with me, I'd wear a long-sleeved lightweight cotton tee as an under-layer. If I noticed she was out and about in her mousehouse, and I was not going to be doing anything that would present a danger to her, I'd offer her a sleeve cuff, and if she wanted to come on board she'd run up the inside of the sleeve. Sometimes she would turn around and watch the world from the inside of the cuff; sometimes she would climb around inside the under-layer until she found her favorite sleeping spot or until she popped out the neckhole and could ride a shoulder -- or sometimes she would just climb around in there like it was her own private playground.

Also, April learned how to "ride the elevator". I frequently put a yogurt cup, lying on its side, in the mousehouse for April to sleep in. (She often slept al fresco like that.) Sometimes I would pick up the cup with her inside, and she'd get to go for a little ride somewhere. So that little smartie figured out that if she wanted to come out of her mousehouse, she could go stand inside her yogurt cup and look up at me with her "pick me up?" expression, and I would pick her up for a little ride. Sometimes she wanted to come out to sleep or climb around in my shirt, sometimes to go exploring with me (also known as "walking around the office"), sometimes to check out what I was eating, ... whatever.

So be happy with what you have achieved with Kya, and keep trying new things.

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Re: Shy mouse?

Post by maizazia on Wed 28 Nov 2018, 2:20 am

Thank you! I will keep trying new things like you said! I hope she gets more comfortable. If not, I'll be happy as long as she is happy and healthy. At least now she has the other girls to play with!

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Re: Shy mouse?

Post by Sparrow on Wed 28 Nov 2018, 6:21 am

My two original girls were very shy when I first got them. They would hide even if I would go into the same room as them. What I did was sit next to their cage and put my hand inside, sleeve covering most of my hand. They used that as an invitation to get out of the cage, without having to touch my hand directly, because apparently fabric isn't as scary Wink If they would get as far as the length of the elbow, I would pull my hand out of the cage completely and sit on the couch with them or in the bathtub. They usually would love to just ride on my shoulder. Doing this kind of forced them out of their comfort zone and made them interact with me.

After a few weeks, they would literally leap into my hand, stop whatever they are doing and run up to get onto my shoulder. They did that so much tat I had to dedicate two hours a day to play with them and if I come into the room, they will seek attention.

I did the same with my new three girls that I introduced to the original two, I didn't get a chance to tame them nearly as much as my first two girls, since if I just try to do the same method, Stella and Foxy would be the first ones on top of me and not even give the new trio a chance to interact with me.

Maybe try using your sleeve? Or else try bathtub bonding... I don't know many more methods, all I know is from what worked for my girls and they appeared to be almost impossible to tame at the beginning (oh boy was I wrong...)

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