Mouse death (CW: unpleasant details)

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Post by Squidly on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 7:14 am

Hi friends. I know this is probably normal, but I guess I'm just grieving and want to process. I have 4 females, and one of them was quite old and feeble. I knew she might only have a couple months or weeks left, but she seemed to be getting around just fine.

I did a cage cleaning today and couldn't find her anywhere. I think she must have passed away and the other mice disposed of her remains. I saw that they hadn't touched their food bowl in the last 24 hours, which would normally be very unusual. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I know sometimes mothers will cull babies that die or seem unhealthy, so I'm assuming this is the same instincts at work.

I'm just sad. I was able to bury my last mouse that passed away. But I suppose this is also the beauty of nature and how nothing goes to waste, even in death.

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Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 3:25 pm

I'm so sorry for your loss Sad

I did have this happen a few months ago, but instead of finding nothing what I found was quite disturbing to me. I had a hard time with it for a while but what helped me feel better about it was knowing why they did it. Mice don't know that you are going to take the passed mouse out of the cage for them, so they do the only thing they know how to do to get rid of the mouse, even if it may be disturbing to you. It's all they know to do. In the wild, the smell of that mouse would attract predators to the nest, putting the other, living mice in danger. The good news is, she had very likely already passed away before all this happened, she saw nothing and was in no pain.

Again, I am very sorry for your loss Hug

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Post by BookwyrmDEV on Tue 05 Mar 2019, 9:36 pm

I'm just going to send you a big hug. Reminding yourself of the beauty of nature and nothing wasted does seem to be the truth, and yet, how sad I know I'd be!
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Post by MouseLover on Wed 06 Mar 2019, 9:14 am

I've had similar things happen. To be honest the fact that you couldn't find her is probably better than if you found part of her, which can be really disturbing.

A lot of people wrongly conclude that a mouse being eaten means the mouse was killed by the other mice, but it's usually not the case. It's horrible, but you can tell when a mouse HAS been killed, because it will leave blood in the cage (because their heart is still pumping blood when they've been bitten). If a mouse dies naturally and is then eaten, it's pretty clean because their blood isn't pumping any more. Your mouse likely died peacefully of old age. Afterwards, in an attempt to get rid of her body, they ate her. It sounds so gross, but it's an instinctive thing, because the smell of a decaying body could attract rats or other predators. It's a totally natural thing for them to do.

It's sad that you don't get to bury her, but in a weird way, by nourishing the bodies of her friends, she has become a part of them. If you get to bury the remaining mice, she will be laid to rest with them.

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Post by Squidly on Fri 08 Mar 2019, 12:51 am

Thank you all so much for the reassurance. It sounds like all evidence points to her passing peacefully. Now that I've had a few days to get over the shock, I'm feeling much better. And like MouseLover said, it's like she's part of her friends now continuing the circle of life, and I'm ok with that. Red Heart
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