Nibbling

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Nibbling

Post by Blackcandyapple on Thu 30 Jun 2016, 10:54 pm

So I've noticed when I put my hand in the cage they nibble on my hand, I quickly blow on them to keep it from possibly escalating into biting...anyways I saw on this forum I think that this is undesirable. I think it might be possible that they're doing this because I feed them some thing so maybe they think my hand is food? What should I do? Or maybe they're doing this because I frighten them?

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Re: Nibbling

Post by CinnamonPearl on Thu 30 Jun 2016, 11:07 pm

Have you been hand-feeding them treats at all? If so, don't do it anymore. They'll start to think of your hand as a food dispenser and nibble and bite because they expect food. If you aren't, then yeah, just blow on them to deter it and maybe make squeaks of pain so they realize it hurts when they do that. Mice are naturally curious and chew on things to learn about them. It's just their way of checking you out, but the behavior will fade as they become more tame. All of my girls nibbled the first few days but stopped pretty quickly.

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Re: Nibbling

Post by AnonymousMouseOwner on Thu 30 Jun 2016, 11:59 pm

My Holly did that when I would pick her up, I think she had associated it with ending handling time, because I always put her down as fast as I could when she did that because it surprised me, but now I know I shouldn't have done that. I think it just takes a few training sessions for them to get used to you and not bite/nibble because they don't like being handled. I tried handling her more often and she doesn't nibble me anymore, (She still doesn't want me to pick her up, but at least she doesn't try to nibble me....). With my limited experience, I've found that certain personalities are easier to tame than others. Holly was particularly tough, because it was kind of her personality.

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Re: Nibbling

Post by AnonONIagent on Fri 01 Jul 2016, 12:06 am

My Sally nipped when I first got her. I would just wiggle my finger and firmly say "no", and after a day or two she stopped. I imagine this will work with nibbling as well. Also, if you think they might be doing it because they're scared of your hand, be sure not to pull your hand away. If you do pull away your hand, that tells them that nibbling gets the scary hand to back off, thus reinforcing the behavior.


Last edited by AnonONIagent on Fri 01 Jul 2016, 8:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Nibbling

Post by MouseLover on Fri 01 Jul 2016, 7:52 am

I think if it's gentle nibbling, it's more of a "testing" thing. They're not quite sure what to make of your hand and try nibbling it to find out what it is. As others have said, it'll stop as they become tame. Although mine still like chewing fingernails for some reason so I try and keep them short haha.

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Re: Nibbling

Post by Bthny on Fri 01 Jul 2016, 11:31 am

How long have you had them? All of my mice nibbled on my hands when I first got them, but I usually pulled my hand away for a few seconds, and they all learned to stop pretty quickly. I've done some animal training for other species, so I prefer to remove my hand, wait 3-5 seconds, and then give it back. My mice have all learned pretty quickly that nibbling and biting makes me go away, so they interact with me without it. I personally wouldn't blow on them to get them to stop. Although it's a really minor "punishment" and doesn't hurt them at all, it's still punishment based training, and I would be nervous about the mice associating you with something they don't like, which could affect your relationship with them. While it might not have any effect on most animals, a very small number respond very poorly to it. To be clear, this is me talking from experience in animal training, but I found it to work really well with my mice.

I don't think they're doing it because they're scared. Mice are prey animals, so their first response when scared is to run, so unless you're cornering them and they then bite, I don't think that's the case.

I know a lot of people prefer not to hand feed to prevent biting. I'm not one of them. I don't hand feed my mice every time I interact with them, and I wash my hands in between hand feeding and playtime. Mice are smart, and they'll learn that food means food (or training, in my case), and just a hand means playtime. It might take them a little time to figure it out, but they can get there and still not be nibblers or biters.
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Re: Nibbling

Post by CinnamonPearl on Fri 01 Jul 2016, 11:33 am

Hand feeding is perfectly fine to do once mice are tame. I do it with my girls all the time. It's just not good with new or untame mice.

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Re: Nibbling

Post by DVirginiana on Mon 04 Jul 2016, 4:58 am

My first mouse was a really outgoing alpha male type, and he was always way more focused on smells than my current guy, so he was bad to want to nip if I didn't smell 'right' (always wore a jacket he had scent marked to handle him). Agent Bauer stopped nipping once he got used to me.
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Re: Nibbling

Post by Rodents rock! on Mon 04 Jul 2016, 8:40 am

What about wearing some sort of gloves till a mouse gets used to you?
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Re: Nibbling

Post by scaredymouse on Mon 04 Jul 2016, 10:16 am

I wouldn't recommend gloves unless the mouse is actually biting. The problem with gloves is they are still going to have to get used to skin... so it sort of prolongs the problem. However, gloves are great with biters though because biters are doing it to make a statement and if they see that it doesn't hurt you, they stop, with or without gloves.

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Re: Nibbling

Post by Rodents rock! on Mon 04 Jul 2016, 10:23 am

@scaredymouse wrote:I wouldn't recommend gloves unless the mouse is actually biting.  The problem with gloves is they are still going to have to get used to skin... so it sort of prolongs the problem.  However, gloves are great with biters though because biters are doing it to make a statement and if they see that it doesn't hurt you, they stop, with or without gloves.

Thank you for the info Smile
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Re: Nibbling

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