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Grieving Mouse

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Grieving Mouse Empty Grieving Mouse

Post by Xellie Sat 07 Mar 2020, 7:06 pm

Hi! First I want to say I'm new to keeping mice. I got a pair of boys (I know, it's a bad idea) that were given to me as a rescue because I keep all sorts of rodents, but never had mice before. I watched the boys for any signs of fighting and squabbling, but I saw nothing. One of them seemed kind of deformed (strange body shape, extremely tiny eyes) but active. He died suddenly yesterday, I saw no injuries on him.

Now his brother is hiding and extremely subdued. He's just hiding in his nest, letting me pick him up and just sitting on my hand. He won't eat no matter what yummy treats I offer him. I've taken him out and moved him to see if he's more interested in his food bowl, but he just slowly makes his way back to bed.

Is this normal? I'm used to seeing it in other species, although not quite to this extent. (I keep gerbils mainly)
Is there anything I can do to ease his pain? Is there a point where I need to step in and take some action?
Is there any kind of treat he might find irresistible?

Any advice is appreciated! Thank you <3

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Grieving Mouse Empty Re: Grieving Mouse

Post by Honey102019 Thu 16 Apr 2020, 3:07 am

Hi there.

I'm so sorry for your loss and I'm sorry your little guy has to go through this.

Do you have any idea how old there are? It could be they are very young. Most boys can stay with each other until 8 weeks old in my experience. They start fighting at that point it escalates until about 12 weeks when it's crucial to their safety to separate them. Again, this is my experience.

I have two concerns for the lone mouse right now. First, if the other mouse died of a respiratory infection, his cage mate may also have one. Second, when mice grieve, they are more susceptible to illnesses like colds that can turn into upper respiratory infections.

I would take him to a vet to be examined. If nothing is wrong, you have peace of mind. If something is wrong, the sooner your catch health problems in mice the better. You can't really do a "wait and see" approach with mice.

Mice are prey animals and are very good at hiding an illness. They do not want to look like an easy kill to predators. However, that also means you won't know they are sick until they are very sick.

If you are not ready to take him in, at least find an ER vet that is open after normal business hours just in case you need to take him right away. If they are not a 24/7 emergency vet, note their hours, so you know what your cut off is. I would also go one step further and call to make sure they are still operating within those hours during the quarantine and also verify they treat mice.

If you are new to mice, know that they are very emotional animals. They love their family and friends. Mice grieve differently from one mouse to another. It's not always the same just like with humans. Obviously, he is really taking this hard so I would spend as much time with him as possible.

I wouldn't force him out of his hide. What I mean is to keep him company. Move his habitat into the room you spend most of your time in. Read or talk to him. Let him get used to your voice. Put something you've worn on your wrist for a day or two in his habitat. He will get used to your scent that way.

When he comes out of his hide, try to work on hand taming with him. But don't push him. Be extremely patient. Use the packet from this site to get started...

Handling and Taming

Hand taming will help you build trust with him. You can't bond with him until that trust is established. Once you bond, he will be your best buddy. Males become very close with their human companions. You can read more about male behavior in this packet...

Let's Hear it for the Boys

As far as treats go, my mice love Cheerios and Rice Krispies. Sometimes, I give them chocolate Teddy Grahams (flavored with cocoa, not chocolate) or Barnum's/Aldi Animal crackers. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, cooked sweet corn (a few kernels) or peas also go over well. Kale, broccoli, and blueberries (raw or lightly steamed) are also favorites.

There are two other options if he does not improve or he is having difficulty bonding with you. It's very rare for a lone male not to bond with his human companion.
But just in case, know that neutering and housing with female fancy mice is one option. Housing him with a female African Soft Fur rat is another. Both require extensive research.

Neutering requires anesthesia which is very tricky for mice. Some don't come out of it. Others have complications after surgery. However, most people using an experienced vet (with mice) have a positive outcome.

There is also the cost to consider. You'd have to call exotic vets or pocket pet vets in your area to determine a fair price. I would call around until you find 3 vets who have completed the surgery on mice before and compare their pricing. The packet above will explain the pros and cons of neutering.

African Soft Fur rats aren't really a rat. They are more like a mouse but not a mouse either. They cannot produce offspring with fancy mice. But they can live happily with fancy mice. Females can live with males or females. But males can only live with female fancy mice.

ASFs as they are commonly called are mostly bred as feeders. There are a few breeders near me in Illinois that breed them as pets. I personally have researched and considered it several times. However, I don't have the capacity should a pairing not go well right now. But as soon as I do, I intend to adopt a few.

The one risk you take with ASFs is they can be mean and bite and they may also hurt your mice. Keep in mind, the ones bred as feeders are bred to fight for their lives.

If you do consider this as an option, make sure you visit a breeder and handle them. Get to know the breeder's stock. Make sure you handle full grown adult females and not just younger ones. Sometimes, they can grow meaner as they grow older. If you do not like the temperament, find another breeder.

A breeder raising them as pets will usually keep them with fancy mice once they've grown to make sure they coexist well together. If your breeder does not do this, consider another breeder.

There are a few threads on here that discuss African Soft Furs. This one may help you decide if it is right for you...

African Soft Fur discussion

That's about all I have. Hopefully, he'll come around and you won't need to consider these other options. But I believe it's always best to know all your options when it comes to the welfare of my mice.

I hope this helps and I hope he comes around soon.
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