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Cannibalism?!

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Cannibalism?! Empty Cannibalism?!

Post by Oreoandfriends on Sun 19 Jul 2020, 12:22 am

To say the least, I’m absolutely horrified.

I had a pair of older female mice, they were approaching 2 years so I thought it was about time to introduce them to some more mice to make it easier when one passes (these girls were extremely close and did everything together).
I found an amazing fancy mouse breeder near me and delightfully brought home 2 female baby mice.

I started off introductions and it went smoothly. They met a few times in a playpen, I swapped some used bedding from each cage so they could share scents, and I decided that it’s a good time to move them into a neutral cage.

I watched them closely for almost the whole night that I introduced them. There was only 1 troublemaker that night which was one of my older ladies, she eventually calmed down and in the morning they were all cuddled together in the same hide. I was so happy!

I continued to watch them closely for the next few days in their almost bare 20 gallon meeting tank and there were no fights or arguments so I decided to move them into their permanent 200 quart bin.

I moved them in almost 2 weeks ago and I hadn’t heard a single fight from that cage. I’m in my room quite a bit and I usually wake up if they make loud squeaks, I thought I’d done a perfect job at introductions, until about 2 days ago.

2 nights ago, I hadn’t seen my 2 older ladies but I didn’t think much of it. The babies were running around like usual and I just assumed they were asleep. Last night, I didn’t see them again. I started to get suspicious because they’re almost always out at that time, I was convinced I was just overthinking it and went to sleep. This morning, I decided to investigate just to make sure my mice were okay.

Like usual, the babies were up and running around but still no sign of the other 2. I didn’t smell any dead mice so I was confident I would find them after some digging!

Well, my heart dropped when all I found buried in their hide was a strip of ripped fur. There wasn’t any blood I could see, not anything. Just fur.

After some more searching, I found a wad of fur in one of their close ended hides and the worst part, about half of a chewed on tail. I was simply in shock.

I’m really distraught about this and I have no idea what to do. I’ll explain my confusion:
First of all, I didn’t hear a peep from that cage when I was awake. I suppose it’s possible I slept through it but I feel like a lot of noise would have been made.
Secondly, the 2 old ladies weren’t in great condition but they’re both bigger than the babies, one of them was extremely big compared to most mice.
Finally, how can 2 young mice not only kill, but almost completely devour 2 larger mice? How do the baby mice not even have a single bite mark on them??

I don’t really know what to do. I feel like this is my fault even though I had no way of knowing. I’m so devastated, my 2 older ladies were very special to me and it makes me tear up thinking of them die in such horrible circumstances. I should have been there to save them, but I wasn’t. Any ideas are appropriate on how/why this happened.
Thanks xx
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Post by Peachy on Sun 19 Jul 2020, 2:27 pm

I’m sorry you had to witness this. Unfortunately I've seen it happen a few times with my mice. What likely happened was that your ladies passed and the young ones cleaned up. It’s just an instinctual behavior to prevent bad stuff like predators and disease spread... nothing malicious on the mouse’s part. If you had a dead body in your bedroom you’d try to find a way to get it out and mice do the same, the only way they can. Gross and disturbing to us, but natural to them. The only way to prevent this type of thing is to find the body earlier.

When mice fight, which is super rare among females, you’re very likely to find blood, so if you found no blood smeared on walls or toys it’s likely your older ladies passed BEFORE the younger ones started cleaning up. This could be for a variety of reasons, but if they were already old ladies and any sort of “sick”, the stress of new cage mates could be enough to kill them.
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Post by chiroptera on Sun 19 Jul 2020, 3:37 pm

The first time that happened to me, I also was extremely devastated. She was my oldest female, and it was only a few months after my heart-mouse, Trouble, had died suddenly. It is truly a horrible thing to find, especially when you're not expecting it.

However, I'm almost completely sure that your older girls weren't killed by your younger ones. It's really sad that both of them passed at the same time, but I think it's still more likely than them being attacked and eaten while alive.

Just like Peachy said, it's a natural behavior to remove the bodies to prevent the rotting body from attracting predators or building up disease/unwanted insects. It's still a grisly sight, and it's really sad that you can't say goodbye to their bodies in the way you want to, so I understand the horror of it, but you can rest easy knowing that they most likely died peacefully, and weren't horrifically attacked.

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Post by Oreoandfriends on Sun 19 Jul 2020, 6:15 pm

Thanks for the replies,
It gives me a little more peace of mind that they most likely passed away beforehand, I hope they weren’t in pain or anything.
Is there any reason for me to be worried about the other mice that ate them? I know they’re all healthy so I’m not worried about disease spread, but could it harm them internally? I’ll be watching them closely!
Again, I can’t thank you enough. Love
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Post by chiroptera on Sun 19 Jul 2020, 7:16 pm

I've had it happen a few times, and never saw any issues. I don't think you'd need to worry about them, as long as your older girls weren't ill.

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Love remembering: Trouble, Yahtzee, Checkers, Mahjong, Clue, Pumpkin, Spider, Beetle, Peebee, Jay, Sid, Zola, Caramel, Hazelnut, Thyme, Olive, Popcorn, Shelley, Frida, Dragon + Pancake
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