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How quickly should you remove a dead mouse from cage mates?

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How quickly should you remove a dead mouse from cage mates? Empty How quickly should you remove a dead mouse from cage mates?

Post by GS123 Sat 16 Jan 2021, 5:22 pm

Hi everyone!

I have 2 sweet girls, 15 month old sisters. One has struggled with illness on and off since September (treated by a vet every time). She is now slowing down and appears weak and less active, although still eating and drinking ok. She has dropped in weight from 30g down to 24g in 2 weeks. I don't think she'll be around for much longer so I'm preparing for the worst over the next few days.

I really want to avoid the situation of the healthy girl cannibalising her deceased sister when the time comes, so can anyone give me an indication on how quickly a dead mouse must be removed from the cage to avoid this from happening? I can't bear the thought of it happening overnight when I'm not around to remove her, although I do understand that it's natural for them. I want to give her remains a proper funeral too of course.

Thanks guys Smile
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Post by River Sun 17 Jan 2021, 1:23 am

Not all domestic mice will cannibalize, though it is possible. Most of my mice have passed overnight, or when I wasn't around to see it.

I make sure the other girls have seen the body. Sounds rough, but if not then they tend to be very confused and look for their sister constantly, prolonging the grieving process. I give them just enough time to see it and understand what's happened, let them interact if they want to, and then remove it. No more than a few minutes, usually. I never leave them unsupervised after I've discovered the body.

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Post by GS123 Sun 17 Jan 2021, 7:00 am

Thank you for the great advice River.

Unfortunately I was right and Lucky passed away some time between me checking on them this morning and then again a few hours later. Her sister was grooming her when I found them so I gave her a few moments then removed Lucky's body from their cage. She seems ok and has now returned to her nest to sleep after we kept her company for a while.

Now I need to figure out what to do with a lonely mouse. Is she too old to be introduced to new friends? I can easily get some company for her but I'm worried that she won't take it well this late in life which will stress her out more. How long should I wait before introducing her to new friends? She now has a 70 gallon tank all to herself; should I leave her in there or move her to her old much smaller house until she has company again?

Thanks again for your help, I would appreciate any more advice as this is the first mouse I have lost and I'm not sure how to help my poor girl Sad
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Post by River Sun 17 Jan 2021, 1:01 pm

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I have introduced older mice to younger mice before with no difficulties. Take it slow as always, but I would be fine with it. Do you want more mice, and is your remaining girl showing any signs of old age?

When mice start showing signs of old age, some have a hard time getting around. In these cases I did 'downgrade' the enclosure a little to make it easier on them. I think this can be done in a larger enclosure as long as she has access to food/water/shelter at various different locations.

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Post by Dee67 Sun 17 Jan 2021, 6:12 pm

Sorry to hear about your loss of Lucky, RIP Rainbow Angel I hope her sister will be OK.

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Post by GS123 Mon 18 Jan 2021, 7:54 am

Thank you for the condolences Red Heart She was such a beautiful little thing with a huge personality, we'll miss her like crazy.

Cola's house is all on one level (IKEA Linnmon DIY cage) besides ropes and toys attached to the lid, so it should be easy to modify as she gets older. But for now she is full of energy (she has always been more robust than her sister), so I will keep her in this house then and not move her.

Yes I would love to get more mice, I was thinking of getting 2 or 3 more as friends for Cola so I wouldn't have the situation of a pair becoming a single mouse alone again. But I'm so worried about introductions. If they just didn't get along for some reason then I'd have to keep them separately, and it would make sense for the larger group of mice to have the biggest cage and have Cola in the smaller cage again. I don't think that would be fair on her at all especially after losing her sister! Have you ever had that situation or do they always get along eventually? What if the new girls bully or gang up on her and she gets too old to do anything about it?

The other option I have read about is to treat a lone female like a lone male, meaning loads of enrichment and attention and females can be happy by themselves. Is this true? I would only do this if it's a valid option that experienced owners use and it doesn't make her unhappy.

As you can tell I'm just desperate for Cola's twilight years to be as stress free and happy as possible. Thanks again for all your help and advice guys!
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Post by River Mon 18 Jan 2021, 5:16 pm

It's rare for females to reject companions, especially if they're well-bred. That said, most of my mice were from pet shops and they all got along fantastically. It is possible that one would have trouble fitting in, but very unlikely.

I have kept elderly females alone for the last month or so of their life, but I don't recommend it in this situation. Treating them like a lone male is usually only done if the female is very, very old and showing signs of it. At that point, they won't have to be alone very long and can just be kept comfortable until their passing. If she's still in good spirits, then there's no telling how long she'll have to spend alone if you choose not to get more. Isolation stress is stress all the same.

It's also worth noting that while both are social, males just tolerate being alone better. I believe this has something to do with the way they'd spend brief periods alone in the wild after being chased off by the dominant male but...who knows. In any case, if you can get her friends, get her friends. Smile

Best of luck to both of you, I hope she's coping alright. <3

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Post by GS123 Tue 19 Jan 2021, 3:40 am

Thank you for the reassurance! Cola seems alright, not searching for Lucky or anything but she is definitely feeling down and awake at strange times. I'm working on getting her 2 new friends who I'll hopefully choose and pick up this week. They are from the same place (not a pet store) so will actually be her relatives, either nieces or great nieces, which is lovely.

I'll do as much research as I can to make sure that I do the introduction correctly, and fingers crossed things will go smoothly. Friends

Thanks again for all your help, I really appreciate it! Smile
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