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Arguing, fighting or just establishing hierarchy?

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Arguing, fighting or just establishing hierarchy? Empty Arguing, fighting or just establishing hierarchy?

Post by disastervibe Fri 13 Aug 2021, 4:20 am

Background: I currently have two female mice (Petal and Rain) I recently adopted in quarantine, waiting to be introduced to my other female mouse (Tulip) who lost her sister (Dandelion). Petal and Rain are adults who have been housed together at the Humane Society while waiting for adoption for about a week and have been with me for just under two weeks now.

Petal and Rain had always seemed to share well, choose to be around each other, hang out together/sit side by side, explore together, etc. However, I just saw them tumbling around together, totally silent, like they were wrestling. I immediately went over thinking I'd have to stop them, but 1) no one was squeaking, 2) no one was running away or chasing the other, 3) no one seemed injured, and 4) they stopped within maybe 10-20 seconds and just sat there grooming themselves (individually, not grooming each other) literally like 2 inches apart and then sniffing each other's bums for a moment before wandering off to do their own things. Neither looked injured and neither tried to go hide or run away from the other afterward, they just went right back to chilling.

How concerned should I be about this? Was that an actual fight and do I need to separate them? Was it just an argument? Or were they just working out their social hierarchy? Even as I type this they are alternating between running together (in synch) on the wheel, sniffing each other, and wandering off to do their own thing. They haven't been trying to keep the other away from food, water, the wheel, or anything else, but should I be worried anyway?

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Post by corvusaur Sat 14 Aug 2021, 2:55 am

The same thing happened to two of my mice a week after introducing them! I'm glad I'm not the only one. Nearly every source I've found on the internet has said not to worry about what appears to be fighting and chasing unless blood is drawn. To my horror when checking on one after two of my mice got into that tumble I found a chunk had been taken out of her ear somehow. I'm not sure if it was from the wrestling but maybe check your mice for injuries just to make sure. If there's no blood drawn, from what I've seen you should be fine. I WOULD like to know if the wrestling is play fighting or a legitimate fight for dominance though...

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Post by disastervibe Sun 15 Aug 2021, 5:10 am

@corvusaur wrote:The same thing happened to two of my mice a week after introducing them! I'm glad I'm not the only one. Nearly every source I've found on the internet has said not to worry about what appears to be fighting and chasing unless blood is drawn. To my horror when checking on one after two of my mice got into that tumble I found a chunk had been taken out of her ear somehow. I'm not sure if it was from the wrestling but maybe check your mice for injuries just to make sure. If there's no blood drawn, from what I've seen you should be fine. I WOULD like to know if the wrestling is play fighting or a legitimate fight for dominance though...

I checked them over and there are no injuries at all, not even missing fur or anything. Seeing as they've spent all of today cuddling (sometimes on a little swing I have for them... so cute), there were no injuries and they seemed calm right after, I think it was just play in my case.

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Post by River Sun 29 Aug 2021, 5:16 pm

If there was no squeaking, then nobody was harmed, so I’d guess a play fight. Even when they don’t draw blood on each other, if one bites the other squeaks — I would too!

But I honestly don’t follow the ‘until blood is drawn’ rule. To me, fighting in an established colony is unusual, and overly aggressive fighting during an introduction is a sign I need to slow down. Sure, they bicker, but after a few introductions you can just tell when they really mean it.

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