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orphaned deer mouse

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Post by wowie Wed 15 Sep 2021, 4:02 pm

Hi all ☺

I took in an abandoned deer mouse pup a few days ago (my local wildlife rehabilitation centre doesn't accept mice 🙃). It's my first time caring for a mouse, so I've been doing a lot of research and trying my best to keep her alive. I've been feeding her puppy milk replacement every 4-5 hours, and she's nibbling on oats every now and then.

We think she's about 2 weeks old, as she has a full coat of fur and her eyes are open. I'm worried, though, because she pretty much sleeps all the time. She basically only wakes to eat, and then goes back to sleep. I can't find anything online about mouse pup behavior, so I'm not sure if she's sick or this is normal? help Don't Know

for those wondering: she's currently housed in a 3.5gal acrylic aquarium, lined with cotton diapers and strips of paper towel. I've attached a zoo med rh7 heater to the side, as I can't put it on the bottom, and she spends all her time sleeping near it, sometimes inside the diapers/paper towels, sometimes just on top. I've placed a sanitized jar lid of water in with her, I don't know if she's drunk anything from it yet. She poops on her own; I clean out her poops daily.

that's all I can think of, let me know if I missed anything.

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Post by Dee67 Wed 15 Sep 2021, 7:49 pm

@wowie I imagine the poor little thing (or I should say lucky, as you found her) is quite traumatised by the whole experience and needs to sleep a lot to recover. Please keep us up to date. I do worry about the cotton fibres, mice can eat them and they get tangled in the belly.  If you have some fleece or hemp material that would be better, or even shredded newspaper, toilet paper, dust free paper bedding eg. Carefresh. Also be sure he/she has a hide. Change her water often and consider a water bottle. Kitten milk replacement might be more nutritional and is recommended.  Overall you're doing a wonderful job though,  keep it up and keep us up to date.

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Post by Valmias Thu 16 Sep 2021, 3:49 am

I was in the same boat this spring when someone gave me two orphaned deer mice that they found in a garden. I also had no prior experience and didn't really know what I was getting into. One of mine died soon after arriving, and the other had diarrhea and was dehydrated, so they weren't in the best shape. My original plan was to release them, but I sort of knew that if the second mouse was going to live, he would need a lot of hands-on attention and would probably be too tame to do well in the wild. I made the decision to do what I could and he pulled through and is now living a happy little life with me.

I'm certainly not an expert, but I'll share some of the things that I learned:

1) My mouse also slept all the time at first. He was sickly, so that may have had something to do with it, but he eventually tended to be awake when I went to do feedings. So I would second the advice to just let her rest as much as she wants. I found the hardest part of the whole project was just to not keep peeking at the adorable baby mouse.

2) It's possible she might not know how to use the water dish yet. I know I had to teach mine how to lap up a drink instead of taking it from a dropper. I found that mixing an extra-wet batch of oatmeal with the oats and warm milk gave him a middle ground of texture so that he could practice by licking up the milk. I saw him drinking from his dish a little after that.

3) The success rate for hand raising found mice is really low, like 25%, so be prepared for that. I was really struck when my first boy died, because he had been by far the healthier of the two and was bouncing and playing for one feeding then gone a few hours later. I think that made me a little obsessive with the second one, and I started checking him every 2 hours just to not be caught off guard. I found that when I fed him more frequently he still seemed hungry enough, so you might try to see if she's hungry sooner. If she has access to oats that she's nibbling, she probably has the wherewithal to keep herself fed until you get there though, and it might encourage her to try solids more. My fella was a slow bloomer, and I had to give him milk until he was six weeks old before he would go to full solid food.

4) Egg cartons and toilet paper tubes with torn up tissue inside make good starter nests for people who didn't know they were about to be mouse carers. The cartons are good for something to chew on/through as well.

5) I'm sure you can find your own comfort level vis-a-vis hantavirus. I am lucky to live in Nova Scotia where there has never been a human case or a positive test from a mouse, but I still had to think about what I was okay risking. Some people may give you grief over it, so just be aware that it's a thing.

I'm jealous that your pup is already pooping on her own. Teaching a mouse how to poop was not something I had ever imagined having to do. Are you planning on keeping her or releasing her back into the wild?

Valmias
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