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How to Tame a MousePatience is key to taming a mouse. The best thing you can do is start when they are young. Once you can safely handle the babies without upsetting the mom, you should start picking them up. When a baby mouse is still a pinkie, you shouldn't hold them for very long, but it is a good idea to hold them for a couple minutes each day after they are 3-4 days old. Once the babies start to open their eyes, they enter what's known as the "popcorn stage." They will begin to jump around like popping popcorn. Be careful in this stage as the babies can get hurt by jumping out of your hand. They are also hard to catch once out of the hand. This stage can get frustrating but keep in mind that it will get better with time and patience. Holding the babies before their eyes open can greatly help this stage or even eliminate it all together.
Sometimes handling mice at a young age isn't an option. One way to begin taming an older mouse is to sit on the floor, lay your hand at the bottom of the cage, and leave it there. You may want to move your mouse into a fresh tank, bath tub, or playbin. One benefit of removing the mouse from their territory is that all they will have to focus on is you. Get comfortable because this takes time. If you have a very scared mouse, you might want to just start by putting your hand in the cage for a while and then try again another day to go further. Your mouse will let you know how far you can go each sitting. Eventually your mouse should get curious enough and come to you. They will smell and investigate your hand. One of them will work up the courage to run over your hand as fast as it can. Stay still when this happens; your mouse is testing the waters now. Next your mouse will start climbing all over your hand and maybe even up your arm. At this point try moving your hand very slowly so they know they are really on a human. Always make sure your mouse can get away safely. After a while your mouse will gain trust in you and you should be able to pick them up without a problem. Keep in mind that this may take days or even weeks to accomplish. You can also use treats for encouragement. However, I prefer not to use treats. I like my mice to come to me because they want attention and not because I'm a food dispenser.
Some owners like to play a sort of game with their mouse to help the mouse get used to hands and being handled. This works best in the bath tub or playbin. All you do is scoop up the mouse, slowly move them to the other side of the tub, and let them go. Do it again when they get back to "start". Some people like to add commands to their routines to help their mice understand what's going to happen. You could think of something easy to say when you pick them up and let them go.
The Proper Way to Pick Up a MouseI recommend that you let your mouse get to know you before picking them up. This way they will feel less intimidated. Try just putting your hand in their cage and letting them come to you. More than likely your mouse will come up to you and crawl into your hand, given enough time. Mice are very curious and outgoing, but they can be timid at first. If you use this method you must be patient and present your hand in a not-so-intimidating way, i.e. keep your hand below your mouse's eye level and bring your hand slowly closer to the mouse from an angle. Swooping in from above the mouse can be very frightening, as you could be mistaken for an enemy such as a bird. I highly recommend letting your mouse come to you or picking her up by scooping her.
If you have to, you can gently pick your mouse up by the base of their tail. If you do this, make sure the mouse is not holding on to anything. Mice have a strong grip and if you pull on them you could cause injury. You can actually pull their tail skin off their bone quite easily! I recommend only grabbing the tail when you need to. Restraining an animal by the tail can frighten them and cause distress, and if the mouse feels intimidated and can't get away, they may bite.
Last edited by Peachy on Wed 13 Dec 2017, 8:36 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Information updated)
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This post is wonderful! I've had mice for many years but many problems (fighting mostly) have occurred. I currently have one female mouse living alone (temporarily) because her cage mates died awhile ago. I'd love to get her a friend and fill another tank with a trio of baby girls. I get my pets from two different pet stores, Petco and Pets in the Park. The 2nd store breeds their mice and gets lots of lovely colors, but there's the risk of getting a pregnant one. The first usually only has albino mice, which I haven't had much success with.
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