When they appear on stage alongside magicians, mice are often very much to their advantage, showing themselves capable of performing tricks we never suspected were possible. We deduce from this a complicity between the artist and the animal which can give the desire to adopt one. But what is the reality? How easy is it to form a relationship with a mouse? We present its main character traits to help you better understand who the mouse is.
The mouse is an animal with highly developed senses
The house mouse is an animal found all over the world. Its predators are numerous (cats, dogs, snakes, hawks, owls, weasels, foxes, etc.) and it is better! Without them, there would be far too many mice, considering the speed at which they reproduce. But it is one thing to ensure the survival of its species and another to ensure its own survival.
When you are a vulnerable animal, it is more than useful to see the danger coming in order to be able to flee in time. To ensure their individual survival, mice are always on the defensive and have developed their senses well so as not to miss any alerts.
Thus, the mouse’s hearing is exceptional, with a very high sensitivity for high-pitched sounds. Her sense of smell is also highly developed, although it is a little diminished when she lives in a cage compared to what it is when she lives in the wild. It is used in particular to find its food and to locate the paths most used by its congeners, because who says frequented path, says absence of danger.
On the other hand, his sight is much less efficient. In the wild, she is most active at night, as this increases her chances of moving around safely. Studies have shown that although her eyesight is poor, she compensates with other senses and can still move quickly and confidently. In these conditions, touch is the sense that compensates: the vibrissae, often referred to as “mustaches”, and the tail are very sensitive sensory organs. The spine extends into the tail which is therefore made up of vertebrae. It is therefore important to take into account the fact that you should never grab a mouse by the tail at the risk of seriously injuring it.
What are the consequences of these characteristics?
A mouse is instinctively a fearful animal. He needs a known environment to calm down. When you adopt a mouse, you must therefore give it time to feel safe and reassured. It is your role to help him take his marks. The ideal environment for the cage is a place placed halfway up so that the mouse is not subjected to vibrations from the ground, and calm without seeking silence. What is particularly problematic for these small animals are loud and sudden noises, immediately interpreted as dangers. If you catch your mouse yourself, it will bite you. If so, only blame yourself as this is not a sign of meanness, just a gesture to ensure its survival.
You must always make your presence known, not catch your mouse unawares. If you want to pick her up and stroke her, once you’ve tamed her and she’s used to it, your best bet is to institute a ritual of approach that makes her know what to expect. You must respect her rest cycles and not disturb her because your whim would be to play with her in the minute. How would you react if you were woken up in the middle of the night and offered to play?
Be aware that mice do not particularly seek social contact with humans, while rats do. But it goes without saying that with a taming which gives them great confidence, their natural curiosity will eventually get the better of the fear and, as long as you seduce her with some treats, she will eventually come to you herself and climb into your hand. You can then be happy to have taken an important step!
Can a mouse show behavioral disturbances?
Apart from the defense reflex which we have just spoken of and which intervenes only occasionally in a specific context, a mouse does not bite and does not behave aggressively towards its owner. Constant aggression can therefore be considered a behavioral disorder. After this observation, we must find the cause.
The most common cause of aggression is anxiety. Has your mouse recently changed its environment? Be careful, the change that bothers your mouse so much can be subtle because these animals are sensitive to small details. This change which stresses her can therefore only be a modification of the times when she leaves the cage. Is your household welcoming a new animal or a new individual? Any new living thing that appears in its environment can be perceived as a predator or a threat.
You will understand, the routine is the preferred lifestyle of the mouse. However, do not blame the routine of repetitive behavior on the part of your little rodent. If she’s circling around in her cage or licking a specific part of her body all day, that’s not normal, so you need to understand why she’s behaving this way and make the necessary changes before it escalates further. Equally alarming is a refusal to eat.
Aggressive behavior is also often the only way for an animal to express that something is wrong with its body, including that it is in pain. This trail should not be overlooked and a visit to the veterinarian may or may not confirm the hypothesis. Aging can also bring its share of behavioral changes. An old mouse may lose some of its physical and mental faculties and no longer react as before. This is not systematic, but it is also a cause of trouble to be considered.
Accommodate multiple mice
In the wild, mice live in mixed groups, led by a dominant male. Obviously, if you do not want to get into the breeding of mice, it is out of the question to coexist male and female mice.
Females support each other very well. However, it is necessary to take into account the fact that once a group has been formed, no new mice should be introduced into it, at the risk of it being excluded and therefore killed. Males do not live together well, unless they come from the same litter and have never been separated. You can always find special cases of peaceful cohabitation of male mice but it is clear that this is not the general rule.
For the gregarious animal that is the mouse, living in a group therefore promotes stress reduction, and experience shows that female mice that live in groups tame more easily. If you make this choice, then you will be careful to give them enough space to live harmoniously.