When seeing a mouse, there are two types of people. Some of them might think about where to get mouse poison and the rest of them will think about adopting one. However, mice are interesting creatures as they have unique ways of communicating, enjoy spending time together, and are big fans of eating.
Mice are quite delicate
Despite the fact that mice could live in hard conditions such as sewers or areas covered in garbage, mice are not that tough. They are small and frail so if you have a mouse as your pet it is important to handle it with care.
You can lift the mice up using your palms and after some time it might get used to you and will climb your hand on its own. Avoid carrying the mouse around in your arms as it could fall and severely injure itself. If you want to interact with your mouse, wait for it to climb on your hands or you can use other objects such as a plastic cup to carry it around.
They keep good hygiene
Mice are big fans of grooming as they groom themselves and each other. Every mouse has a grooming routine, no matter if it’s a pet or a wild animal. If you have a pet, avoid bathing it regularly but if it seems excessively dirty, you can smoothly wipe it over.
If it gets frequently dirty, maybe you should take it to a vet as something might be wrong. In general, mice will groom themselves in one area of the cage, so it’s easy to follow their grooming habits. Also, they need periodic cage cleans, especially if you have a big number of mice.
Grooming to show who’s the boss
Mice use grooming as a tool to develop solid social bonds. When a mouse carefully grooms another one, the message transmitted is one of friendship. You can often see how a mouse that has been recently introduced to a big group of mice is more willing to groom the group’s members. This way, it tries to become a member with equal rights as quickly as possible.
But grooming might be used as a weapon by the dominant male. It could decide to groom a submissive mouse in order for everybody to see who is in charge. The dominant mouse could ‘barber’ the other mouse, aggressively grooming it around the head until some of its fur falls out. Because the dominant male does not have bald areas, it might indicate to other mice who is the boss.
They like to play
As we all know, mice are curious animals that love to explore and play. If you put a mouse into a new environment, it will not take long for it to check out the new surroundings. As wild animals, mice are aware of everything surrounding their house.
If you own a pet and want to keep it stimulated and entertained, you don’t need to spend a lot of money. Just keep most of the card boxes, tubes, and paper bags. This will give them a thing to chew on and to hide in.
They are not solitary animals
No matter if they live as wild animals or as pets, mice are sociable animals who always look for the company of their own kind. In general, a large number of female mice will have no problem living in the same group as they establish a hierarchy system.
If the group has more males, they need a lot of space. Mice need places to hide so they can sit by themselves if they feel like doing it. Having a larger number of males than females may lead to mice fighting each other.
So most mice keepers have the males neutered before introducing them to the larger group. Not only this will keep the group peaceful, but it will help with the strong smell of male mice. Scientists have observed mice are pleased to live in a group that gives them the opportunity to hang out or play with each other.
Within their group, mice set elaborate social structures as older mice are perceived as leaders.
Mice’s way of communication
Mice generally use a high pitched sound to communicate with each other while they are in their nests or when feeling scared. However, not all forms of mice’s communications can be heard by humans.
For example, male mice produce a type of ultrasonic noise to attract females who are ready to reproduce. Furthermore, female mice frequently talk to their friends using ultrasonic vibrations.
Communicating through urine
Although it might seem gross to most of us, urine is vital for mice’s communication. Mice urine contains chemicals and pheromones that encodes a lot of information. For example, mice might find out from urine who is related to whom, if there is enough food in the nest, who is ready to breed and who is the dominant mouse.
Dominant males’ urine has a different scent compared to other males in the same group. If you own mice, you need to clean the cage periodically but not too often. Leaving some of the mice’s natural scents will help them communicate.
Communicating through body language
We may not feel the chemicals and pheromones from a mouse’s urine, but we can definitely identify their body language. Just like humans, mice can transmit key emotions such as fear or aggression through their body language.
In general, if a male mouse wags its tail, it is an aggression sign. Since males fight each other for dominance and the right to reproduce, you might see them wagging their tails at each other before fighting.
They don’t live a long life
Usually, mice have a lifespan of 1-2 years, and like other rodents, they could get an old look pretty fast. Mice are prone to develop respiratory issues and tumors. If you think one of your mice is acting differently or appears unwell, you should take it to a vet that is experienced with rodents. Some of the most common signs of illness among mice are lethargy, scratching, or labored breathing.
A lot of mice are in rescue
Although it may seem strange since mice can survive in harsh environments, some of them are rescued by humans. Like other animals, there are a lot of reasons why mice end up in rescue centers. The most common reasons are allergies, sudden litters or a house move.
If you adopt from a rescue center you will get a pet that has been already assessed. This way, you will find out what kind of temperament is has before taking it home. Also, it helps the rescue center as they will have more space to take in other animals needing help. Get in touch with the local rescue center to find out more.
Their teeth grow quickly
Like most of the rodents, mice have a pair of incisor teeth that grow continuously. Every day, their teeth grow another 0.3mm. Because of their teeth, mice need to frequently gnaw. They could use anything for their needs so if you have mice as pets, make sure to provide them with some gnawing material.
You can get them card boxes or small and fragile sticks or even hide their food inside matchboxes to keep them entertained. If you don’t get them something to gnaw on, you might find some wires or even furniture to be damaged by these little rodents.
They are amazing athletes
Even if most of the time we see them running around, mice can jump to amazing heights. Scientists have recorded mice to jump to a height of around 10 inches. The average mouse size is between 1.5 and 4 inches so it’s pretty impressive.
Adding to their amazing jumping skills, is the fact that mice are incredible when it comes to climbing. They can easily climb on a rope and they have no problem ascending rough steep surfaces up to 7 feet high.
Mice will try a lot of food
When it comes to food, mice are greedy. They are omnivorous, so they will eat almost anything they find during their territory exploration. Scientists have observed mice’s behavior when they are looking for food and found out mice like to make numerous stops in order to taste the local cuisine.
On a regular night, a mouse will make between 20 and 30 stops to try different food types. Even if there are a lot of servings, mice don’t eat much as they generally took 0.15g of food from each of the samples available.