This is an excellent video on taming small animals:

Additional Info:

Moving/catching a mouse: If your mouse panics when it sees your hand coming for it, do not grab at it, instead use the paper towel roll method to catch and move it. Put the roll in the cage in a place you know your mouse will most likely go when frightened. Gently herd the mouse towards this place. When the mouse goes into the roll, put your hands over the openings and move your mouse. This is much less stressful to your mouse, you do not want it to associate your hands with fear. Once your mouse trusts you more and is more relaxed, then you can scoop it up gently by placing your hands on either side of it and moving them under the mouse. Unless your mouse is very tame, never grab from above and never pick up your mouse by the tail. Picking up a mouse by the tail is seen at best as disrespectful by the mouse and at worst as very frightening.

Healthy treats: Every mouse is different so experiment with what your mouse likes best. I have found that almost all mice LOVE peanut butter and cashew nuts. Cashew nuts though should be given in moderation because they are very fattening, your mouse can become obese very quickly on these, something that is not good for its health. It is best to cut a cashew nut into very small pieces for trick training and give no more than one, maybe two cashew nuts a day per mouse. Peanut butter is also very fattening, but with it there is also the risk of choking because it is so sticky. Only give a tiny bit to your mouse at a time so it does not choke on it. Peanuts can also cause allergies in some mice, leading to excessive itching and very rarely to shock, although I have never had this happen to any of my mice. Peanut butter is a great training tool with mice, but be careful with it, watch for signs of choke and/or allergy. Most mice will be fine, but the rare mouse may have problems. Sickly, weak and elderly mice are most at risk of choking on peanut butter.
It can sometimes take a while to get mice addicted to peanut butter or cashew nuts. Initially place some in the food bowl, it may take a while for them to try it, but once they do, most will become addicted quite quickly. Other favorites are sunflower seeds, meal worms, millet spray, lettuce, wild greens, ice/whipped cream, cheese, bread, cookies, cake, mashed potato, baby cereal, rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, dried banana, cheerios. Anything with sugar only give sparingly, too much sugar can lead to diabetes.

Babies: If you breed mice, start handling the babies gently when they are 4 to 7 days old. Handle them all at the same time so they all smell the same to mom. Try not to stress mom out too much, preferably you have worked on gaining her trust before the babies are born. Socializing mice to humans when they are still in their mothers nest will make them grow up more trusting to humans and as a result they will make better pets. Mice who make better pets will be more loved and therefore more likely to have a good life. Genetics also play a role, so do not breed mice who are very flighty. Confident, easy going mice will usually make better pets.

Hand raising: Hand raising a mouse from a pinky, under a week of age, will guarantee that your mouse will be 100% trusting, as loving and affectionate as a tiny dog. But it is very time consuming and risky. Only attempt it if you have two weeks available for feedings every two hours, night and day, you have done all your research and you have all the supplies handy before you get the baby mouse. Only hand raise a doomed baby, one meant for snake food. There is a significant risk that the little mouse will not make it, hand raising is tough on them. It is only ethical to do it with a doomed baby. This way the baby has a chance at life, a very good one as a much loved mouse, even if it has to endure some discomfort in its first two weeks of life. Before you try this, watch my video series ‘Raising a Baby Mouse 1-10’.

Neutering: Male mice make better pets if they are neutered. It gets rid of male mouse smell (which can be very strong and unpleasant) and mellows out their temperaments so they are less restless and less prone to stereotypic behaviors like excessive scratching. It also allows them to live with other mice, something that is very important to the mental health and happiness of a mouse. In my experience, neutering a mouse is only slightly more risky than neutering a dog or a cat and well worth it.

This is an excellent video on taming small animals. It is about hamsters but it also applies to mice:

Music by Josh Woodward (Chainsaw and A Song, instrumental versions) creative commons



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