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Research Mice

LauraLaura Lemming
Hi all,

Out of pity, I adopted two young research mice who were facing euthanasia if they didn't find a good home. They're about a month and a half old. I've had them for roughly three weeks now and they are absolutely terrified of human hands. So far, I've been leaving my hand in the cage without trying to touch them and handling them on a table top. They refuse to run onto or touch my hand at all. They will, however, run onto my sleeve or arm. They will take their favorite foods from my hand and lick peanut butter from my finger, but they won't let me pet them or touch them. If I put them in my hand or scoop them up, they will run around it, but they won't let me make any more contact. They also can be bitey if I try to guide them onto my hand out of a tube. Is this to be expected? Is rough human handling just too engrained in them, or is there anything else that I can do to acclimate them to human touch?
Thank you.

Comments

  • CritteryCrittery Overlord
    Posts: 270
    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    There are some rodents that never become happy with human contact, and it's a bit more like you are their keeper than anything else. That being said, if they are only 6 weeks old they are still rather young so hopefully they can still learn you are okay despite a difficult background.

    When you guide them onto your hand from the tube, is that after you've tried food things? sometimes you need to be careful your hands aren't smelling too interesting.
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  • LauraLaura Lemming
    Posts: 3
    I haven't been consciously avoiding handling them in that way after feeding them. I'll definitely try that.
    I do understand that they may never be cuddly, loving mice. I knew I may have difficulties trying to tame mice that had been used for research, and I have seen some improvements. They've gone from running when I approached their cage to popping their heads out when I make the noise for a treat. It just concerns me that they're so against being picked up or touched. If something is wrong or I feel like I need to examine them (if they've been injured or seem ill), I don't like that it stresses them out so much.
    Thank you for your input!

  • Posts: 529
    Maybe keep going as you are but just let them avoid your hands for a few days/weeks? Might be that in time they get curious about the things on the end of the sleeves they're ok with and become tamer that way?
    Currently one of two pet-humans of some hamsters (syrian, roborovski, chinese and russian hybrid), mice, mongolian gerbils and a duprasi :)
  • AnnBAnnB Mouse
    Posts: 936

    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    I've had a number of mice that were too frightened to be handled, it can take many months of patience to win them round. Something in your favour though is that your mice are still very young so they will learn a new habit fairly quickly.

  • AlisonAlison Mouse
    Posts: 84
    Hi Laura, I wouldn't take it to heart. I have two rex girls here that came from a very nice breeder who handles her mice from birth yet have never ever accepted me. Its only in the last 3 months I have been able to put my hands in the cage without them rushing up to nip at me and I actually managed to get one to step on my hand when I cleaned them out last weekend. They are now 9 months old. Not that I am trying to discourage you in any way, just trying to point out that its not necessarily to do with their background. Your mice are young still so stick with it, I have had mice here from iffy backgrounds that have gone on to develop truly loving and entertaining characters but others who, as Crittery says, I have basically felt like a means to an end for them x
    The Pink Paw Gang are back in town! 2 mice, 2 hamsters, 1 guinea pig, 2 springer spaniels, 1 sprollie and 1 sprocker. Is this what you call a multicultural house :)

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  • LauraLaura Lemming
    Posts: 3
    Thank you, everyone! 
    I'm trying to keep positive and your encouragement has been really great :) Honestly, I'm just happy that they're in a good home after their unfortunate upbringing. As a science major, I do realize the necessity of research animals, but it makes me sad. I'll keep all your suggestions in mind. This is such a great community. I'm sure Snow White and Cinderella will come around eventually. 
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 815
    Just wanted to say good luck with Snow White and Cinderella. Love their names
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