12 Muscles In Animals Are Often Found In Pairs Because Care of Wild Baby Mice

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Care of Wild Baby Mice

If for some reason small wild mice have been placed in your care, I have included some care and feeding tips to help you give them a chance at life. Please note that even in the wild, rats have a 50% chance of surviving beyond 5 months of age, given normal upbringing. Mice that do it can live up to 5 years if they are healthy. A pair will have a better chance of survival than a single mouse.

Once you have baby mice, it’s important to keep them safe and warm. You can use a small pet carrier, large plastic tub, or any other suitable box in which to place them. Line the bottom with a towel and place the mice on top. Next, use another soft material to lightly cover the mice like fleece. Place the box in a warm place, making sure it is not hot; otherwise the mice will become dehydrated. A heater on the lowest setting may be all that is needed. Try the towel the mice are lying on so it feels cozy and warm in your hand.

If the pups are less than 14 days old, they will need to be drip-fed a milk replacer until they are weaned. They usually open their eyes when they are almost weaned and able to feed themselves. You will need to feed them every 2 hours, so be prepared to get up during the night. Set your alarm. When I was taking care of wild mice, I would get up every 2 hours to check on them. I have since read that at night the mother mouse would be away foraging and could only return to the nest once to feed her babies. Use common sense, if you can manage some feedings at night, all the better for babies to survive, especially in the early days.

Kitten milk can be purchased at pet stores. I used mixed and strained raw coconut. It should be 1 cup of coconut in about 2 ½ cups of water. You can also use soaked almonds to make an almond milk using the same ratios. Make sure the nuts are natural and simple. After making the milk, store it in a sterilized glass jar and refrigerate until required. When you go to feed the mice, take a quarter of a cup of milk and heat it by pouring it into a small container and placing it in hot water. Use a baby dropper or syringe (available at the pharmacy) to feed 1 or 2 drops of milk at a time into the baby mouse’s mouth. When rats are really young, they may not open their mouths. Be careful not to get the milk up their noses, they will splutter/cough if you do. It can be dangerous to their health if you do. The way I fed the mice was to place a face mask on a table and place the mouse one at a time on it. You can then gently hold the baby’s head while you administer the milk through the dropper. You’ll get the hang of it with a little practice. The baby may not seem to be getting much milk, don’t worry. Very young babies may only need a drop or 2 in their mouth/tongue until they can take more. The main goal here is to keep them hydrated with a small drop every two hours.

After the baby is fed, you need to stimulate the bowel movement. To do this, pour some warm water into a small bowl and dip a cotton bud in it. Next, place the cotton bud between the baby’s back legs and gently twist the bud around. You should see a small brown spot, this is their poo. Dip the other end of the bud into the water and gently caress the baby’s body, this imitates the mother licking them. After all this, put the baby in his soft bed and put him in a warm place. This is the basic routine that should be repeated every two hours during the day and at least 2-3 times at night, especially around 1:00 am and 5:00 am.

As you can see, it is quite a big commitment to take care of wild rats. But there is also a great reward in caring for them and the bond you will feel as a caregiver.

When babies start to open their eyes or at least reach a maximum, they can get more milk and start to walk a little. This is when you have to be extra careful; one fall is enough to be fatal. You can create a small safe roaming area in the bottom of a pet cage or shoebox/basin. Line it with newspaper and leaves to simulate a natural environment. Youngsters will enjoy stretching their legs and taking their first steps. This is important as it will build their muscles and strength.

Once babies start biting their fingers hard enough when you feed them, they may be ready for some solid food. They will also start to open their eyes (12-14 days) Start very slowly with this. Try some baby fruit puree for starters or natural rice pudding. Food should not be cold. Let them lick it off your finger. Avoid putting purees in a dish where rats can feed, as they can become messy and end up with dyed fur, which should be avoided. Some other foods to graduate to are porridge, bananas, tomatoes, dry oatmeal, strawberries. Just go very easy on the food and keep it simple and easily digestible at first. congratulations! You have actually reached the stage of weaning, which is quite a thing with wild rats.

Continue to provide a safe space for the mice to sleep and once they are weaned, they will be able to come out at night to feed. Give them a small plate by their bed so they can feed at night. At least you can get some sleep now! Continue to offer milk during the day and provide some water for them. Usually, wild mice will still have their mother’s milk until about 4 weeks of age.

Now you have to decide whether to keep them or release them into the wild. I don’t know how many rats have been successfully hand raised and released into the wild. I think it is unlikely that they will survive. However, you have done a little and if they look strong and healthy and quite active, it may be possible to release them. Or, you can keep them as pets.

Finally, if you did your best and the mice died, don’t feel bad. Chances of survival under the best conditions, e.g. with their natural mother are still low. Just enjoy the experience you had with them and the chance to get a glimpse into their little lives. They are little bundles of love and it’s great to have given them some love when otherwise they might have disappeared.

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