‘You Are The Best Mouse In the World’

This is what I tell Bubba in motherese when he sits in my hand and eats walnut pieces. He’s the first wild mouse to get very close to me. I thought the others got close, until Bubba. He allows me to raise my fingers and pet his hands while he’s holding a walnut and to touch his belly. He raises himself up like a kangaroo while his eyes close in slits. You can tell he’s very relaxed and isn’t afraid of his human mum at all. If I move too quickly, he’s off like a shot.

I do call him my little boy, the sweetest boy ever. I never imagined a wild mouse would allow me to touch him. He comes when I call him for food, as long as he’s truly hungry. Otherwise, he just ignores me. Feeding time is very intimate. I know he’s reading my emotional state and the more relaxed and happy I am, the more we enjoy the time.

He’s spoiled rotten. I went out and spent good money getting him hemp hearts. I tasted them and they tasted kinda sweet and nutty. I thought he’d adore them but he took one seed and spit it out in my hand. He wanted nuts and that was that. He paced around, sniffing my legs, looking at me, asking ‘where are the nuts mum?’ until I got walnuts for him. I’m stuck eating the hemp hearts now. I have to remember that each mouse has different tastes and personalities. The babies ate them.

Bubba has the most beautiful face. His face is long and eyes are big and black. He reminds me of Peanut with his delicate face. He has little white spots behind his thin ears and each little toe has an incredibly little claw.

I like to ask him if he has any girlfriends. Every few days he runs off to try and mate now because he’s much bigger and stronger for me feeding him. His social skills are unparalleled. Most mice I’ve got to know are curious and friendly, except Daddy. Gosh, not Daddy. Daddy would rather I disappear than look at him. No matter how often I talk to Daddy or feed him, he wants nothing to do with me. Daddy won’t go far in mouse land with his attitude. Daddy must be an MRA mouse. LOL

There’s a couple babies hanging around too. Lucy and Lily. Lily got her tail bitten off. She’s the runty one and spends a lot of time in my place exploring. I caught her the other night in a bag she went into. I put my hand in and petted her nose and then let her go. She likes to sleep behind the fridge where it’s warm. I always know it’s her by that stubbly bitten tail she has.

Some mice aren’t socially inclined and they fight. Lily might’ve met one of these troublemakers. Some mice turn into bullies and beat up on their siblings and friends. Poor Lily is only the size of a quarter and she’s already been battered up. Poor little fuzzy thing. I think she’s made my place her home because of the bullying.

This afternoon I heard loud squeaking from behind the fridge. It was Daddy beating up on Lily. Now I’m completely sure Daddy has gone rogue and that’s why he is the way he is. Mice are usually so curious about the big naked human who smells like peanut butter but not Daddy. I think Daddy has some serious social issues. He doesn’t even eat like a normal mouse. He makes a total disaster and now he’s beating up on the babies. Definitely an MRA mouse.

Did you hear that guys? There’s definitely something to bitch about in there somewhere. Not only can you whine about my pets but you can whine that I compared to the most anti-social mouse I’ve ever encountered that beats up on the babies. You’re all a bunch of deadbeat dads so the comparison fits.

Bubba hasn’t been around for a couple days. This is sometimes what they do. I try not to get to worried. I hope I see his little face looking up at me, begging for food soon. I miss him terribly when I don’t feed him once a day. I call him loudly near the mouse hole during these times. So far after 2 days, nothing.

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Predatory Daddy

The differences between Bubba and Daddy are great. Bubba is highly social and loves the attention I give him. You can see it in his mannerisms when he comes to sit in my hand to get a walnut piece. Last night I was very close to Bubba as I could feel his 10 little toes relax in my hand while he munched. Daddy showed up and I saw just how different they were in their personalities.

Daddy’s face was purely predatory. His eyes were shiny and large jet black, focused simply on getting a walnut and wanting nothing to do with me. Bubba on the other hand looked up at me, noticing my eyes and smelling the air. Bubba wants to be close to me, otherwise he wouldn’t climb up on me while I’m sleeping. He desires to inspect me. Daddy wants nothing to do with me. All Daddy thinks about is how he can beat up on Bubba to make him drop a walnut and that’s exactly what Daddy did.

He’d sneak up behind Bubba, as close as he could without getting too close to me, and then pop up in the air, startling Bubba in the hopes that a tiny walnut would be dropped. Daddy’s face was a one-track-mind. He didn’t pay attention to any social cues like me smiling at him or talking in a low voice.

Daddy did the sneaking trick a few times before Bubba finally gave up and hid under the fridge. It was no use trying to eat anymore. Daddy was just too intense.

Daddy will never get close to me. I’ve written on the fact that each mouse has their own personality. Daddy is the kind of mouse that even if I was still enough that he could approach, he’d be so hyper that he’d end up biting me in a race just to get a piece of food. It’s not about bonding with me. It’s about food.

This is why only certain mice bond with humans. They are all wild to be sure but some of them just have a more curious and social desire. The fact that Daddy is the alpha isn’t lost on me. While some see it as a great evolutionary example, the fact is, he’s so brutish that he doesn’t eat. His alpha traits cut him off from some resources that are definitely going to give Bubba a distinct edge.

A Fully Trained Bubba

I’m guessing it’s mating time in the mousery. Bubba hasn’t been around for a day or so. This is very typical. I do worry that something might have happened to him but since he’s not the first male to disappear for a few days, I’m not pulling my hair out just yet.

He changed his feeding schedule a few days before his disappearance. Instead of eating at dusk he ate at mid day. His favourite food now is walnuts. They have everything he needs, including moisture. Wild mice don’t usually search for water, opting to get fluids from the food they eat, However, the few times I put some water down on the floor and left it there, I had a ton of mice come get a drink. I’m guessing they simply took advantage of the water being there.

Bubba has serious obstacles he must overcome to find a girlfriend. First, he has to put on more weight and get bigger, like Daddy. He also has to win fights among the males. Mice fight by standing up on their haunches, squaring off, charging, and then rolling around trying to bite their opponent. Who wins is usually the larger mouse.

I’ve seen wild mice fight over everything, food, mating, and intrafamilial conflict. One of the key behaviours they do to show excitement is tail rattling. They rattle it so hard sometimes. It’s a very quick ‘brrrrrrrrrr.’ Tail rattling doesn’t always mean fighting. It simply means they’re very excited. Little Girl, my first female, would rattle when I gave her her favourite food. Mice pick up the vibrations from the floor. It seems to be one of their keen senses, along with smell and hearing. Their eyesight isn’t very good.

Bubba notices whether my hair is up or down when I try to feed him. Since I mostly feed him with my hair up he gets very afraid if it’s down. He also notices what I’m wearing. To me this shows a high level of cognitive processing.

I can’t wait to see the little guy again.

New Social Group of Mouselings: Bubba and Daddy

Bubba the Second is my latest wild mouse. He’s a very young, underfed, Omega male. The reason I know this is I’ve seen him next to the alpha male ‘Daddy’, who is huge.’Daddy Mouse’ is making tons of mouselettes with all the females. Because he’s older, wiser, and alpha, he is incredibly skittish around me. He doesn’t like the big, furless human although his curiosity betrays him.

Mice don’t see very well and that’s the case with Bubba. He accidentally nipped me the other night thinking my finger was a walnut. He was very careful and didn’t break the skin. I trust these little guys and it’s why I’ve never been bitten. I can even touch Bubba’s little hands while he’s nibbling. He’s the first mouse that’s ever allowed this kind of touching.

It took a long time for Bubba to learn that my voice was a signal to come to my hand for food. Usually, he’s go by his superior sense of smell. Once he figured this out he was very pleased with himself.

I have a clip-on desk lamp hooked to my bed and Bubba likes to climb up the electrical cord to sit next to me on my nightstand. I caught him last night sitting within my arms. My arm was tickling and it was Bubba’s tail. Any movement I make sends him leaping off the bed and I hear a little thump.

It wasn’t until last night that I knew just how social Bubba was. It was the second night of him understanding that my voice means food. Every time I called him, he would come running to get a walnut piece which he’d search for on the palm of my hand. I can now move my hand towards him without him running for cover.

I decided to let him try Uncle Ben’s Garden Style rice. I heated some up in the microwave for myself and him. I sat down next to my bed on the floor and wafted the scent around to see if he would come. I put a few grains in my palm and called him. To my surprise, he loved the rice. He ate it voraciously, even after eating 5 walnut pieces. His white belly was distended. Little piglet.

The smell attracted Daddy too but since Daddy won’t come near me he doesn’t get any. I have to make this rule or else my place would be full of mice. Daddy was pretty frustrated. He desperately tried to approach me and when I’d speak to him he’d fly under the fridge in a flash. No matter how hungry he gets, his fear is always worse.

Daddy likes to look at me though. I catch him eyeing me sometimes. He’s desperately trying to figure out what the big creature is and why the big creature makes loud noises when it looks at him.

I want Daddy to get over his fear but I doubt he will. There’s a reason Daddy is so big and handsome and why Bubba is so scrawny. The more I feed Bubba, and feed him properly, the bigger he’ll get. I make sure Bubba gets fluids in his food by giving him milk-soaked corn flakes, which he loves. One night I rolled a fresh blueberry into his hands and he dragged it under the fridge. He didn’t eat it because it wasn’t crushed. He thought it was just a toy.

Maybe one day he’ll take Daddy’s place as alpha male? If he keeps pigging out he might!

 

Bubba The Bratty Brave Mouse

My young buck I named Bubba Gump. He’s very young and very awkward. He’s also quite fast. You think he’s running but it looks like he’s travelling in the air. You just don’t know if his little paws have touched the floor. He loves to climb too. He climbs up on my bed and sniffs me when I sleep.

Bubba lives most of the time under the fridge. He now knows to come to me when I call him. Last night he licked peanut butter from my finger for the first time. I was thrilled. He didn’t even do what most mice would do which is sneak around behind me to figure out my new body position. Mice are excellent at viewing you from different perspectives and they do this purposely to judge the situation.

Bubba immediately came to my finger. He likes eating from my finger much more than licking pb from the floor, which is how I start introducing pb to them. He didn’t flinch at all. He put his little front paws up on my hands and licked. Mice are NOT natural biters. None of my many wild mice have EVER bitten me when I’ve had PB on my fingers or hands. NEVER. They are so bright that they figure out your hand is alive and warm and they will not bite you unless you try to grab them, which I’ve never done.

Bubba is at that age in his life where he’s very climby and very bratty. He is on everything. He probably knows my place better than I do. Every night when I lie down to watch some movies before sleep he comes out from under the fridge and proceeds to wander around my apartment. I see him on top of my bicycle handles, climbing on everything, every wire he can. Mice know their territory.

Wild mice are great pets. I don’t cage Bubba. He roams freely and likes to sleep under the fridge. When I call him his little nose sticks out and then he hops to me for food. Bubba is very unique because he has little white fur lines under his eyes. It looks like he’s wearing makeup. I’ve never seen a mouse that has those white lines of fur.

Bubba is very small. He’s the size of my thumb with a 3 inch tail. When Bubba is excited he’ll run across the floor with his tail in the air. I’ve been looking online for the tail behaviour of mice, similar to the tail behaviour of cats. So far I’ve had to make my own observations. One of Bubba’s other tail tricks is tail rattling. When a mouse gets stimulated, either she’s happy or annoyed at an interloper she’ll rattle her tail on the ground. It sounds like a fast vibration. Brrrrrrrrr!

I haven’t seen any tail rattling by Bubba. I don’t know if they learn this or it’s innate. Another mouse behaviour I’ve noticed is how Bubba will run away under something and come right back out again. It’s very quick. It’s almost as if he’s psyching you out.

Bubba is very friendly and I think the fact he climbs on me when I sleep has something to do with how comfortable he is coming up to my hand and prefers eating from my warm hand.

3 Month Old Mouseling

After a while of not having a mouseling I’ve got a new baby that’s frequently in my place. I’ve managed to start feeding him peanut butter on the floor while training him to come to it with my voice. He is such a tiny little fella with a short baby tail. His nose is quite long too. I bought him a new jar of chunky peanut butter tonight and as soon as I woke up and he heard me moving around he came out and inspected me. I managed to look at his behind and he is a male, a buck.

After I gave him some pb he came up to my foot and sniffed me. He also showed me that he does indeed climb up onto my bed. I’m sure he’s been up there sniffing and checking me out while I’m sleeping. Imagine that tiny little mouse baby sniffing around you and looking at you while you’re sleeping! Totally cute.

He still is with his mother, if she’s still alive. He probably still drinks a bit of milk from his mum.

He skitters around so confidently when he thinks I’m not looking at him. He hops onto my stuffed animal and off again in the blink of an eye.

I will tell you more as it happens and hopefully I’ll come up with a name for him soon.

How To Make Friends With a House Mouse

Say you want to be like me. Say you hear a mouse in your house. You know she’s there because you hear her or maybe you’re lucky enough to see her. You now have the opportunity to get friendly with her and make her part of your tribe. Mice are extremely social animals and once you develop a relationship with a wild house mouse, they will check on you every day, whether you know it or not.

Time and Patience

If you don’t have either of these then you won’t make friends with wild house mice. They are very tiny faery creatures that require lots of both.

So say you have both. The first thing to do is figure out where the little one is going, where do you see her? Once you find out where she goes you must get near her.

Other Pets In the House

If you have other pets besides say a domestic mouse or other small rodent then don’t make friends with house mice. If you do you’re putting the mouse in jeopardy of being attacked and killed. It’s not fair to the mouse so don’t do it.

To Start

The best way for a beginning house mouse queen/king to start is by finding a place where you can see her scampering about. Mice do like to come out at night but they will make appearances in the day time.

Put a comfy seat near where you’ve seen her and get ready to monitor her. It’s also good to have a TV or radio nearby so you don’t go nuts staring at one spot on the floor.

Peanut Butter

I’ve never known a mouse who’s turned down this treat. Get a jar of it and open it. Place the open jar on the floor in a place that’s open and lit near where you’ve seen her and where you can monitor it. Do this at night, after dinner while watching TV.

You can’t just leave the open jar there without watching it or you’ll get an infestation of mice. I’m talking about getting a single mouse friend, not a bunch.

So you’re sitting there watching TV and can see the open jar on the open spot on the floor. Do this until you see her. Once you see her talk softly to her. Tell her she’s a good girl and encourage her to be curious about the pb. Her nose will be going a mile a minute since mice have incredible olfactory capabilities.

Every little move or sudden sound you make is going to scare her at first so don’t move. You’ve got to let her know you’re not going to hurt her. In Mouseland, everything is bigger than you. Remember she’s a tiny little thing who has her survival to think about in this big world!

She might run at your voice. It’s ok, she’ll be back. This is where the patience comes in. Make sure you’re speaking facing her. You’ll see her little velveteen ears following your voice.

Once you get her used to your voice and hungry for the pb, you might let her hop on the open jar and take a bite. If not just let her explore it for a while.

Eventually you have to get up. Don’t worry about her running away. You’ll be seeing a lot of her back end in the beginning but now that her nose has smelled that pb, she will be back.

The next night take a small bit of pb and smear it on the floor and open the jar and place it on the floor to make a large smell of pb. If it’s carpeted take the top of a medicine bottle (CLEAN IT) and put a smear on that. Do NOT put chunks of pb down because they can choke on it. SMEAR IT thinly.

Go back to your chair and wait. Now this might take a few nights. Never leave the open jar out. Sit for an hour or so and then put the pb away. You’re just getting her used to the smell and more importantly, your voice. If you smeared it on the floor, it’s ok to leave it. The point is she’s learning that the pb comes from one spot only.

Eventually you’ll see her coming to that spot at different times looking for noms. Try to make one sound while she’s eating so she associates the sound with the pb. The importance of doing this every night cannot be understated. This is classical conditioning.

Keep allowing her to come out and lick that SAME SPOT.

About Wild Mice

Any movement will scare her. Remember, she’s wild. She’s never going to be domesticated. You won’t get to snuggle her and you probably won’t be able to touch her but you might get to feed her from your hand. If you don’t like animals you can’t hold then this isn’t for you although I’ve had a wild buck that would jump in my hand for pb that I could touch with a finger.

Mice have ok eyesight but even better hearing and smell. They also love human food, especially raw oats, popcorn, rice. Hell, they’ll eat the same meal as you do. My first female wild mouse would come out looking for some of my dinner and she’d come like a dog when I called her.

Each mouse is different. They have unique personalities and habits. Some are much more friendly than others. The one thing they do have in common is they’re very gentle creatures and very smart.

Mice measure distances and make maps in their head of where they live. They know every nook and cranny of their environment. They know your house better than you do.

In the next post, we’ll talk about how close you can get to her.

Coal Button Face

I met a baby pup who came in to check my place out. The little explorers have an entrance under my sink. This little one is very skittish. I heard her for a couple weeks before I got even one glimpse of her. She is careful about running along the corners of the walls unlike my other mice who would come out into the middle of the floor. Plus, she’s new and she has to figure me out which is the most fun time.

One night, as I sat comfortably at my desk typing away I saw a little flash of movement out of the left corner of my eye. I turned to look and I saw the tiniest baby girl hopping and scampering on the various boxes and storage bags next to the far wall. She’s definitely the tiniest pup I’ve ever seen and when she stood still I saw her face was black as coal. As I spoke to her she got excited and hopped up on the highest box to get a better look.

‘Well, helloooo little gel!’ I’d say in a British accent. ‘You are such a little gel!’

Her ears got wide and her expression was intense. Her shiny black eyes widened. She knew I was speaking to her. Next thing I know she’s on the table next to my desk and then on top of a stuffed animal on the radiator. She sat still on the stuffed animal and then decided she wanted to climb up a Chinese scroll that hangs next to my desk. She stretched herself and her big white belly arced out as she desperately tried to find a way to climb the 2.5 ft scroll. It’s made of thin strips of bamboo and has a 1/2 inch wooden scroll on the top and bottom. There’s no way she could climb the face of it but she did try. She found the right edge of the scroll as it sits about an inch away from the wall. She started climbing, her little muscled body carefully moving up the edge of the scroll. When she got to the top wooden rod she just sat up there looking down at me. She was 7 feet off the ground! I didn’t try taking her down. I wanted to see if she could get down on her own.

She went to the opposite edge and eased herself down like an inchworm and hopped back onto the stuffed animal. I congratulated her. ‘You’re such a good gel. Yay!’ I clapped at her achievement. She got so excited she did this routine again and again. Each time I’d give her encouragement.

She got bored of climbing the scroll and decided she wanted a closer look at me. Next thing I know she was sitting on my desk staring at me. She had climbed up a wire behind the desk. I spoke to her and she didn’t move. I was happy about this because once she gets used to me she’ll come out more and be more friendly.

I can’t imagine how her face got so dark. I’ve never seen a mouse that colour. I’ve seen reddish ones and grey ones but never a black-faced one. I haven’t named her yet but she reminds me of a little piece of coal. She has a small bend in her tail too.

I notice these characteristics of house mice because I try hard to tell them apart. I remember calling Peanut by the wrong name and him looking at me like ‘wtf?’ It was only when I got closer to him that I saw his sweet narrow face and big eyes. ‘Oh! It’s YOU Peanut!’

I love meeting new mice. Every time one disappears I get a new one. Unfortunately I haven’t seen Boogie at all. Once again, I must mourn another mouse. I get sad but I remember the fun memories and know I gave him a good life and treated him well. I think it’s easier to cope because I don’t really know if he’s dead or just moved on. The one mouse I miss the most is Little Girl. She’s always going to special because she was the first.

Mouse Evacuation

When the weather gets warm the mice don’t show up for food. Since they live in the walls it must get super hot in there so I imagine they move for a while. Boogie did this in the last heat wave we had. I didn’t see him for over a week. I thought he’d died but he was just going where there was air conditioning.

It’s been incredibly hot this summer and we’ve had almost no rain. There are forest fires raging and people down at the border between Canada and the USA are feeling the effects of those fires. I can only imagine the mouselets are feeling it too.

I’ll let you know when Lil Red and Boog Master come back.

Lil Red

I’ve got a new baby to watch climb on everything in my apartment. I can’t tell if she’s a he or a she yet but I can say she’s got the most beautiful strawberry coat I’ve ever seen. I desperately want to call her a she because I haven’t had a girl mouse in a while. Males have huge testicles that seem to weigh them down to the floor but female mice have very cute behinds.

Lil Red is probably about 1 1/2 months old. I first noticed her scooting around on Boogie’s trails. She got real close to me, skittering and sniffing just below me while I sat on the bed cooing at her. Any sudden movement and she’d run under the fridge only to get curious again and in no time skittle right back out. She has a narrow face with huge eyes. She reminds me of a cartoon mouse, like something out of Beatrix Potter. She has long eyelashes that make me want to call her a girl. The only other mouse that had a narrow face like that was Peanut. He was a gorgeous mouse. I sometimes wonder if Lil Red’s his baby.

Lil Red loves to climb. She got onto the cable wire that stretches from the floor to the ceiling of my apartment. The problem is once she gets almost to the top there’s a shelf up there with my old suitcase sitting on it. The wire goes under the suitcase but there’s a small entry in the corner where the wall and the suitcase meet. I’ve seen her climb the wire, get to the suitcase and come spidering back down again. Last night she got even braver. She got to the top. I ran over to her, almost eye level, and told her to get down. She got angry and managed to claw her way behind the suitcase and into the narrow spot. I didn’t want her up there so I got my chair and put my arm up there and knocked the suitcase around a bit. I saw her climb back down the wire in record time. I then placed the suitcase flush against the wall and pushed it so that once she gets to the top of the wire she has nowhere to go but back down again. I taped the mid part of the wire to the wall so she can’t get up there anymore. After I did that she angrily eyed me from behind a box on the floor, put her tail in the air and ran home under the sink. Playtime on the wire=over.

My physical therapist knows I keep the wild mice as pets. When she came on Wednesday to clean my back I told her about Lil Red. In her thick Phillipino accent she said, ‘Those mice will chew you’re apartment up if they get angry.’ I understood that because I’ve seen them do it. Lil Red has already found something in the corner boxes to chew on. When they do that I spray air freshener in that corner so it smells strong and tastes horrible. Lil Red bounds out of there along the wall and pouts.

I love Lil Red. I know mice go through this stage where they’re on everything. She even climbed on my bed the first night I met her face to face. She got up there, I moved to look, and all I saw was a flash of red go over the edge of the bed. I’m pretty sure she’s come up while I’m sleeping. Little ones are just too curious for their own good.