American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2009 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Beginners’ Corner

Contaminated Rats; Looking For Deaf Small Mouse
Contaminated Rats

Henry Marquez, Maimi, FL, e-mail
QI am a Miami, Florida, resident, and I am helping my daughter Kiana (15 years old) conduct a pet rat study. Here is the question: In your experience, has there ever been a recorded case where pet rats maintained in a cage inside a home or residential garage, were contaminated (via mating or bites, etc.) by wild rats that may linger outside your home?

AI don’t know of “recorded” cases, but any time you have your pets in areas where wild rats (or mice) can come in contact with them, then yes, it is possible for parasites to be dropped off the wild rat/mouse and into any pet rat/mouse cages it could be running on. Also, just by being in contact with them can transfer harmful/deadly diseases to the pets.

If your pets are in wire cages, then biting through the wire is completely possible as many people can tell you of cases where one of their pets was out running across another cage and the cage’s inhabitants bit the feet of the one outside the cage. One person I know had one of her pet rats get out and bite several of her mice (face, feet) through the tops of their cages where the mice were crawling on the inside wire to see what was on top of their cage.

As far as breeding, if the wire spacing is large enough, then a wild animal could get inside and breed the inhabitant or injure/kill it from fighting.

Pet rats/mice should be kept indoors (not in a garage) and if wild animals are known to be able to get inside the home, then contacting a pest control company to eradicate the problem and close off all access holes into the home is advised. Karen Robbins

Looking For Deaf Small Mouse

Georgette Gerardy, El Cajon, CA, e-mail
QI found your e-mail information under Fancy Mouse Association of Rodent Breeders List in CA. My husband is hearing; I am deaf and I speak very well. I would like to know if you can help me find a completely deaf small female mouse, ranging in color, that is calm and loveable, that’s been abused or unwanted or unloved, and needs a home. I do know that deaf, blind, or disabled mice are put down. Or where to find a standard regular small, smaller in size, mouse that needs a TLC home. Question: have mice breeders been able to breed mice yet to miniature size, as I would love to know and see them. I am not interested in pedigree quality as I don’t want to pay much. Would you know listings in the east county San Diego? I used to have an albino white female with pink eyes many years ago that I truly enjoyed. I would be glad of any informational help that you can give me.

Can a miniature Russian female hamster get along with a mouse?

I have a great love for animals of great and small, and I devote my time, attention, love, top vet care, and great care to see that they get a beautiful home with lots of room, lots of goodies to keep them happy, and lots of out time. I truly look forward in hearing from you.

AI can tell from your e-mail and request that you have great compassion. Just to let you know, in the pet community a rat or mouse is not put down unless it is terribly deformed and could not accomplish basic needs for itself (getting to food or water alone).

It is almost impossible to know if a rat or mouse is deaf, since they depend so much on their sense of smell, and that would not be sufficient reason to euthanize an animal . . . the animal would still make a wonderful pet for someone

In the case of blindness, I have never seen a young animal born blind . . . I’ve seen a few that have lost an eye to a fight or illness, but again, they still make great pets.

Regarding your question about dwarf mice . . . no one in the fancy has bred dwarf mice, but they do have them in the labs. Dwarfism is a mutation that affects the overall health and life span of an animal. With their health and life span being seriously compromised, they are prone to arthritis and all sorts of other maladies. There are “pygmy mice” but they are a totally different species from our domestic mice and are illegal in this state and not really pets.

In the rat community with the spontaneous dwarf rat (dr) they got from the lab, those don’t seem to have the health issues as other dwarfs. But there is no known “healthy” equivalent in the mice.

Dwarf hamsters are not really “dwarf” in the pure sense but rather small separate species and get called “dwarf” because of their small size.

Since rats and mice have such a short life span already, as an organization, we do not encourage people to breed for these mutations . . . we encourage breeding for the betterment of the animal (health, temperament, type, and color).

As for a mouse and a dwarf hamster getting along together, you should never pair different species together. But rather pair your animals together by species (such as 2 female mice or 2 female dwarf hamsters). The large Syrian hamsters must live alone and not all the dwarfs will get along together unless you get siblings.

You said you have lots of room and the mouse would have lots of out time. It isn’t advised that you let a mouse “free-range” like you can a rat as they are not like rats that will come when you call them—they are not as “tame” and frighten very easily.

I hope I have been of some help to you. I know you will make a wonderful “critter mama,” and I hope you find the perfect pet for you. Dale Taylor, a.k.a. Hattie McRattie *

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June 27, 2014