American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2017 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Beginners’ Corner

Nibbling Mouse

By Karen Robbins

Sarah Beth Dawson, Facebook
Q I am new to owning a mouse. I found a wild baby mouse about 4 weeks ago. He was about a week old when I found him. I bottle fed him; he’s doing great!! My question is when I’m holding him, he likes to nibble on my hand. It doesn’t hurt but should I be worried that he’s doing this? He also really likes to chew on my long finger nails. He’s eating hard mouse good food, and I give him carrots and apples. Am I doing something wrong? Can I get him vaccinated?

A With any wild species, be aware there are many viruses and parasites common to wild mice and some are harmful to domestic mice/rodents or to people.

We have lots of info on mouse food and mice in general on the AFRMA web site. For treats, mice also like oats—their favorite (whole, rolled/oatmeal, groats), millet, parakeet or wild bird seed, dog biscuits, dry super-seeded healthy wheat breads, canary seed, wheat kernels, barley, bits of sunflower seeds, plain puffed cereals, sprouts, washed pesticide-free dandelion leaves, kale, thawed frozen peas, cooked whole grain or veggie pasta, raw pumpkin seeds, meal worms (from the pet shop), and healthy no/low-sugar cereals. You can also check out the Fancy Mice Breeders Forum Food Mice Like post for other ideas on treats.

Unfortunately, there are no vaccines for mice (or rats) like they have for cats and dogs.

Depends on why he is nibbling. Does he smell food (you should always wash your hands before and after handling him)? Does he smell a lotion or something else on your hand he likes? If a domestic mouse did that to me, I would be concerned that it would lead to biting and this would be something I would discourage.

Q I normally wash my hands before and after holding him. I use natural soap that I make myself. He likes the essential oils I use. How do you discourage it?

A Since it sounds like the oil is what he likes, then changing soap should stop the problem. I’m not sure you can discourage this since it is the soap you use, but some people have found squeaking when a mouse or rat nibbles/bites has helped get them to do it less or stop but they didn’t have an attractant to worry about that was causing the problem.

Update: I have unscented soap so I will try that. Thanks for all your help! *

April 2, 2019