Mice have large front teeth, and they look like they can do quite a bit of damage. You know you should be taking your mouse out of their cage every so often, but can you risk it? Do pet mice bite?
No, a pet mouse will not bite. They are incredibly friendly animals and want to trust you. There may be accidents if your mouse feels like you are a threat, but by bonding with your mouse, you can avoid these accidents.
Why Would They Bite?
Mice are not aggressive animals, and the only reason they bite is that they feel threatened. Reaching your hand into a cage can make your mouse feel cornered, and they might feel as though the only way to survive is to keep your hand away by biting.
While female mice get along great with other female mice, male mice will fight with others. If you have a male mouse, their instincts could tell them to fight your hand.
Even wild mice will bite if they feel threatened. In the case of the woman who was bit by a mouse in a movie theater, she had put her feet near a mouse nest. When she looked down to inspect her bite, she noticed three mice defending their home.
How To Avoid Bites
Most pet mice will bite you when you stick your hand into their cage to pick them up. If you want to avoid any bites, it’s important to learn how to properly pick them up so they aren’t being mishandled.
How to pick up a mouse
Use both hands to form a cup and scoop the mouse up. Hold them low over a flat surface in case they jump, or use your cupped hands to creatine enclosed space while moving with the mouse.
If you don’t feel comfortable reaching into a cage with your bare hands, you can use insulated gloves to pick your mouse up until you feel more comfortable around them. Just be careful about how tight you’re holding the mouse. You won’t be able to feel the mouse if you’re wearing padded gloves, and you don’t want to squish your little pet!
Bond With Your Mouse
Mice are very smart creatures! You can teach them to be more comfortable around you. Bonding with your mouse won’t happen in a day, but by following these steps for 30 minutes each day, you can interact with your mouse without fearing being bitten.
- Give your mouse something that smells like you. This could be a shirt, a sock, a watchband, or anything you’ve worn. Keep in mind that mice are nesters and they might shred any fabric to make bedding with!
- Give your mouse a treat as soon as you take them out of their cage. They will start to associate these treats with coming out to play, and since they are eating, they won’t feel threatened.
- Let your mouse get used to your hands. Chasing your mouse around its cage with your hand is just going to make them feel threatened. Instead, place your open hand in the cage palm side up with treats on it. Your hand won’t be a threat and your mouse will learn to trust you.
- Play with your mouse. Mice like toys and challenges. You can create mazes, set up obstacle courses, or just play with toys. Don’t play on a table, or a bed. Falling off these surfaces can hurt your mouse. Instead, play on the floor under careful supervision so your little friend doesn’t get into anything they aren’t supposed to.
How To Treat Bites
If you’ve been bit by a mouse, you should clean the bite area and see your doctor immediately.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that mice seldom carry rabies, but there is a bacteria in their saliva that can cause infection if bites aren’t treated.
When you see a doctor, they will likely prescribe you an antibiotic to fight off any bacteria or infections the mouse had been carrying. The antibiotics should prevent you from getting symptoms like
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
These symptoms could be a sign of Rat-Bite Fever, Hantavirus, or Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis. All of these are very rare but could be lethal if left untreated. This is why it’s incredibly important you seek medical attention if you’ve been bitten by a mouse.
It’s very rare for a pet mouse to bite you, but it happens. If your pet mouse bites it’s because they feel threatened, and hopefully, this article will help you avoid that!
Now you can spend your time playing with your mouse and not worrying about tending to any bites.