• The first thing to remember when you are picking up or holding your mouse is this: “You are much, much bigger than he or she is”. A frightened mouse can be very difficult to pick up. They will run zigzags all over their cage in an attempt to elude the unknown giant hand coming to scoop them up. Although this is normal at first, the best way to pick up your mouse is to teach it not to be afraid of you. A properly trained mouse will walk right into your hand as soon as you put it in the cage.

• If you have to pick up a frightened mouse, the safest way to do so is by softly pinching the base of the tail (the part closest to the body) and lifting up the mouse enough to slide your hand under his or her body. Keep holding the tail even when the mouse is in your palm to prevent it from jumping out of your hand. Mice typically will not jump on to anything if the fall is more than a foot or so, but frightened animals are unpredictable and may jump from heights sufficient to hurt themselves.

You should not squeeze the body of a mouse from the sides or try to scoop it up from its cage as you could easily hurt it (remember, mice are tiny and it doesn’t take much to hurt them). Picking them up like this also frightens them, so its best to stick to the method mentioned above. You may have seen people pick up mice by their tails and lifting them up. While this doesn’t really hurt the mouse it is an uncomfortable position for them and you run a much higher risk of damaging their tails. How would you like it if a giant carried you around upside-down by your leg?

He still won’t come out! If your mouse is too agile for you to catch, or you’re not comfortable picking up a mouse in this way there are a few other tricks you can use until your mouse becomes accustomed to you. One way is to simply leave the door to the cage open. You can put the enclose on something high so the mouse won’t escape one he leaves his cage and it will be much easier to get him into your hands. Another way that works great for me is putting a paper towel tube either into the cage completely, or sticking halfway out the door of the cage. Your curious little mouse will likely crawl into the tube to examine it, and you can remove it and let him crawl into your hand.

• Mice are intrepid explorers are probably won’t be keen to just sit in your hand. Our little mouse Elmo would try to run up my arm onto my shoulder and head. Make sure you keep a close eye on your mouse or he might end up hatching a daring escape. Their little claws make them excellent climbers so making a transition from your shoulder to a curtain is no biggie.

• Continue to the next section: Training & Socializing Mice…