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Why is My Pet Mouse Stressed?

Stress is an important factor to consider no matter what type of pet you keep at home. Pet mice can become stressed too and they can also have health problems because of it on the long term. You need to be able to examine the situation and figure out why your mouse is stressed before your pet gets sick.

Although keeping pet mice at home is not rocket science, people who have no experience with it can run into problems rather quickly. This is why it is important to do your research in order to be able to take good care of your pet mouse.

Common mistakes include keeping mice in containers that are too small and keeping them with the wrong mates. It is also not uncommon to place the container in a noisy environment where maybe even other pets can get near your pet mouse.

In this article, we are going to talk about the various reasons why your pet mouse can be stressed and what you can do about it.

Reasons of Stress in Pet Mice

A pet mouse has to be kept in a container of some sort, which is usually either a glass tank or a metal wire cage. While no container can be too big for a mouse, it can definitely be too small. In that case, stress is going to build up rather quickly.

People often fall into the mistake of keeping mice males together in the same container. The problem with this is that males are aggressive towards each other. It is better to keep females together if you want to maintain a peaceful and stress-free environment.

Feeding your mouse healthy foods is important but feeding them enough food throughout the day is even more crucial. Your pet mouse can get stressed if you keep him hungry for a long time. Adult mice need to eat an average of 6 grams of food each day.

You can split this amount in two and feed them two meals throughout the day. Keeping your mouse in a noisy environment can be another issue. Out in the wild, mice are always on the lookout for predators. Hearing noises all the time can be rather disturbing for them and cause a lot of stress.

There are also other factors such as sleep deprivation and pregnancy that can cause your pet mouse to go through stressful periods. Make sure that your pet has a good sleeping schedule, considering the fact that they are nocturnal creatures.

Obviously, your mouse will be rather stressed at times when he is sick. Going through illness weakens the immune system and makes your pet become irritated. When this happens, you need to cure him as quickly as possible and with the help of a veterinarian if necessary.

Can Pet Mouse Die of Stress?

One thing you need to understand about stress in general is that it can greatly weaken the immune system. This is true for us, humans and also true to animals such as pet mice. All the abovementioned scenarios can lead to a great deal of stress for them.

This is why it is so important to create the ideal environment for your pet and feed him regularly. Mice are sensitive and fragile rodents and they have specific needs that have to be met. If you notice that your mouse is grooming excessively or loses his appetite, there might be a problem.

Stress can lead to a wide range of diseases for the simple reason that the immune system becomes vulnerable. This is when even the weakest virus or bacterium can become a potential threat. Your pet mouse can’t die from stress alone, yet he can certainly die as a result of stress-induced diseases.

However, your mouse certainly can become bald because excessive grooming is one of the main ways that mice deal with stress. They will literally bite their fur off during those stressful times.

Can Pet Mice be Depressed?

Although mice can communicate with each other in their own way, they can hardly communicate with us. Thus, they can’t tell you if they are depressed or not at the moment. In laboratories, scientists have set up something called the forced swimming test.

They have put the rodent in water to see how eager it is to swim and eventually escape. Mice that didn’t make it to the end were classified as depressed. There is another test called sugar water preference. This one showed that if depressed mice were given access to sweetened water and plain water, they showed no preference.

If a mouse is not depressed, he would always drink from the sweetened water. This is because his ability to derive pleasure is not cancelled by the state of being depressed. What we can conclude from experiments like these is that mice are basically more eager to do things when they are not depressed.

If your mouse shows no interest in things that gave him pleasure before, then it might be a sign of depression. During this time, your pet will seem unenthusiastic about things and rather bored. Depression also makes it less likely for your mouse to fight for his life in a difficult situation.

Wrapping Up

Pet mice can be stressed for various reasons. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand these reasons so that you can focus on them more. In general, it is very unlikely that your mouse will be stressed if you know exactly how to take proper care of him.

For example, you need to be aware of the fact that you can’t keep males together. Other important factors include a healthy diet, plenty of space and decent ventilation in the container. Make sure to clean the container at least once a week.

Moreover, it is always a great idea to include a few toys and exercise tools in the cage. Mice are curious and they are also full of energy. If there is always something to do in the cage, then they are very unlikely to get depressed.

avatar I’m Peter King, writer and editor of this blog. I’m a lifelong animal advocate and volunteer at the Animal Rescue League. On this blog I help people learn about pet mice. As a responsible pet owner, you should learn about your pet’s need before getting it. If you have any question or need help, please leave your comment below.

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