As cute and gentle as an animal may seem, you better know your stuff about his species before you welcome him into your household. From feeding requirements to safety around children, knowledge is definitely power. Fortunately for rodent lovers, biting is extremely uncommon behavior in most pet mice.
Do Pet Mice Bite?
When mice become used to being touched by people, they rarely bite, according to the Michigan Humane Society. Once a mouse has adjusted fully to handling by humans and domestication as a whole, he will likely be very docile and gentle. As always, however, exceptions may exist.
Certain exceptions exist that may cause even the tamest of mice to bite or nip at a person. If a mouse does resort to biting, it probably is due to being scared rather than belligerence or aggression. If you attempt to grasp or touch a mouse who is nervous or frightened, or a mouse that's not socialized, he may respond by biting.
Other Possible Biting Situations
Apart from fear, a couple of other situations may trigger a mouse to bite a person. If a mother mouse is defending her youngsters, for example, she's liable to bite. If you're attempting to pet your mouse and your hands smell a lot like tasty food, he may bite at you thinking your fingers are edibles.
Proper, sufficient socialization is key to rearing a tame and friendly mouse. Make sure to touch and handle your wee pet frequently. If you ignore your mouse and don't interact with him enough, he may develop some aggressive behavioral patterns toward humans, so take note. Socialize new mice by offering treats in the cage by hand and speaking softly to acclimate them to your voice. Stroke them and gently pick them up when they're comfortable taking treats. Gradually increase the length of the handling sessions.
Rodents such as mice, gophers and rats do not commonly carry rabies, the North Dakota Department of Health notes. However, it's important to be cautious in the event of any animal bite. If a mouse bites you or anyone else in your household, alert a doctor to the situation immediately -- no time for any hesitation whatsoever. The likelihood is your vet will give you a clean bill and send you home. Don't take a chance with broken skin.
- ASPCA: Mouse Care
- Michigan Humane Society: Veterinary Care
- The Humane Society of the United States: Mice - The Right Pet for You?
- New England Animal Control/Humane Academy: Caring for Pet Mice
- American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association: Pet Rats & Mice
- 2ndChance.info: Pet Mice
- North Dakota Department of Health: Rabies Questions and Answers
- white mouse on pumpkin image by katja kodba from Fotolia.com