Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Mice

One of my coworkers found two baby mice in one of the parking garages on campus (there are a set of owls that live in that garage so we knew what happened to the mom and the others in the litter)  they had their fur but they hadn't opened their eyes yet. He put them into a box and brought them to our office, where he was promptly told that they couldn't stay in the office. My roommate wasn't super happy about it, but I brought the mice home.



They spent a lot of the time that they were initially in the box huddled together, but and they seemed extremely small!


I got a 5.5 gallon tank to keep them in. At first I just used the box to be able to cover the top because their eyes weren't open so I didn't think they would be trying to escape, but after they opened their eyes I invested in a wire lid for the top which did the trick.


I got a 1mL syringe (without a needle) and some puppy formula to be able to feed them. I got it from the pharmacy and they didn't charge me anything for it! The pharmacist was thrilled to hear about my plans to keep the mice alive and said that it was the smallest syringe that they had. 


The mice had really big appetites and were eating like champs! At first I would feed them every 3-4 hours including over night, which was really killer, but I was determined to keep the little guys alive. 


I was really happy to come home during my lunch break from work to feed the mice to find that their eyes were open! They were looking right at me when I came! (It was at this point that I switched to the wire lid from the box - I didn't want them to be loose in my apartment)


I had the mice for about a month and every day they were getting bigger and more active! I weaned them off of the puppy formula and onto various berries and veggies that I had available in addition to a seed mix made specifically for mice. I tried to space out when I would feed them, and to spread out/hide the food so that they would be able to use some of their natural foraging behaviors in addition to keeping them from getting totally bored.


For a while I was on the fence about whether or not I was going to keep them or release them, but after a while one of the mice started to do backflips in the tank and I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep them happily in captivity with me. I decided to release them, and worked on finding a good location to do so. 

Now when I made that decision, I was faced with a lot of people who were involved in the mice's story saying that I shouldn't release them because they would get out into the world and be killed by predators or starve, etc. But I knew that I had given them the best chance that I could to be able to survive, and that they would be happier out in the world even for a shorter amount of time than they would be if I had kept them for their entire lives.

Once I found the location that I thought would be good for them to live, I put them into shoe boxes for travel (It was easier to catch them separately - I never handled them so they were strongly against being picked up or touched) and then I let them go.

I took a video of when I released them because I wanted to be able to look back on it when I think about this experience. I also thought that it would be an incomplete story without something documenting the conclusion! 

I don't know what happened with the mice after they were out of site, but I like to think that they're doing well out there (which I know is probably wishful thinking).


I'm really happy that I was able to gain some new knowledge and experience from these mice, and that I was able to give them a fighting chance after being found in the parking garage! It was also really nice to be able to have some smaller rodents again. I had hamsters and dwarf hamsters growing up but I've gotten really used to the size of my guinea pigs which are significantly larger.

If you have any questions about the mice let me know! I'll see you on Tuesday

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