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 Depressed Mice!--any suggestions??

A few weeks ago my husband got me three mice! Since getting married & moving across the country (& having to leave my cats who were like my babies, with family back in Ohio) I have been so lonely for animals in my life. So getting these sweet little girls was super exciting!
We set them up in a 20 gallon tank (the long kind, not standard) w/ tons of tubes, hidey boxes, a wheel, etc. It’s like a paradise compared to the overcrowded pet store cage they came from where about 30 mice were all fighting to cram into one cardboard tube to sleep.

All three of these female mice had a very different personality. One is brown w/ a white stripe all around her belly. We named her Spook b/c she is the most skittish little thing I’ve ever seen. She will take food from my fingers, but if she thinks someone is going to pick her up she bolts like her life depends on it. If you manage to actually catch her she jumps out of your hand in a panic. The white mouse was brave & bold from the start. She likes to explore & seemed like the "leader" of the group. She showed no fear of humans & quickly learned to take food from my open hand. She will let us hold her & is a little nippy too (she’s got attitude). She has taken little "test" bites of my nails & fingertips several times but never bites down in an attempt to hurt me. I know mice can easily break the skin if they want to.
The third mouse was a little smaller than the others & was a really gorgeous pale tan color. I named her Miso & she quickly became my favorite. She was shy at first but I got her used to me & she soon took food from my hand. Within four days she was so friendly she often walked along the cage while the other two slept & she stood up seeming to ask us to pick her up & pet her. She loved to climb & be held.

What was weird was that a couple days after getting them, Miso started to look different than the others. You know how young healthy mice have that sleek, shiny look to them? Well Miso’s eyes appeared sunken in a little & she seemed to have a kind of hunched over posture that mice tend to get when they are much older. I thought something wasn’t quite right but she ate well & always wanted to play so I didn’t know what could be wrong. The other morning when I was leaving for school, I saw her lying alone on her side, breathing in a way that I knew meant she was dying. She didn’t live more than an hour or two after that. It broke my heart. She was so young & I was already very attached to her.

The other two mice also seemed to love her. I always saw them snuggling up to sleep next to her & taking turns grooming her. Since she’s been dead, they both sleep almost all the time. The white mouse who was so bold before now does not want anything to do with my husband or me. She doesn’t react fearfully like Spook, but if I try to pick her up or interact with her at all, she walks away & will run into a tube if she feels I’m going to pick her up. To me, their drastic change in behavior can only mean that they miss their friend (b/c they show no signs at all of being sick). What do you guys think?

I’ve only ever kept pairs of mice in the past. They would always become attached to each other but when one died, the remaining mouse seemed to behave the same. I usually got a second mouse soon after if the single mouse was young b/c I didn’t want them to have to live a solitary life since I know they don’t really like that. Should I get another mouse for the the two anti-social girls?? Or is there something I can do to help them feel better? I mean should I handle them even though they clearly don’t want me to? Or should I just leave them alone & give them their space? I’m afraid that the longer I do that, the more anti-social they will become.

Have any of you dealt with something like this?

04/04/11  06:31pm


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  Message To: Scarletsnake   In reference to Message Id: 2212935

 Depressed Mice!--any suggestions??

Here are Spook & Miso exploring their new cage right after I brought them home. Notice how Miso’s fur is shiny & sleek looking. (she’s the orangey-tan one)

Now here are Spook & Miso napping together about two weeks after the first picture was taken. I know it’s hard to tell since they are all curled up, but can you sort of tell that Miso’s fur texture had changed? She started to look a little shaggy or ragged. This is a look I have seen only in my elderly mice, or a couple of mice I had years ago that died from a severe mite infestation (I checked all these new girls for mites & that is not the problem here).

04/04/11  09:27pm


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  Message To: Scarletsnake   In reference to Message Id: 2212958

 Depressed Mice!--any suggestions??

I’m so sorry for your loss. I had two rats, and one died of a tumor recently. A few days after she was diagnosed, she died in her sleep. I am still getting over it, and I know I cried for a week after that. I hope Miso is okay in heaven, she looks pretty too. And I can see how her fur is mussed and dull.

04/17/11  08:25pm


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  Message To: PhantomWings   In reference to Message Id: 2214883

 Depressed Mice!--any suggestions??

Awww, thank you for your kind words. Miso was a very pretty mouse. I’m sorry for your loss too! Rats are so full of personality & easy to bond with. It’s sad they are so prone to tumors. I’m glad it sounds like your rat didn’t suffer though & had a peaceful death in her sleep. I hope that your other rat is doing OK & not too depressed. My other two mice seem to be coming around a little bit now.

04/22/11  12:30am


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  Message To: Scarletsnake   In reference to Message Id: 2215477

 Depressed Mice!--any suggestions??

I’m from Ohio too!! We moved across the country and had to leave beyond a cat and a dog. i was heartbroken but we found good homes for both of them.

08/19/11  04:55am


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  Message To: Iggy96   In reference to Message Id: 2233289

 Depressed Mice!--any suggestions??

Where did you move too? Maybe it was climate change? Or she had something from the pet shop that was like a ticking time bomb. Sorry for your loss though.

09/13/11  03:54am


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  Message To: Brokenkrown   In reference to Message Id: 2236774

 Depressed Mice!--any suggestions??

i work at a petstore so i have seen a lot of sick animals unfortunately and from the way you described the first mouse it sounds like it might be a respiratory infection? they tend to hunch up and look the way u described with that.

i would take them to a vet ASAP, as they will not recover from this on their own. even if the other ones may not appear ill, animals try to hide an illness for as long as possible so they don’t seem weak to predators until they are so sick they just can’t go on any more.

good luck and i hope everything ends up ok with ur other 2.

09/16/11  09:26am

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