Many people want to have a pet that they can cuddle with. Especially if a pet also looks cute. Mice look cute to many people, but do they like to cuddle?
Mice like to cuddle, but only with each other. However, it is possible for mice to become so trusting that they will sit on your hand or body. But for this, you need patience and some treats. Mice are both too shy and too fragile for real cuddling.
Mice are very social animals that absolutely need to live in company. And with patience, they will become more trusting of humans as well, so you can take them in your hand.
Let’s take a closer look at whether mice cuddle with humans or with other mice and whether they are cuddly. Then we’ll explain how mice show their affection and how you can bond with your mice.
Finally, we also explain how to properly pick up a mouse, and what better not to do when picking it up.
Do Pet Mice Cuddle?
Mice don’t cuddle with humans the way we might be used to. A mouse will not snuggle up to you and rest its head on your chest.
Nor is it likely to lie down on top of you and fall asleep relaxed. That simply doesn’t suit mice.
However, it is very possible to get your mice to sit on your hand and walk around on you. When the mouse sits on your hand, you can also pet it.
But pay attention to whether it becomes restless or tries to escape. Then the mouse has had enough of you and does not want to be petted anymore.
That said, you should not expect this to happen right away. Mice need to build trust with you first. They need to learn that there is no danger to them from you.
This process takes time. It won’t be overnight that your mouse becomes trusting. Be patient and don’t give up and it will happen after a while.
Provided, of course, that you handle the mouse well. We explain in a separate chapter below how exactly you build the right bond with a mouse.
Mice also like burrows a lot. Therefore, it is a good idea to use your hands to form a kind of cave into which the mouse can retreat. This will please your mice very much once they have built up trust with you.
Do Pet Mice Cuddle Each Other?
Mice are very social animals that have a fixed hierarchy within their group. There are high-ranking animals and those that are subordinate.
In order to determine the rank order, there are fights between the mice. Of course, this has not much to do with cuddling. But it also belongs to the area of dealing with each other.
Mice certainly like to cuddle with each other. It may happen that you find your mice cuddling in the cage.
If a mouse wants to invite another mouse to cuddle, it shows this by a high-pitched squeaking or chirping.
What we interpret as cuddling of the mice is actually mostly social grooming. This is an important social behavior in mice and also in other social small mammals.
Social grooming is one of the reasons why mice and many other rodents should not be kept alone.
It has several important functions, both for the individual mouse and for the group of mice as a whole.
On the one hand, of course, social grooming serves to clean and maintain the fur. But it is also important for stress reduction in mice and for the touch stimulus, which is important for the mental health of mice.
In addition, social fur grooming ensures good cohesion in the group. If it does not take place in your group of mice, or if it takes place very little, this may indicate problems in the group.
Social grooming is also very important for maintaining group odor. Through social grooming, the group odor is modified and strengthened again and again. And this also strengthens the group as such.
However, laboratory studies have shown that the intensity of social grooming depends on the ancestry of the mice.
There are more aggressive and less aggressive family lines. With increasing aggressiveness in the family line, social grooming decreases.
Thus, there need not necessarily be problems in the group if the mice do not perform social grooming as intensively. Perhaps they simply belong to a more aggressive family line.
Are Pet Mice Affectionate?
Mice are very affectionate within their family and group. They can also quickly build a relationship with their human friends if you treat them well.
Within the group, it even goes so far that mice raise their offspring together. The mouse offspring live in group nests and are cared for by all group members.
Social grooming, which we discussed above, also shows that mice are affectionate. It is part of their well-being to have physical contact with their conspecifics.
Therefore, it is not healthy for mice to live alone. They need a group for their well-being and natural way of life. A group of mice should consist of at least four animals.
As far as the relationship with humans is concerned, mice give back what they get. If you treat them with affection, you will also get affection from them.
How Do You Bond With a Pet Mouse?
You’ve probably heard the phrase that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And this applies not only to people but also to mice.
The best way to make a mouse hand-tame is through treats. Try hand-feeding your mice treats like a sunflower seed, a pumpkin seed, or a nut. But don’t give them too many, it won’t be healthy for them.
If a mouse backs away from your hand at first, it means it is unsure and scared. Do not move your hand then and stay calm. Wait until the mouse comes by itself.
It will not be immediately that the mouse climbs on your hand. But with time, the mouse will lose more and more of its shyness and become more trusting. Eventually, it will sit on your hand and eat its treats there.
It is also important that you talk to your mice. Mice hear very well and also communicate a lot themselves through sounds. However, these are mostly in the ultrasonic range and not audible to us humans.
You will achieve the best results if you spend time with your mice every day. This is the quickest way for the mice to get to know and appreciate you.
How to Properly Pick up a Mouse
You can do a lot of things wrong when picking up mice. This is even more important when you consider how small and fragile mice are compared to us humans.
By the way, this is also a point to consider if you want to get mice as pets for your children. Mice have a very fragile physique.
It could happen that your child crushes or injures a mouse if he or she is not careful. Therefore, mice are not suitable as pets for children under the age of 10.
But now let’s get to the real topic, how to properly pick up a mouse and how not to do it.
How to Pick up a Mouse
In the beginning, when the mice have not been with you long, it is best not to pick them up at all.
Instead, use a can or cup in case you need to take the mice out of the cage for cleaning, for example. However, keep the container closed when the mouse is inside.
Mice are very fast, and they will be out of the can faster than you could grab them.
If a mouse is already willingly going onto your hand, you can start practicing picking it up. Move your hand up and down in the cage and see how the mouse behaves on your hand.
If it stays still, that’s a good sign. Try to gently grip the mouse with both hands when you take it out of the cage.
If the mouse is already quite tame, it may even stay sitting on your hand. Then you can also embrace it with one hand. However, do not grasp it too tightly under any circumstances.
Be aware that the mouse may bite you while you are holding it. It is very important that you do not let go of the mouse then. It would seriously injure itself by hitting the ground.
Instead, stay calm, clench your teeth, and carefully set the mouse down if its bite hurts more.
How not to Pick up a Mouse
You must never pick up a mouse by the tail. The tail in mice is extremely sensitive.
It could break off or the skin could tear. In any case, you would cause great pain to the mouse.
In an emergency, you can grab the mouse tightly by the root of the tail. But then you should immediately reach under the mouse to support it.
But this should really only happen in an emergency when you need to catch the mouse quickly for some reason.
Otherwise, you should always proceed as we have described above.
Conclusion: Do Pet Mice Cuddle?
Mice certainly like to cuddle, but prefer to do so with their conspecifics. This is then mostly social grooming.
However, it is not at all unlikely that your mice will also bond with you. Have patience, then it will work out.
Be careful when handling mice, because their small bodies are very fragile.
If you treat your mice well, they will also cuddle with you – or at least sit on your hand and walk around on you.