Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cow Mice

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I'm a foster home for a rodent rescue organisation, the Mousehole, and a while I ago I picked up 23 mice from someone who had wanted to breed them for his two corn snakes. But the snakes eat only one baby mouse a week or so and one litter can have as many as 10 babies who grow rapidly. So the guy realized that he would be drowning in mice soon and gave them all to me. Breeding mice for snakes requires a lot more work and room than most people think, if it's done properly.

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There were 10 females and 13 males. The males get neutered because unneutered male mice cannot live together, they fight to the death. Luckily, my vet is very competent and has neutered hundreds of mice for our organisation, loosing only very few (five or so). All the mice have found homes now, so I will have room again for new rescues by the beginning of the new year. Until then, most of the males wil stay with me because they can't be introduced to females until four to six weeks after they have been neutered.

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If you want to breed your own feeder mice, make sure that you are better prepared. You will find information on how to start your mousery on the Mousehole's website,

7 comments:

Indrani said...

I have never seen this breed before. They look so cute.

Rambling Woods said...

I haven't see this breed either. I know snakes have to eat...but it bothers me none the less...

Jedediah said...

I'm not really bothered by people feeding mice to their snakes, but I'm bothered by the fact that many just don't care how the mice live. They have the right to a good live, too with a decent cage, proper food and not being pregnant non-stop. There are many snake/herp owners who care for their feeder rodents very well, though.

A Living Nadneyda said...

I had no idea mice could be neutered. They're really beautiful, with that color pattern.

I kept a snake once, but I chose to buy all his mice at the pet store, so to avoid the over-breeding problem you described. If I were to do it again I might consider breeding them in small numbers. Our local pet stores are willing to come to arrangements about buying back rodents who have over-bred. At the moment it's not an option, unfortunately...

Anonymous said...

Male mice CAN live together, if they are from the same litter and have never been introduced to a female. My little brothers live together quite happily - they are nearly 12 months old now and have NEVER had a fight, on the contrary, they enjoy each other's company and the odd game of chase. They share food and are inseparable.

Jedediah said...

Anon, then your brother is lucky that nothing bad has happened yet. There are some rare exceptions, but I would never try housing unneutered males together, even from the same litter. The risk is just too high that you end up with something like this I've seen it many times and often with males that lived together for some time, often there was absolutely no warning before the big fight.

Jedediah said...

Argh, broken link. Here are some pictures of what will happen in almost all cases if you keep unneutered males together clicky