15 Tips On How to Tame a Mouse


So, you have finally brought home your new pet mouse, and the little guy is looking quite cute in their cage. You are watching them sniffing around their cage, and coming to terms with their new home. 

But there’s one important thing that you want to do, and that’s to go ahead and pet them. However, in order to do this, you need to understand how to tame your mouse.

After all, they are not going to come to you all tame when you have bought them from a pet store. It’s all down to you and your ability to break through the barrier of them being a wild animal, and turn them into a loving pet that will become one of your best friends.

But help is at hand, and what we have here are 15 different tips that you can use in order to successfully tame you mouse. 

Brown mouse cupped in owner's hands

Tip 1 – Start as Soon as Possible

The first tip is to start with the taming process as soon as possible. This is not something that will happen overnight, so the sooner you start in building a bond between your mouse and you, then the better the outcome is going to be.

Of course, your mouse is probably just old enough to be sold as a pet, so the good news is that they have not had too much exposure to scary events. The reason why this is so helpful is because of the way in which a mouse is such a timid creature. So many things will scare them, and that’s going to make it harder for you to get over that particular hump.

Tip 2 – Get Them Used to You Being Around

This is another important part of being able to tame your mouse, but you need to make sure that they are becoming accustomed to you being around. To achieve this, there are several things you can do that will help move things along.

First, make sure they get used to you supplying them with food and water in their cage. They will be intelligent enough to work out that you are someone who can give them something that they like.

Also, and sticking with the cage idea, you should make sure they get used to you cleaning out their cage. Do this on a regular basis, and do it before you even start working on taming your pet mouse. 

Tip 3 – Offer Them Your Scent

A mouse does rely on scent in order to determine what is safe and what represents danger. Of course, you want them to think of you as being safe, so what you need to do is to leave them something in their cage that will remind them of you. [Source]

By leaving something in their cage that contains your scent, it does mean they will grow accustomed to the scent, and they will then realize that there’s nothing to worry about when you then start to interact with them.

This is a very simple step, but it is one that you need to follow through on as it can pave the way for future success.

Tip 4 – Bribe Them With Treats

One of the good things about a mouse is the fact that they are very open to being bribed with treats. Actually, you should start to do this while they are still in their cage, and before you get them to venture outside of this safe haven.

By offering them up some of their favorite treats, it does mean they will also start to build more trust in you. Remember that a mouse is a scavenger, so they are going to focus on a food source and see it as a very positive thing. 

Find out the sorts of treats they prefer, and then don’t overfeed them with those treats away from times where you want to have this interaction. You need them to associate a particular treat with something pleasant, and to also link it directly to you. If you achieve this, then it will mean they will grow to like you, and also become tamer in your presence. 

Tip 5 – Work at Handling Your Mouse

You need to work at handling your mouse, but only do so after you have spent that time allowing them to get used to your scent. 

When handling them, do so for only a short period of time at first as it’s going to be something that stresses them out. Also, don’t pick them up and lift them high off the ground. Your mouse will start to freak out if you do that from the start.

Instead, stroke them even while they are in their cage. Keeping them in familiar surroundings will make a real difference to your mouse as it means they are less likely to worry about what’s going on. 

Use your forefinger and gently stroke your mouse. Don’t apply pressure as they will not be too happy with that. This is also going to help them to grow even more accustomed to your scent, and that wil be a big thing when it comes to being able to tame your mouse even further.

Tip 6 – Slowly See About Lifting Your Mouse

If your mouse is showing signs of being quite comfortable around you, then you can perhaps move onto the next step which is to see about lifting your mouse. This is something where you need to take your time with it all. Remember, a predator will pick up the mouse, so this is going to be scary for them the first time it happens.

If you plan on lifting your mouse, cup them in your hand and make sure their hind area is being supported. This will help them relax in your hands. However, please do not lift them too high or even take them too far away from their cage the first few times you do this. It works better if your mouse feels they have something that is familiar to them.

Also, don’t lift them and hold them in your hand for an extended period of time when it’s the first few attempts. Keep the time short and then put them back into their cage. They need to learn that no harm will come to them when you pick them up, and that’s the easiest way of achieving this.

Tip 7 – Wear Short Sleeves

When getting your mouse used to being handled, make sure you wear short sleeves. This is to help with the act of getting them to recognize your scent, and it simply gives them more space to do this. 

Long sleeves will mask your scent. They will pick up the smell of whatever you used to wash your clothes while we want them to get the same scent as they do when you go to pick them up with your hands.

Building that sense of trust is far more important than people tend to realize. Allowing them to explore your scent whenever possible is going to work wonders for trust, so try to let your pet mouse come into contact with you as often as they can.

Brown mouse sitting on owner's hand

Tip 8 – Allow Them to Run Over Your Arms

One other reason why you should wear short sleeves is because you should get down on the floor and allow them to run around and up and over your arms. They will see this as being a chance to explore, and a mouse always wants to explore. You can use your arms like a barrier of some sorts, but remembering that the mouse will climb over, so keep an eye on them and let them have some fun.

Once again, they will start to recognize your scent with fun and that there’s no danger. Also, this turns out to be a rather cute game for them to play. The only thing is you need to allow them to come to you and to explore at their own pace. Don’t force the issue or that is more likely to backfire on you, and you want to avoid this.

Tip 9 – Play With Your Mouse Every Single Day

You need to play with your mouse every single day to help tame them. Work your way up to spending 30 minutes a day playing with them. However, you need to remember that this is something that will take time.

Start off by playing with them for around 5 minutes before returning them to their cage. Continually check to see how they are faring with this time spent with you, and if they are clearly relaxed and enjoying it, then you can start to build the time.

This is simply all about you building the bond between you and your mouse. You want it to get to the stage where they are happy about being in your company, so handling them every single day is going to make a huge difference.

Tip 10 – If They Bite, Don’t React

A mouse is going to bite you if they feel scared and worried that something bad is going to happen. However, the way you react to them biting is going to play a major role in how things then proceed in the future.

Even though it will be tough, don’t react by throwing your hand back or making sudden movements. They will then relate those actions to something negative, and they are then more likely to associate your hand with something bad, and the trust will be broken.

Instead, if they do bite, then simply move your hand away slowly and without those sudden movements. That is more likely to prevent them from building that association between your hand and being scared the next time you come close to them.

Tip 11 – Never Interact When They Have Just Stirred After a Sleep

If you see that your mouse has just stirred after sleeping, then please do not try to interact with them. They are just like us in that they need time to adjust to their surroundings, and how little do we tend to enjoy people interacting with us when we are trying to wake?

If you do try to interact, then chances are that your pet mouse will be exceptionally gumpy, and they are most likely to react in a negative way. They will often try to nip you, and they will start to associate you with something bad happening to them.

Instead, you need to let them settle after a nap, and only after some time should you go ahead and try to handle them in some way.

Tip 12 – Always Speak Softly and Slowly

When talking to your mouse, make sure you speak softly and slowly. Sudden noises will spook your mouse, and your voice can easily do this if you are not careful. 

When you are going to talk to your mouse, let them see that you are there before you go ahead and say anything. Coming up to them suddenly and then speaking at your normal volume is only going to do one thing, and that’s scare them.

If you do speak loudly, then your mouse is intelligent enough to start to link that sudden noise with being scared, and you are that link. They could then find it harder to settle in your presence, and that’s hardly going to help you when it comes to being able to tame your pet mouse.

Tip 13 – Use a Cup to Help a Nervous Mouse

You may find that your mouse is too anxious to be picked up by you, but that’s all absolutely fine. Instead, there is going to be a way around this issue, and it’s to use a cup.

If you can tempt your mouse to walk into a cup, it’s best to use treats to do this, then you will find that you can then turn the cup so your mouse is inside it, and then pick them up. You will still want to have your hand over the top of the cup to stop them from simply leaping out, but it will get them used to the sensation of being out of their cage while still feeling safe.

This is all to do with the idea of them feeling they have a solid surface that they are in touch with, so their anxiety will be reduced. Perhaps use this time to gently stroke them and talk softly to them so they associate your scent and sounds with a far more pleasant experience.

Tip 14 – Work on Proofing its Behavior

When we talk about proofing their behavior, what we mean is you need to work on building up their confidence that not everything is going to be a threat or dangerous to them. 

One trick is to use music. A mouse will tend to link the loud sounds of music to something that is scary, but you can’t go around without ever playing music again in your life.

As with other things that are scary to your mouse, you need to build them up to getting used to the sounds. Play music close to them, but softly and nothing that is going to suddenly leap up when it comes to the noise levels. They will then learn that not every sound is a threat.

Another method is to have different people interact with your mouse. The aim here is to help them to see that more than one human can be trusted, and this will go a long way to helping tame your mouse. [Source]

However, when it comes to getting multiple people to interact with them, you need to make sure that they go through the same process as you regarding getting your mouse used to your scent. Don’t think you can cut corners here as it won’t work.

Tip 15 – Patience is Key

The final tip is to remain patient. Be prepared to go back a few steps every once in an while after your pet mouse has become spooked by something. You will get there with taming them as a mouse is very intelligent and can determine when things are not a threat to them. You need to keep in mind that they are very alert to everything that is going on and are instinctually scared.

It’s important that you seek to break those links they have created through nature. You can only do this when you are patient with them, and know that hurdles will have to be overcome.

The 15 tips we have listed above are going to make life so much easier for any owner who is looking at trying to tame their pet mouse. Like we have said throughout, this is something that takes time, but it will all be worth it in the end when you are able to have this interaction with your mouse.

Put in the effort, and you will be rewarded in turn. Your mouse will love you and be very affectionate toward you, and that is what every owner should be looking to achieve.

Barry Gray

Barry is a freelance writer from Scotland. He has written about pets for over a decade, and his work has been turned into a range of ebooks, courses, and material for diplomas. Barry is passionate about all animals, but particularly dogs, fish, rabbits, birds and spiders. You can find out more about Barry at https://mercurypets.com/our-writers/

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