Mice are social creatures -- in fact, living alone can stress out a mouse. And while they typically rely on the company of other mice, mice can also be quite social when it comes to people. Naturally, a mouse may be a little hesitant to be handled by a creature such as yourself. After all, you're quite large compared to him. But if you focus on developing a relationship gradually and with positivity and patience, soon your little rodent will love spending time cupped in the palm of your hand.
Spend time with your mouse while he's inside his cage. Make yourself somewhat conspicuous by talking to him regularly, especially when doing positive things like feeding him or giving him fresh water. He will associate you with good things, and learn that you aren't a threat.
Hand-feed him treats. Put a treat in the palm of your hand and gently lower your hand into the cage. Wait for him to approach your hand and take the treat -- doing this every time you give him a treat teaches him that the approach of your hand is a good thing, and that it is safe to interact with it.
Scoop him up in the palm of your hand once he is used to being around it. If he resists, gently grab him by the base of his tail and drop him into your palm -- make that hand off quickly, though, because while being held in such a manner isn't painful, he won't necessarily thank you for it.
Hold him in your hands for a few minutes, speaking gently to him before returning him to his cage. Do this everyday for gradually longer periods of time. This builds his confidence and doesn't overwhelm him.
- Give your mouse at least one other mouse to live and play with. Mice are social creatures, and one from the pet store is undoubtedly used to living with plenty of company. If you remove him from that environment and isolate him, he'll be stressed and unhappy. If you want multiple male mice to live together, they should be adopted at the same time -- unfamiliar adult males are prone to fighting. Female mice also do well living in groups, so try not to mix sexes. Otherwise, you'll shortly have a lot more mice than you planned on.
- Do not dangle your mouse by his tail, and especially do not pick him up by the tail from anywhere but the base. Excess dangling is stressful, and picking him up from the middle or tip of his tail is painful and dangerous.
Little mouse image by Multiart from Fotolia.com
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.