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Can You Help Baby Mice Survive Without Their Mom?

Can You Help Baby Mice Survive Without Their Mom?

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Most people aren’t too keen on having mice in their homes. You might even actively try to eliminate mice using either humane or lethal methods.

However, it can be very sad when you discover that there are baby mice somewhere on the property. This is especially sad when the baby mice appear to have lost their mother.

Sometimes mothers will have to abandon baby mice for various reasons. It could be that the mother was killed by a predator or a mousetrap, but there are also other reasons to consider.

You’ll even find that some mothers will abandon the babies when they know that they’re about to die. A mother doesn’t want to die near the babies since that could attract predators to the area and ultimately get the babies killed, too.

There are even mouse mothers that just go away because they feel the need to take a break. They might come back after some time with food for the baby mice.

If the mother mouse is truly gone, though, then will the baby mice be able to survive? Is it possible for baby mice to survive without their mom?

It Depends

Litter of Newborn Mice in Nest

The answer to this question is that it depends on how old the baby mice in question are. If the baby mice are particularly young, then it’s unlikely that they will survive without the mother.

However, if the baby mice are close enough to maturity, then they’re going to have a fighting chance of survival. Newborn baby mice are pretty much helpless because they rely on their mothers for so many things.

Newborn mice can’t eat normal food, and they’re only able to eat by being fed milk by the mother mouse. It takes around one month for newborn mice to be able to eat solid food.

Also, newborn mice can’t even open their eyes or move properly yet. They are pretty much stuck wherever the nest is and are completely reliant on the mother for everything.

Interestingly, even simple actions such as being able to urinate and defecate are taught to baby mice by the mother. Baby mice don’t learn this behavior on their own, and that can lead to survival issues.

Most baby mice that get abandoned by their mothers will never make it out of the nest. They will simply starve to death before they’re able to do anything.

If the baby mouse was close enough to maturity, then there might be a chance, but it’s still unlikely that it will survive. Baby mice are very fragile and not very capable of doing much.

This frailty makes them an easy target for predators, and this means that baby mice that do manage to make it out of the nest might not survive for long.

At Three Weeks Baby Mice Might Have a Chance

Litter of Mice With Eyes Starting to Open

Baby mice might have a chance of survival if they are abandoned at three weeks old. At this age, the baby mice will start to be able to open their eyes and explore a bit.

The baby mice will begin to learn how to eat solid food at this point, and that means that they could potentially survive if they can find food. It’s also notable that the muscles of the baby mice will become more developed at this stage, and they’ll be able to be more active than before.

Suddenly, the baby mice are going to be able to stay active during the day, and this means that foraging for food might be a possibility. Survival will still be quite tough for a mouse that is this young, but it’s not impossible like it was when the baby mice were even younger.

At Five or Six Weeks Old the Baby Mice Should Be Fine

Juvenile Mice in Woman's Hands

At five or six weeks old, things are going to change significantly for baby mice. This is around the time that the baby mice start to grow fur, and they also become even stronger than before.

The energy levels of the baby mice will increase enough that they will be able to pretty much act like normal mice. They can start to explore the world and look for food like mice normally do.

Even if the baby mice are abandoned at this stage, it’s not going to matter all that much. The baby mice have pretty much reached maturity or come close enough that it doesn’t matter any longer.

You Should Ensure That the Mice Have Been Abandoned

If you come across baby mice without seeing an adult mouse with them, then you might assume that they have been abandoned. As mentioned earlier, this might not always be the case.

It’s possible that the mother mouse has just stepped away to look for food or to rest for a spell. The mother mouse could return at some point if you leave the baby mice alone.

This is why many people choose to simply ignore the baby mice that they find because they want to let nature take its course. In some ways, this might be the best thing to do since it’s hard to say what’s really going on with the mother mouse.

If the mother mouse doesn’t appear to be coming back, then you might want to make a decision about whether you’re going to intervene. It’s up to you to figure out if you wish to intervene at all or if you’d rather not try to help.

You Could Help Abandoned Baby Mice

Litter of Newborn Mice in Woman's Hands

It’s possible that you could help abandoned baby mice to survive if you’re so inclined. It really comes down to how you feel about mice and if you think it’s the right thing to do.

Baby mice will need a lot of assistance to survive, and this means that you’ll need to have some time to care for them. You’ll need to get them a formula that they can eat and you’ll also have to keep them warm.

Since baby mice don’t have fur, they’re going to be susceptible to the cold. Finding a warm spot for them to stay is imperative, and you’ll also have to feed them the right stuff.

You can buy formula for rodents at pet food stores, and it’s even possible to order the stuff online (link to amazon). Some people also purchase such things from veterinarians, but not all veterinarians care for rodents.

Typically, you’ll be feeding the baby mice a type of liquid formula, and this means feeding the mice with a bottle. You just feed the baby mice until they’re full, and this process usually takes about five minutes.

You’ll also have to go through the process of teaching the baby mouse how to poop and urinate. This is an odd thing to have to do, but it can be done by getting a cotton ball damp with water and then stroking it downward underneath the mouse’s tail.

Failure to do this means that the baby mice might rupture their bladders. It’s a strange thing to have to do, but it’s essential for the survival of the baby mice.

Should You Try to Help Baby Mice?

Three Young Mice in Man's Hands

This question is a bit more complicated because many people wouldn’t be inclined to help baby mice. Generally, if you find baby mice that have been abandoned, then they’re likely going to be wild mice.

It would be pretty unusual for a pet mouse to abandon its babies, and this means that these aren’t the type of mice that you want to keep around. Most people would likely choose to humanely exterminate the baby mice.

This is certainly an option, but many people don’t have the heart to do this. It’s one thing to exterminate a fully-grown mouse, but exterminating baby mice is something else entirely.

Regardless, this is likely going to be the best option for many because you’d have to figure out what to do with the mice after caring for them. Would you keep them as pets even if it wouldn’t be practical to do so?

It’s important to note that this decision is completely up to you. You can decide what the best course of action is based on your own feelings about the baby mice.

If you think that caring for the baby mice is the honorable thing to do, then that’s perfectly fine. You might have a bit of a conundrum about what to do with the mice eventually, but you can deal with that at a later date.

Final Thoughts

Baby mice are unlikely to survive without having a mother to help care for them. Newborn mice are especially vulnerable, and they aren’t even able to open their eyes or move around much for the first three weeks of their lives.

If a mouse is abandoned at around five or six weeks old, then it has a good shot at survival. It’ll start growing some fur and should be able to look around for food. Mice that are younger than this have much worse chances of actually surviving without a mother.

You can try to save the baby mice yourself, but this might not be a good idea depending on your perspective. You can decide what your feelings are, but at least you know what can be done now no matter what you decide to do.

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Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

Currently trying to nurse 5 baby mice. About 5-7days old I reckon. I'll let you know how I get on.


Wednesday 16th of March 2022

Interesting. I just adopted a baby mouse named Wilson. I will do my best!


Sunday 25th of July 2021

It would be helpful if you included humane ways to exterminate baby mice. Your comments were helpful, confirming my expectation that they can't survive w/o their mother. Since mice are a problem at my house, I do not welcome a mouse nursery in my house nor do I want to augment the outdoor population. I'm sure some people throw the unwanted babies in their toilet. There's the car tailpipe & other unsavory & inhumane methods... but short of "cut off their heads with a butcher's knife," what do you suggest? Taking them live to the town dump only adds to their pest control problems. Fyi, these 4 babies were found inside an old standard typewriter in my sunporch. The mother had moved a large quantity of soft pink fiberglass insulation into the typewriter where it couldnt be seen. Very clever. Mice are adorably cute & interestingly smart creatures. I hate to have to kill them but they are mercilessly destructive. So kill them I do, as humanely as possible. Sadly, these babies' mom will probably die tonight when she returns for her babies. Thx for the baby mouse info. Lynn


Tuesday 12th of April 2022

@Richard Brand, none of that has anything to do with prey animals. You're sick and demented