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I bought a pet fancy mouse three months ago. He was six months old at the time, so fairly young and not well socialized. I've spent a lot of time with him, getting him used to being handled and around people. Just like my last mouse, he did nip me a little bit and I taught him that nipping was not alright. The behavior disappeared and now I have a pretty good relationship with him. He willingly climbs onto my hand and even when I let him out to play in his playpen he still loves to come and climb all over me.

Recently, he started nipping again, but the behavior is... different. I don't feel that it is aggressive. His nips do not hurt at all and are very light. Additionally, he is very slow and methodical with his teeth. I let him do it for a few seconds and what ended up happening was he just lightly held my finger in his mouth (no pain or breaking of the skin). I've been trying to discourage the behavior, but he seems intent on continuing.

I'm not really sure what to think about the behavior. Is it social? Aggressive? Something odd that only he does? Should I discourage it or simply let him continue?

  • I don't know mice, but rabbits use their mouths for grooming those they care about, as well as for moving things around. They will use their mouth as part of their communications when asking for attention. Is it possible the mouse is trying to tell you that hand/finger should be petting/grooming it? Kind of like when a dog puts it nose under your hand. – James Jenkins Jan 13 '16 at 23:12
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It's non aggressive, if your fingers have the sent of food they may try to taste or they will do it to groom/have some fun.

Your little mouse seems to like you!

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This is definitely social behaviour. If it were aggressive, you'd be hurting, and it would be quick and lunging, and he would be showing other signs of aggression such as side-walking and puffiness. He definitely seems to like you.

From what you have described it seems as if this is affectionate behavior - does he lick you when he does it? I would say he is essentially 'grooming' you , though they usually lick as well. I wouldn't discourage it personally, but if it bothers you just let him know, give a little squeak etc.

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