When it comes to mice, as well as many other rodents, reproduction is not considered a difficulty. If breeding is not controlled and mice are able to thrive freely, a single mother can produce more than 100 baby mice a year.
Until mice become mature enough to live on their own, which occurs about four weeks after birth, mothers are their primary caregiver during the litter’s early stages of life. Caregiving includes warmth, nursing every half hour, cleaning them and very interestingly, helping them with their digestion.
Until they grow into an older stage, newborns are not fully capable of digesting, urinating or defecating. Without mother’s intervention, newborns would certainly die. Every time after the mother has fed the newborns, she rubs their stomachs to help the digestion process until their systems are fully grown.
A week-old baby mouse’s fur is growing, but he has not yet opened his eyes. This is normal for his age.
As his ears get bigger, his hearing gets better and sometime in the second week, he’ll more than likely open his eyes for the first time. He will also begin testing solid foods. The weaning begins to take place between three to four weeks, after which the young mice will eat solid foods. They also transition into a stage affectionately known as the “flea” stage.
When growing mice reach this “flea” stage, you would think their new solid food diet would slow them down, but the opposite is true. They become extremely fast, jumpy and entertaining to watch.
Addie T. Lindsay is an accomplished writer and photographer of wildlife creatures, both big and small. She is 16 years old and resides in Tooele County. She can be reached at CritterChatter@live.com.