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Mouse Throws Food Out Of Its Cage

Why would a mouse throw food out of its cage?

By Carol Lawton
Posted: May 13, 2009, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: Why is my mouse throwing food out of his cage? Can you give me information on how to keep him healthy?
A: There are several reasons why your mouse might be pushing food out of his cage. The first possibility is that you are putting his food in an area that he has designated as a bathroom, and he is soiling the food. Mice are clean animals, so he would try to shove the dirty food out of the cage. Move the food dish to a different corner or to the center of the cage to solve this problem.

The second possibility is that your mouse is bored and has resorted to digging in his food dish for amusement. If this is the case, add new toys or a wheel to keep him busy. Your mouse may also be digging to create a comfortable sleeping space. A cozy den, an igloo, a small box or a coconut half (available in the reptile area of your pet store) will provide your mouse with a much better alternative.

The most likely reason your mouse throws his food out of the cage is that he simply doesn’t like what you’re feeding him. He doesn’t consider the food edible, so he throws it out.

Mice do very well on a simple diet of good-quality lab blocks, supplemented daily with a level teaspoon of one of the following foods that you probably have in your kitchen: rolled oats, mixed grains, fresh vegetables, whole grain breads or whole grain cereal. Oats are a favorite and should be given several times a week, but add the other items occasionally to keep his diet interesting.

Fruit and nuts can also be offered, but can lead to obesity if you overdo it. Limit fruit to a piece the size of a single peanut once a week, and nuts to no more than a peanut-size serving each week.

Remember to keep your mouse’s cage clean by removing any uneaten perishable foods (fruits and vegetables) daily.

See more rat and mice expert questions and answers.

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Reader Comments
This was helpful. I currently have a mouse who is the most irritable mouse I've ever had. I've done every possible thing to make her environment stress-free, and every day I am watching her behaviour and trying to figure out why. She can be very sweet some days, but she has off days where she tears apart her bedding for hours and her body language/facial expression indicates she's very angry. I've tried offering her treats through the bars, but to no avail, she actually tosses them back AT me (even her favourites). I've never seen anything like it. It could just be her temperament, she isn't the first grumpy pet i've loved, but until I figure out what's getting on her nerves and how to soothe them, it remains an adorable mystery. All I can say is observe them, mice are just too smart to do anything for no reason. And if you just can't figure it out, let them have at it (just stick a beer flat under the cage for easy cleaning). You'd throw stuff around too if you lived in a cage.
Chelsea, Calgary, AB
Posted: 9/10/2013 3:42:50 PM
Good luck with your mouse.
Mike, Columbia, TN
Posted: 6/18/2009 12:40:23 PM
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