Rachel and her pet deer mouse Harriet live together in New York and have a very close bond. As a wildlife rehabilitator, Rachel gets to enjoy the company of many animals such as squirrels, chipmunks and mice.
It’s always bittersweet releasing the animals back into the wild, because Rachel forms a relationship with each one. When she decided to rehabilitate Harriet, she thought the deer mouse would eventually want to return to her roots. However, it seemed Harriet wanted to stick around in her new, cozy home instead of roughing it in the wild.
“Harriet is a deer mouse, and she was found in somebody’s house when she was about 8 days old. They didn’t know what to do with her, so they brought her to an animal hospital. But the animal hospital didn’t accept wild mice. So they called me because I’m a wildlife rehabilitator and I’ve raised orphaned mice in the past,” Rachel explains.
Meet a Deer Mouse Named Harriet Who Loves to Snuggle
During colder months, deer mice like to build nests inside homes in rural or suburban areas. They’re especially attracted to homes in heavily wooded locations with protective vegetation and piles of firewood since these make great nesting sites. They may also build nests in warm barns, cabins, garages, attics, and other lightly trafficked areas.
Since deer mice are so small, they can hide out for a while before anyone notices their presence. Some people choose to call pest control to deal with them, but luckily, the person who found Harriet had a heart for animals. Even though they couldn’t keep her, they still wanted to ensure her safety. Raising the deer mouse wasn’t an easy task, however, since baby mice need a lot of food.
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“When I first got her she was very, very small. She weighed about as much as two pennies and she still had her eyes closed. I had to feed her with a tiny syringe every 3 hours around the clock, so it was a lot of work to raise little Harriet,” Rachel said.
Rachel wanted to release the deer mouse into the wild once it became strong enough. However, it seemed Harriet had other plans.
“All of the other mice I’ve raised have eventually become wild and were able to be released, but Harriet has a very unique personality. I’m usually able to pair up orphaned babies with others of their own species so they can interact. But unfortunately, there were no baby mice Harriet’s age so she became very attached to me,” Rachel says.
Harriet Has So Much Love to Give
Most people just see mice as pests, but they can make loving, sweet pets if you’re loyal to them. Mice are actually highly intelligent and can form bonds with humans, just like cats and dogs. Plus, it’s hard not to fall in love with this deer mouse after seeing its adorable face!
“She loves to be held and snuggled, and she loves to get massages – she’s pretty laid back for a mouse. She’ll jump right in my hand when I’m reaching to her cage, and sometimes she even makes a little purring noise to let me know that she’s happy,” Rachel says.
Besides choosing domestic life over a natural existence in the wild, Harriet has another personality quirk. It seems she’s a bit lazy, which certainly isn’t the norm for a deer mouse! Perhaps she just doesn’t like certain forms of exercise, though.
“Most mice love running on a wheel, but Harriet isn’t a fan of exercise, she is more a fan of the dinner. She’s a little bit plump, but we’re working on that. She’ll occasionally run on her wheel or on her exercise ball, but her favorite thing to do is actually play inside my hoodie,” Rachel explained.
The deer mouse also seems a bit picky about her diet, only enjoying the highest quality foods.
“I try to give her a balanced diet because she refuses to eat any type of commercial mouse food. She does eat berries and avocado; she really likes that and she’ll nibble on most vegetables. Her favorite thing of all is vanilla yogurt,” Rachel said.
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Rachel’s Advice for Anyone Who Wants a Deer Mouse
“I wish everyone can get to know more about these little creatures. They often have a bad reputation but each one has a unique personality. So, if you ever find a mouse in your house, just remember Harriet, and hopefully, it will motivate you to treat them with the kindness that they deserve.
“Mice are relatively easy to care for as long as they have a cage that’s kept clean and have enough toys to keep them busy. They are nocturnal, and they can be a bit difficult to handle, so I wouldn’t recommend mice as a pet for young children. But if you’re content to just watch and be entertained by them, they can be better than TV,” Rachel said.
If you’re wanting to get a deer mouse, make sure you’re prepared to deal with a few noises in the night since that’s when they’re most active. Other than that, mice are relatively low-maintenance animals that just need clean living space, food, water, and loving home. Keep in mind that they can carry diseases, though, so it might be best to get a captive-bred pet mouse.
Final Thoughts on Harriet the Deer Mouse
If you’re a mouse lover, your heart will easily turn to mush just looking at Harriet. Not to mention, she’s got a sweet personality to go along with that tiny frame. Even though you may not want a mouse as a pet, you can still appreciate them and treat them with kindness.
If you ever see one in or around your home, make sure to remove it humanely or call animal control. They will likely bring it to a pet shelter or animal hospital where they’ll attempt to find it a new home. Rachel’s story reminds us that any animal can offer love when we treat them with the respect and compassion they deserve.