Do mice hibernate?

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Do mice hibernate?

Post by Gundemarie Schol » Wed, 26 Jul 2000 04:00:00



Hi!

Generally, it's summer here at the moment, with about 15-25 degrees
centigrade (sorry, I don't know how much that is in Fahrenheit), so my mice
live on the balcony in their cages. Some days ago I went outside at midnight
to give them food, all of them were very active, except from one. He's a
young (about 10 weeks) satin male I had gotten a week before, and I had put
him together with an old sterile female, so he doesn't feel too lonely. They
used to run together in their exercise wheel and to cuddle. This male was
lying in the corneer of the cage, cold all over and not moving at all. At
first I thought he was dead, but when I took him up he began to move
slightly. It wasn't cold outside, 12 degrees, and in the cages there is lots
of bedding and a cardboard tube, so if he had felt only cold, then it would
have been easy to hide away.
I took him inside and warmed him up, first in my hands and later on with an
electric heating pillow (I don't know the correct English word, I hope it's
understandable). When he had become warm he started moving around curiously
again. I put him in a tank with two young females and warmed the tank over
night with the pillow. Since then he has been as active and playful as all
the others again.
Do you have any idea, what might have happened? Did he decide it was cold
enough to hibernate (although I've never heard of mice hibernating before)?
Or are satin mice more sensitive to different temperatures, as the hair
differs from "normal" pet mice?

Gunde

 
 
 

Do mice hibernate?

Post by ka.. » Thu, 27 Jul 2000 04:00:00


Gunde,

In the future, if youj want to convert metric units to non-metric (to
communicate with societies less advanced than yours) you can use the
following:
http://www.digitaldutch.com/unitconverter/.

For other U.S. readers, "summer" where Gunde is (14-25C) is 60-80F.  The
evening she found the mouse "hybernating" it was 53F outside.

With respect to the mice, they actually do hybernate, but I don't know
if they hybernate in the sense you mean.  Like Hummingbirds, Mice have a
very fast metabolism.  For example, a mouse's heart beats 500-600
times/minute.  The respiration rate is 84-230/minute.  The mouses body
temperature is 36-37C (Humans are about the same at 98.6F or 37.0C). I
believe I read somewhere that the Mouse's normal operating range is
40-80F (5-27C).  They seem to have a bigger problem with heat (they
have cooling mechanism -- no sweat glands and they don't pant) than with
cold, so never let their cage be in the sun. For a full set of mouse
specifications, see the U. of Iowa "Biomethodology of the Mouse:"
http://www.uiowa.edu/~vpr/research/animal/mice0001.htm#Behavior

I have read that the mouse's metabolism is too fast to let a mouse sleep
safely, since they could starve to death while asleep(?)!
So they slow waaaay down when they sleep.  This slow down is equivalent
to hybernation in other animals.  But (as far as I know), it only
happens when they in their daily sleep.  I haven't heard of mice
(expecially tame mice)hybernating for the winter.

Because a mouse's metabolism slows down so much when they are asleep, it
can take them a long time to wake up.  I have read that a wake-up from a
sound sleep can take five minutes.  In observing my mice, they seem to
take that long to get going if I feed them during their deep sleep
period.  (I always whistle when I feed them, and I watch how long it
takes them to get up).  Other times, they "wake up" instantly, but when
that happens I have noticed that they are "sleeping" with their eyes
partly open, so I assume that they are just dozing and not in full
hybernation mode.  Some times one of them is so souldly asleep he will
completely miss the feeding, even if I gently shake his nesting house.
Since he hates it when I shake his house, and he loves to eat, he must
be really zonked!

Also, I have observed that my mice sometimes sleep together, but
sometimes sleep on different cycles.  I am not able to predict their
sleep cycles.  Although they do prefer to sleep during the day,
sometimes they will run in their wheel all day and sleep well into the
night.  To find one of my mice sound asleep at midnight is unusual, but
it probably happens once a week or so.

Since your mouse seemed healthy and active after you so lovingly woke
him up, I would suspect you just caught him in a deep sleep cycle. If he
continues to seem lethargic, you may consider a trip to the vet.  My vet
charges $35/visit, which isn't too bad.

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Do mice hibernate?

Post by Joch » Thu, 27 Jul 2000 04:00:00


I don't know about the mice over there, but over here 12 degrees is WAY too
cold to leave the critters outside.  The do not hibernate with the cold
weather.  12 degrees is our minimum average temperature for winter, and the
couple of nights we had under 6 (or so), a friend of mine lost several mice
who were outside.  Simply, 15-25 sounds like an optimal temperature for them
to stay inside.  Heat problems occur when it gets around 38+ degrees celcius
(like we had here last summer, and at which time I lost several mice to the
heat).  I find my mice suffer occasionally in 12 degree weather (or
thereabouts).  I have had one catch a chill and come down with pnuemonia
because of the cold.

It sounds like your little boys was indeed cold.  If it happens, warm them
up quickly, and keep them warm for a bit.  They should be fine and pick up
after that.  If they stay cold for too long, they can get sick, or even die.
I have saved many a baby mouse who had been cast out of the nest box (for
whatever reason), and got too cold.  Warmth is very important.  Keep an eye
on them, but they should be fine.

For the record, mice do regulate heat, but not very well.  They 'dribble' a
lot - in that when they get hot, water comes out the nose and mouth to cool
them down.  It's not very effective though, and when that happens, it's
because they are too hot and/or something is wrong (it was my first
indication of problems during our heatwave, and the first sign of my girl's
pneumonia).  If they get a fever, or get overheated in some other way, they
will do this.  The worse they do it, the wetter they'll get under the chin.
Just something to watch out for in the hot weather.

-Joch

 
 
 

Do mice hibernate?

Post by ka.. » Fri, 28 Jul 2000 04:00:00


Quote:
> I don't know about the mice over there, but over here 12 degrees is
> WAY too cold to leave the critters outside.
> couple of nights we had under 6 (or so), a friend of mine lost several
> mice

I retract my statement that 40F or 4C is OK for mice.  I haven't
been able to find the article which said that, so my memory might
be deceiving me.  Practical experience is better anyway.

Quote:
> For the record, mice do regulate heat, but not very well.  They
> 'dribble' a lot - in that when they get hot, water comes out the nose
> and mouth to cool them down. ... Heat problems occur when it gets
> around 38+ degrees celcius

Just so I can follow this - 38C is 100F.

Question for Joch - what should we do when it gets too hot?  If you put
a pan of water in the cage, will the mice get into it to cool down?  I
read someplace to use an ice pack, but that wouldn't be effective in a
wire cage unless the mice would snuggle up to it.  Also, if I was away
at work I would need something to keep them cool for 8-9 hours.  I don't
have air conditioning, and it can get to 90-100 degrees in my apartment
even if I leave the windows open.  A fan might help, but my mice are in
an aquarium so the air won't blow directly on them.

Also, Joch, thanks for the description of how to tell a mouse
is overheated.
mouse!

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Do mice hibernate?

Post by Gundemarie Schol » Fri, 28 Jul 2000 04:00:00


Joch schrieb in Nachricht

Quote:
>I don't know about the mice over there, but over here 12 degrees is WAY too
>cold to leave the critters outside.

So far I haven't had any problems with my mice in this temperature. My
thought was, that they have their cardboard tubes and bedding plus each
other to keep themselves warm.

Quote:
>Heat problems occur when it gets around 38+ degrees celcius

I had three pregnant females die, when the temperature was about 30
degrees. )-:

Are satin mouse in this respect something different from normal pet mice?
For explanation: A human albino is a normal human being, but has to be
careful with UV light. Does the difference in the coat make satins something
special?

Gunde

 
 
 

Do mice hibernate?

Post by Jessica Helmante » Fri, 28 Jul 2000 04:00:00


can't imagine that,100 degrees will also kill humans cause they begin to
boil:-)
i think you mean degrees fahrenheit?
jessi

----------

Quote:
>I don't
> have air conditioning, and it can get to 90-100 degrees in my apartment
> even if I leave the windows open.  A fan might help, but my mice are in
> an aquarium so the air won't blow directly on them.

> Also, Joch, thanks for the description of how to tell a mouse
> is overheated.
> mouse!

> Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
> Before you buy.

 
 
 

Do mice hibernate?

Post by ka.. » Fri, 28 Jul 2000 04:00:00


Jessica,

Quote:
> can't imagine that,100 degrees will also kill humans cause they begin
> to boil:-)
> i think you mean degrees Fahrenheit?

In my posting I said "38C is 100F".  In my notation 38C means "38
degrees Celsius" and 100F means "100 degrees Fahrenheit".

I am actually rather surprised that a mouse has trouble at 100F.
I would not be at all surprised if any living creature (other than
a virus) had problems at 100C. :->

Kawi2

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Do mice hibernate?

Post by Joch » Sat, 29 Jul 2000 04:00:00


We have found that in general longhair mice seem to suffer from the cold
more than shorthair mice (same with dogs, too I find).  It's not a great
deal of difference but it is there.  I don't know for sure, but I think it's
possibly because in shorthairs, the fur is closer to the body and traps the
heat in better.  Similarly, longhairs are often slightly cooler in summer,
because the "billowing" fur (for want of a better word) allows the skin to
cool better.  This is only a slight difference, though.

Satins may certainly suffer more because of the nature of their fur.  A
satin mouse has a hollow hair shaft (or nearly hollow - most of the major
nutrients that make up a hair shaft are missing in a satin mouse, thus light
reflects through the hair, not off it - which gives them their satin
appearance).  This could explain why they suffer more from the cold (as we
don't have satins over here, I've never actually experienced any suffering
from the cold - but it makes sense).  Less insulation - more susceptible to
the cold.

-Joch


Quote:
> Joch schrieb in Nachricht

> >I don't know about the mice over there, but over here 12 degrees is WAY
too
> >cold to leave the critters outside.
> So far I haven't had any problems with my mice in this temperature. My
> thought was, that they have their cardboard tubes and bedding plus each
> other to keep themselves warm.

> >Heat problems occur when it gets around 38+ degrees celcius

> I had three pregnant females die, when the temperature was about 30
> degrees. )-:

> Are satin mouse in this respect something different from normal pet mice?
> For explanation: A human albino is a normal human being, but has to be
> careful with UV light. Does the difference in the coat make satins
something
> special?

> Gunde

 
 
 

Do mice hibernate?

Post by Joch » Sat, 29 Jul 2000 04:00:00


Cages are good, but usually only if you have a way to blow cool air through
them (such as by a fan).  The risk is that the draft will make them sneezy
and sick, but that's treatable and not always life-threatening, so in the
middle of summer, I usually take the risk.

Glass fish tanks are just as good as cages - as glass has a tendency to stay
cool (it loses heat very quickly - which is why if you have lots of windows
in your house it can get very cold in winter without a constant source of
heat).  A friend of mine discovered that sometimes what you use for bedding
makes a difference.  The lucerne pellets (that cat litter made from grass)
can actually generate its own heat if left in there long enough.  Not good
for summer.  Either way, we found that the ones who survived the heatwave
were the ones who buried themselves in their litter, or dug a clear space on
the floor to lie (keep in mind that wild mice survive by burrowing into the
ground).  You need bedding, but something other than lucerne.

Also, the closer they are to the floor, the better off they'll be.  The
hottest place in any house is near the ceiling, and we lost most of the ones
who were at table height or above.  Any on the floor or below table height
were generally okay.  It may only be a couple of degrees difference, but
that's sometimes all it takes (and thus why it happens so quick).

Ice packs work well.  In extreme heat they snuggle up to them, but otherwise
putting them in a position where they cool down the whole cage is good.  I
save them for emergencies usually (and very hot days).  There is no
sure-fire method of keeping mice cool, but we've tried a lot of things.  A
shallow dish of water is a good idea.  A couple of other mice that survived
our heatwave had sat in their water dish to wait it out.  I plan to get a
large, shallow 'bath' for the big tank in summer, just so they have
somewhere to go and cool down if they need to.

If you have a blistering hot day, and find your mice are (in extreme
conditions) close to death because of it, I have known people who hold them
in the freezer for a few minutes to lower the body temperature.  It saved a
few.  Since mice can't effectively lower their body temperature, it's the
most important thing to do - run them under cold water taps, sit them on ice
packs.  Put frozen bottles of water in the cage.  Anything to help them get
cooler.  I think I have one who is partially brain damaged (but otherwise
okay) from the heat.  It happened so quick - there was no warning (at least
nothing we could recognise back then).  We know better now.

Hope this has helped.  You'll probably find they'll be okay in the tank.
Give them a frozen water bottle in the cage when you go out, and another one
against the cage outside (to cool the surface of the glass down).  A dish of
water in it, and a circulating fan - they should be okay.  If you're worried
it might be too cold, then wrap the frozen pack in a hand towel.  it will
still cool the air down. Put them on the floor (in the bathroom is good -
tiles/linoleum or whatever are always cooler than carpet).

-Joch

Quote:
> Question for Joch - what should we do when it gets too hot?  If you put
> a pan of water in the cage, will the mice get into it to cool down?  I
> read someplace to use an ice pack, but that wouldn't be effective in a
> wire cage unless the mice would snuggle up to it.  Also, if I was away
> at work I would need something to keep them cool for 8-9 hours.  I don't
> have air conditioning, and it can get to 90-100 degrees in my apartment
> even if I leave the windows open.  A fan might help, but my mice are in
> an aquarium so the air won't blow directly on them.

 
 
 

Do mice hibernate?

Post by ka.. » Tue, 01 Aug 2000 04:00:00


Joch,

Thanks for the many great suggestions.  I particularly like the idea of
wrapping a frozen water bottle in a rag or wash cloth.  That way the
mouse can snuggle up to the rag, and the rag acts as insulation to keep
the ice from melting too fast.  The right thickness of cloth and it
might be possible to have a cool spot that would last 8-10 hours.

For mouse newbies, any large water tray placed in the cage would have to
be cleaned every day because of the poop factor.

Kawi2

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