If you have a litter of mice pups without a mother, then you must know if they can survive without her help.

The answer is muddled and depends entirely on the age the pups were abandoned. The younger they are when they are left behind, the less likely they will survive. 

Why would a mother Mouse abandon her pups?

When a mouse abandons her litter, she does this for several reasons. 

One reason is that she has no strength to survive, and she goes off somewhere remote by herself so she can die. She just has to die alone so that the smell of her rotting body won’t bring scavengers and predators to her litter.

Another reason is that she has not bonded with the pup she has given birth to. When a mouse or any other animal does not bond with their litter, they will abandon them as they see them as an inconvenience. Just like there are terrible mothers in the human world, there are also awful mothers in the animal world.

The third reason that she leaves her letter is that she just needs a break. When a mother animal leaves her pups no, it is not always for a negative reason. Some come back. They only leave because they needed to get a full night’s sleep as they are tired. No matter what animal species you are, taking care of babies is tough and tends to drain your strength, energy, and deprive you of sleep. Most mothers come back within half a day, and they usually come back with either food for themselves or their pups if they’re old enough to eat solid food.

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mouse babies

Can baby mice survive without their mom?

A baby mouse’s ability to survive on its own is completely dependent on how old they are when their mother abandons them.

If they are newborns when their mother leaves the nest and never comes back, their survivability rate is practically zero. As newborn pups, they can’t even open their eyes, so there’s no chance of them scouting out for food. Their muscles haven’t properly formed yet, and they move extremely slowly if at all. They’re slow movement and behavior makes them a prime target for predators. But they are far more likely to starve to death before they leave the nest. Baby mice need their mother’s milk so they can get proper nutrition. It won’t be able to eat solid foods for about a month.

On top of that, baby mice won’t even know how to poop. It is a mother who teaches them how to use the restroom and how to urinate. Even if they do learn how to do this by themselves, they won’t be able to walk anywhere.

If the mice pups are around three weeks old when their mother finally decides to leave, they have a slightly higher chance of living. It is at the third week mark that the baby mice begin to open their eyes and see for the first time. At this point, they should start learning how to eat solid foods. Their muscles will become stronger, and they are able to see. The newborn pups have far more energy and are now able to be active throughout the day.

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If they’re around the 5th or 6th week, their fur will start to grow in. They may have stronger muscles and more energy, and they’ll be able to see and explore the world around them. If if the pups are abandoned at this stage, they should live well into adulthood and survive.

What to do if you find an abandoned litter of mice?

If you find a litter of abandoned mice in the woods or or or your pet mouse has abandoned her babies after giving birth to them, there are a few things you can do if you start right away.

First of all, you must feed them the correct formula for their size, and you must keep them warm. It is until they are 11 weeks old that mice finally have fur. So you need to keep them warm comfortable. They won’t be able to move around, so place them in their cage and set it down wherever you can see them. Do not put them under the air conditioner or by a fan. 

After building a place for them to stay warm, you need to feed them. Since they are less than four to five weeks old, you need to feed them formula. You can buy formula for rodents that any online pet food store. We recommend choosing the online route because it might not be available at your local pet store since it is rare for a pet mouse to abandon their babies. You can also find it from the veterinarian if the veterinarian cares for rodents.

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It will most likely be in a liquid form. If it is in a powder form, you’ll have to reconstitute it with the right amount of water as said on the directions and place it into a bottle. You have to bottle feed each mouse until they are full. The average mouse takes about 5 minutes to fill up on formula or mother’s milk.

After feeding them, you will have to teach him how to poop. This is not as hard as you think it is. All you have to do is get a cotton ball and damp it with warm water. Then gently place the cotton ball underneath the mouse’s tail and brush the cotton ball up in a downward stroke as the mother would. This method teaches the mice to poop or urinate, so they do not rupture their bladders.


  • Mice are able to survive without their mom if they are on the older side
  • The younger a litter of mice pups are, the harder it will be to live without assistance
  • When the pups are at a young age, so they will not be able to eat, send for themselves, or even pee and poop.
  • Mice start to open their eyes at three weeks old are left and start growing their fur at six weeks old.
  • If you find abandoned mice, you will need to feed them and keep them warm.
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".