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Understanding how menopause and andropause work in mice is not only useful for pet mouse owners. According to this article, scientists can get a lot of useful information out of it that can help them research how menopause works in humans.
This can help us find out new ways of treating women who are in the age of menopause. After they reach a certain age, their menstrual cycle ceases, making them vulnerable to various diseases. With the help of mice, scientists were able to come up with the VCD model of menopause.
This model is pretty precise in approximating the natural human progression toward and after menopause. As their menstrual cycle ceases, women become more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, ovarian cancer and more.
Women reach menopause at the age of 50 on average with an average lifespan of 80 years. This means that they spend 30 years of their lives with increased risk to these diseases. Hopefully, further researches can help scientists come up with therapies that treat this issue effectively.
So, the answer to the question is yes, pet mice do have menopause and andropause as well. They contribute a lot to the advancement of many different fields related to health care. The study related to menopause is only one of the many promising fields.
In the rest of the article, let’s take a look at how menopause and menstrual cycle actually work in pet mice!
Female Mouse Menopause
Female mice become sexually mature after about 6 to 8 weeks. She gives birth to a litter of an average of 10 newborn mice. After each parturition, they can get pregnant again in a few days and give birth again in 19 to 21 days.
The average pet mouse can have 50 to 150 babies in her lifetime. There are always some extreme cases of female mice that can give birth to up to 300 baby mice before they die. Pet mice are absolute breeding machines and there is no doubt about that.
Now it is not a wise idea to use a female for breeding right after she got sexually mature. Breeders usually wait at least two more months until they put her together with a male for mating. If the female is too young, she can have difficulties during breeding which can be fatal in some cases.
For a female that is 4-6 months old, it is completely safe to mate. They reach menopause at the age of 18-24 months. This means that they are not going to be able to mate and give birth to babies anymore.
Male Mouse Menopause – Andropause
Male mice often become sexually mature earlier than females, taking them only 4-7 weeks to become sexually mature.
Then, they have an average reproductive lifespan which lasts approximately 7-8 months. This means that of their average lifespan of 2.5 years, males are only sexually active for a quarter of the time.
A male can only mate with a female when the female is in estrus. An estrus is somewhat different than a menstruation cycle but we are going to talk about that later. Menopause and andropause are not the only things that can stop the sexual activity of mice.
If you keep your mouse alone or in a same-sex cage for a long time, it won’t be able to mate. It is enough to keep them like that for 6 to 8 months and they are going to be unable to reproduce.
How to Care for Mice in Menopause?
During menopause, keep the two sexes separate from each other. This can be done by using something to separate the cage into two parts or putting one of them into another cage. Once the menopause starts to take effect, your mice might still want to mate.
However, this can be dangerous to the health of the female mouse at this point. She can end up with a couple of babies if you are lucky.
However, she might simply be too old and not in a good shape to give birth anymore. This can make her extremely fatigued, and in some cases, the female can even die right after giving birth.
During menopause, you should take your focus off of breeding your mice and simply take good care of them. Even if an older mouse breeds successfully, she is most likely going to have difficulties taking care of her babies or even bringing them to life.
Do Mice Have Menstrual Cycles or Periods?
Instead of having a menstrual cycle, mice have an estrous cycle that lasts for 4-5 days. These estrous cycles start from their sexual maturity. Basically, there is a part called the Endometrium in the reproductive organ. During the estrous cycle, this part becomes available for mating.
During a menstrual cycle, this part is what makes the organ not available for mating. Since mice have estrous cycles, they are only sexually active during this cycle. A common term to refer to it is when people say that their mouse is “in heat”.
Hopefully, this article was a good introduction into how pet mice work when it comes to reproduction. It is rather simple, yet there are still some things you need to be aware of. For example, female mice have estrous cycles instead of menstrual cycles, as we have explained above.
And they have it until their menopause, which gives them plenty of opportunities to reproduce. Given that mice usually live for approximately 2.5 years, you might thing that they have a lot of time to reproduce. This is not the case, as it takes a few weeks until a mouse matures sexually.
Even then, they are fertile only for about 7-8 months. However, they can still give birth to a lot of babies since they can mate again in every 25 days. Mice are interesting animals and they are even used in laboratories to research the menopause of us, humans. Although there are a lot of differences between mice and humans, scientists often discover that there are plenty of similarities too.Pet Mice, Rodents