Why Do Mice Run In Circles?

Mice are active creatures. They love to explore their environment, they are curious, and they are always on the go. But sometimes these small rodents will do something that is completely out of character for them: run in circles without any apparent reason or purpose. When this happens, it’s usually because there’s a medical issue at hand that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Mice can suffer from a variety of medical problems, some of which are common and others that are rare. One of the most commonly seen issues in mice is seizures. Seizures can cause the mouse to become disoriented and run around in circles uncontrollably. Other seizure-related symptoms include muscle spasms, drooling, and loss of balance.

Another common medical issue in mice is a neurological problem known as head tilt. Head tilts can be caused by an inner ear infection, which would cause the mouse to lose its sense of balance and run around chaotically for no apparent reason. A more serious type of head tilt causes the mouse’s neck muscles to go into spasm and the head becomes locked to one side.

Mice Run In Circles

There might be numerous reasons why a mouse is running in circles. Some are treatable, while others are not. However, there are always methods to fight this behavior to some extent by using certain straightforward approaches.

Why Do Mice Run In Circles?

Mice occasionally run in circles. They may do so out of boredom, or they could be attempting to attract the attention of their cage-mates. The trouble arises when they keep running for hours on end.

Even if it’s a wild rodent or a domesticated one, any mouse may exhibit this unhelpful behavior. The following are some of the major reasons for this repetitive running:

Consumption of Rat Poison

When a rat poison is ingested, it causes the mouse to have stomach pain and diarrhea. This will force the mouse to run around constantly as it tries to rid itself of the poison.

Tumors: Mice that have tumors in their brains or ovaries often exhibit this type of behavior. The tumor can cause seizures, which leads to the mouse’s head tilting off to one side.

Seizures: A seizure is a type of fit caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The resulting uncontrolled movements can lead the mouse to run around circles for hours on end, making it difficult for them to stop even if they are tired or hungry.

Neurological Problems: If a mouse suffers from any kind of neurological problem, it may have trouble walking in a straight line. This can cause them to run around in circles instead of going forward or backward.

Head Tilts: One common medical issue that affects mice is known as head tilt, which causes the rodent’s neck muscles to spasm and its head to end up leaning to one side. The resulting behavior will cause the mouse to run around in circles, even if it does not have any other medical problems at all.

There are numerous reasons why a mouse might be running in circles. The most common one is seizures, which can be caused by a variety of things such as tumors, rat poison, and neurological problems. If you think your mouse might be running in circles because of a medical condition, take it to the vet for an examination as soon as possible. There might be a straightforward solution to the problem, or your mouse might require ongoing treatment. In any case, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible to avoid further health complications.

Waltzing Syndrome

The inner ear of mice with waltzing syndrome is damaged. The severity of this disease may begin at a young age and steadily worsen as they get older.

The symptoms of this illness include running in circles and staggering from time to time due to dizziness.

These symptoms’ effectiveness varies from mouse to mouse. If your mouse is diagnosed with an acute condition, there’s a good chance it will die within a few months. However, if the problem isn’t too serious, it may live for a few more years in decent health.

The reason why waltzing mice with severe illnesses die young is that they do not cease running in circles for food and rest. Extreme tiredness and hunger rapidly follow them to death. Mice with less serious problems generally rested for brief periods before resuming their journey.

One of the most common reasons it is not advised to breed your mouse at a pet store is because of this illness. Waltzing disease can be transmitted to your children as well since the waltzing syndrome is hereditary. You also have no idea which mice in the pet shop may be infected with this illness because it’s inherited.

Benign and Malignant Tumors

Mice can suffer from benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumors. About one-third of all mice will develop a tumor in their lifetime.

The most common places for tumors to form are the liver, lungs, mammary glands, brain, and spinal cord.

Tumors tend to grow quickly and can cause the mouse to run in circles as a result of the pain.

Mice with benign tumors generally live longer than those with malignant tumors, but both types of the tumor will eventually kill the mouse if not treated.

If you think your mouse might have a tumor, take it to the vet for an examination right away. The vet will be able to run tests and diagnose the mouse’s illness.

There are two ways a tumor can affect your mouse: it may either cause seizures or prevent them from moving in a straight line like normal mice. If you notice any unusual behavior on your pet, take it to the vet for an examination as soon as possible so that it can receive the treatment it needs.

Ear Infection

Mice are also susceptible to ear infections, which can cause them to run in circles as a result of the pain.

The most common symptoms of an ear infection in mice are shaking their heads and scratching at their ears.

An infected mouse may have trouble hearing and will usually have pus or blood coming out of its ear.

If you think your mouse might have an ear infection, take it to the vet for a checkup. The vet will be able to run some basic tests on the ears and prescribe medication if necessary.

The most common cause of ear infections in mice is mites or ticks that are stuck inside their ears. If you notice any signs of parasites in your mouse’s ears, take it to the vet immediately.

Several other factors can lead to ear infections such as allergies and water getting into the ears when you bathe them. These health problems are generally easy for a doctor or veterinarian to diagnose since they’re quite common among mice.

Treatment options depend on what is causing the infection but may include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and corticosteroids.

Neurological disturbance

Mice can also suffer from neurological disturbances, which can lead to them running in circles.

Common symptoms of a neurological disturbance in mice include tremors, convulsions, and seizures.

If you think your mouse might be suffering from a neurological problem, take it to the vet for an examination as soon as possible. The vet will be able to run tests on the mouse and prescribe medication if necessary.

Many different things can cause a neurological disturbance in mice, including tumors, infections, and toxins. It’s important to take your mouse to the vet if you notice any unusual behavior so that it can get the treatment it needs.

Bacteria and Infections

Mice can also get sick from bacteria and infections, which can lead to them running in circles.

The most common symptoms of a bacterial or viral infection are fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, and diarrhea.

If you think your mouse might be infected, take it to the vet for a checkup. The vet will be able to run some basic tests on the mouse and prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications if necessary.

There are many different types of bacteria and viruses that can infect mice, so a veterinarian needs to diagnose the specific illness. Some common bacterial infections in mice include strep throat, pneumonia, and meningitis.

Some common viral infections in mice include the flu, encephalitis, and salmonella.

Since bacterial and viral infections can be very serious, it’s important to take your mouse to a vet as soon as you notice any symptoms of illness. If not treated quickly enough or properly diagnosed by a doctor, an infection could lead to death for your pet before you know it.

What To Do If Your Mouse Is Running In Circles

It’s true that once your mice begin circling, it’s almost impossible to break the habit. However, you may take several measures to improve matters considerably.

Here’s what to do if your mouse keeps running in circles:

Set Up an Appointment With the Vet

The first step in such a scenario is to make an appointment with the veterinarian. If your mouse has an ear or bacterial infection, the vet will be able to diagnose it after a few tests.

It is critical to minimize your pet’s discomfort. After the doctor has determined the source of this problem, you may take further action.

Mice frequently struggle to break free of their habit of running in circles, even after being treated appropriately. If this is the case with your mouse, you may try any of the suggestions below. Alternatively, if your mouse has a genetic predisposition to the waltzing disease, you can try them out.

Install a Wheel

If you haven’t yet installed a wheel in the afflicted mouse’s home, it’s time to do so. For the first few weeks, the wheel may appear to be adding stress rather than relieving it. However, after some time, you will notice that they aid the mouse in utilizing its surplus energy.

It’s also worth noting that not just do the mice enjoy running in circles, but they will lift weights to keep their muscles and bones healthy.

Separate the Problem-Mouse From Others

Although the mice running in circles will not endanger others, it is still preferable to set them apart from ordinary mice. There are two causes for this. The first reason is that the sick mouse may become unhappy and stressed when he can’t seem to keep up with or match his peers.

The second reason is that other mice will become irritated by the circling, which will end in a mouse battle. That’s why it’s best to separate them before any more difficulties develop.

Introduce Habitrail-Styled Tubes To the Cage

You may also make a habitrail-style tube in the cage to restrict mice from taking an ideal circular route. When the sick rodents are no longer able to establish a clear path for their regular flights, they will eventually become calm and examine their actions.

Make sure the tubes are not making an easy travel path for the hamster to take. Make an S-patterned tube that has numerous bends along the route.

The most successful method to break your mice’s circular running habits is by far the one described above.

Distract Your Mouse With Different Playthings

Adding fresh things for your mouse to interact with is one more approach to distracting it from its constant, illogical running. The presence of humans will initially terrify the mouse since they are new items in the cage. However, with time, he will come to be familiar with the toys, which will aid him in the long term in soothing his anxiety.

The circular running of a mouse is one of the most common ways to get rid of it. All of these techniques are used to minimize the number and speed of your mouse’s rotations. It’s crucial to realize that while a mouse may appear aimlessly circling, it has less effect on you than if it was spinning uncontrollably.

In these cases, the greatest course of action is to take excellent care of your mouse and have them examined by a veterinarian regularly.


If you have a pet mouse that is running in circles in the present day, it indicates they are going through any medical condition. In that situation, you should make an appointment with a veterinarian and a vet’s assistant to discuss it. You may also do several other things to try to lighten your mood after dealing with so much pointless damage in circles.

Mark Thompson, a seasoned pest controller, is renowned for his expertise in keeping homes and businesses free from unwanted intruders. With a passion for environmental sustainability and a deep understanding of pest behavior, Mark has become a trusted authority in the industry.