Some of you may not know that my Bachelor’s degree in college was in Wildlife Management. So I have a profound respect for all things Mother Nature. I’m in constant awe of her ability to create, destroy, amaze, and astonish us with her beauty. But it wasn't until my sophomore year in college when I was taught an interesting lesson about the power of mice.
I was living in a small house on a mountain top a few miles from campus. My roommate Alex had some ongoing feud with a guy that lived down the hill. I seem to recall them playing a few pranks on each other throughout the semester. One Sunday evening we returned from a weekend long trip (we often left town for the weekend to go to my roommate’s family’s house an hour away to hunt, play basketball and/or party). Alex had noticed some dog food around his hiking boots in the mud room. Upon further inspection, he realized that his boots were filled to the brim with dog food. We naturally blamed the neighbor. The next weekend came and went, and sure enough, every shoe available was filled with dog food when we returned. Looking back, I wonder why he didn’t stop leaving large bags of dog food available for the prankster to utilize. The neighbor wouldn’t fess up to it, and was actually quite offended that we accused him of going inside our house every weekend to screw with us.
This pattern continued off and on throughout the semester, until finally it was time to move out. In the midst of packing and cleaning up the house, I tried to move my bed to the other side of my bedroom. I quickly realized it was MUCH heavier than I remembered. Being the wimp I am, I decided to remove the mattress first, then the box spring, then the frame. The moment I lifted up the mattress, I noticed a huge hole in the top of the box spring. Peering inside the hole didn’t just reveal a few springs and dust bunnies. It was nearly filled with dog food! MICE! God damn mice have been stealing and stashing dog food all year long, one stupid kibble at a time. A solid two-thirds of the space inside the box spring was literally dog food! I couldn’t even lift it! I showed Alex, who had to apologize to the neighbor after we laughed our ass off.
I also cleaned out the top shelf of my closet (at least 7 foot high) which had several old towels that I hadn't touched since the day I moved in. Stashed behind the towels were another 5 pounds of dog food. How the hell did they do that? How many nights was I sound asleep when mice were stashing food like chipmunks 10 inches below my body? How many trips UP THE WALL did it take per mouse to deliver the goods to the top shelf of my closet?
Mice. Are. Amazing.
Here are some mice fun facts for your intellectual enjoyment:
- Mice are intelligent creatures with complex levels of communication, which is both vocal, often beyond the auditory range of humans, and odorous.
- Mice have facial expressions which communicate their mood to others.
- Mice are incredibly clean, tidy and organized. Within their intricate underground homes they have specific areas for storing food, going to the toilet, and for shelter.
- Mice like to stay close to their home and usually only venture up to 3-8m away from their nest in search of food. They like to eat 15 to 20 times per day.
- Whiskers help mice to sense smooth and rough edges, temperature change and breezes.
- Mice have great balance and can walk along very thin pieces of rope or wire. They can even scale rough vertical surfaces.
- Mice can jump down 3-4m without injuring themselves.