In leiu of finishing the more “serious” posts I have in draft mode, I’m going to share a cute story with you that happened a few weeks ago…

So, I have six pet mice. Ghost, who is grey and white, Lanfear, who is an albino, Padawan, Bastilla, and unnamed (I haven’t figured out what to call her yet) which are various different combinations of being mostly brown with a white bottom and white patches on the top, and “Crackmouse”, who has a real name but i always call her by her nickname because it fits so well, who is black and white.

It started, as most things do, with boyfriend and I watching a movie. All of a sudden, I see movement near the mouse tank that catches my eye. I turn on the light next to the bed…and see crackmouse on top of the tank! Oh dear! So I go over there to try to fix this, because I didn’t want her to get out and get caught somewhere, because our apartment isn’t really “mouse friendly”.  So, I slowly walk over there…and I manage to get her in my hands… but since I wasn’t able to catch her tail, she was able to slip out of my hands (mice are contortionists, I swear) and ended up on the floor.

Fuck.

So, the race to get my adorable little mouse back in her tank before something horrible happened had begun! First she was near the heater. I didn’t want her near that, because there’s a bit of a hole around where the heat comes in that she could get down and get who knows where. But I knew the room itself was near the upper limit of comfortable mouse temperatures, and figured that the metal heater was a lot hoter, so I defended the hole while trying to shoo her to boyfriend, who was trying to catch her. By hand, unfortunately. He failed, and mousie-puu got under his desk, and then ran under my dresser! Oh no! No way to get her out without hurting her besides luring her out, because the dresser is heavy and tipping it on its side would scare the mouse, making her potentially go anywhere!

Then, I came up with a brilliant solution: Peanut butter! Contrary to popular myth, a mouse’s favorite food is not cheese. Baiting mouse traps (hopefully the kind that you can use to not hurt them and release them into the wild later…I cringe whenever I think of snapping mouse traps now…) with peanut butter will get you a LOT further. So, I made sure the floor in front of my dresser was clean, and smeared some peanut butter on the floor in front of the dresser, because she couldn’t run out the sides. When she came out, boyfriend attacked, trying to trap her in tupperware, but alas, she was too fast! She ran into a corner next to my dresser, populated by a safe, which, while moveable, but we didn’t want to move it because it made it harder for her to get out from where we had her trapped. Boyfriend put the jar of peanut butter on one side, the tupperware on the other, and used a stick to shoo her towards the peanut butter. When she got close enough to smell it, she went over, took a few tentative licks at it….and then walked right in (it was a somewhat used jar of peanut butter…maybe half full at best?) Boyfriend siezed the opportunity, and picked up the jar and put the cap on it (not twisted shut…just clapped it on top and held it there…) I quickly carried it back to the tank, and proceeded to count the mice….there were two still missing! Oh no, half of my mice escaped!

So, there was much swearing, and trying to figure out what happened. Ended up discovering that when I had been feeding them earlier, I had left a piece of plastic askew. It was just enough so that the mice could climb to the top of the water bottle and then jump and grab the plastic and climb up. I never would have thought they could make it, but obviously I was wrong.

The search for the remaining two mice continued, for I did not want to have to buy mouse traps of any sort, and getting a mouse trap for my own mice seemed kinda silly. My mouse tank is on a shelf. There are two shelves, a lower one and an upper one, and under the upper one, there’s a rod that I can use to hang my clothes, because the only closet we have is a small coat closet. We started moving the clothes, because we figured we’d start near where the mice lived and move out. Bastilla ended up being caught up in my hoodie. We quickly trapped her in the hood and let her out back in the tank. We went through all my hanging clothes and still couldn’t find the unnamed one…until I started putting the clothes back. She was crawling around on my kimono. So cute! Trapped her up in it and let her out. At that point,. I went and rearranged all their toys and messed up their bedding, because they mark territory and I wasn’t sure how long the other two mice had been missing. They freaked out. The one who freaked out the most was Crackmouse. She was shaking and jumping all over the place even before I messed up the bedding. Then I moved the bedding, and they all acted like that, except Crackmouse was the worst by far, jumping all over the place instead of walking, seeming incapable of standing still…it was funny and somehow adorable.

Thankfully, no mice escapes have happened since then, due to vigilance on my side. But I wish I could let the mice run free. They’re so cute, and I feel like they’d be less scared of me holding them if they were always around me like that. But they’d escape, or get into something they weren’t supposed to get into, or end up accidentally getting stepped on in the middle of the night….

But, still, it breaks my heart when I’m looking at them through the glass and it’s little nose goes all twitchy and then puts her little paw, that looks almost like a little hand, up against the glass…and then I put my finger, about the size of her paw, up against the glass. They’re too cute for their own good. It makes me feel conflicted. On one hand, I give them food, water, shelter, clean bedding, and enough heat to make sure they stay nice and warm and happy. But on the other hand…they like trying to escape. Is it okay to cage something for its own good? The only way they wouldn’t be caged was if I let them free, but they’ve lived in the tank too long to survive in the wild and I would never see my lovable mice ever again….

Oh well. I’m probably just overthinking it. I’m off to play with them. Ta.

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