Monday, December 13, 2010

Cannibal mice

White-footed mice are cute, it's true. But don't let it fool you. They are known egg thieves, they dine on helpless baby birds, and when it comes down to it, they don't hesitate to eat their own kind.

We live in the country where the mice move in when the weather gets colder. They leave poop on the counter, make nests in our towels, and hide birdseed in our shoes. They are good climbers on wood or stone, but (we've learned) not on metal or plastic. Whenever we would forget and leave the washing machine lid open, there would invariably be a mouse in there the next day. We let them out by setting a broom down in as a ladder. Once we left it open for a week and caught two mice. Only one survived.

Confirming that rodents (and most herbivores) will generally eat meat if given the chance, the survivor lived out the week thanks to the flesh and blood of his cell-mate. I prefer to think that they sat huddled in there together until the weaker of the two peacefully expired, and that there was no foul play.

A few weeks later, a plastic garbage can left too close to a counter top caught three mice. Again, cannibalism. The mouse flesh of two sustained a lone survivor, at least until the last carcass was picked clean. I'm guessing the last died from lack of water, as it didn't look emaciated.

Not a pretty site, but interesting (at least I thought so)! We have since excluded the mice from our house using plastic spray foam. They are cute, but they can live somewhere else.

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