A few weeks ago, a kind customer at a local store noticed a mouse caught in a glue trap (Wildwoods hates glue traps!), picked her and the trap up, and brought them both in to us.
After Wildwoods freed her from the trap and cleaned off the glue, we gave her a few days to recover from her near-death experience. In the meantime, Peggy looked through pictures and information regarding all the native species of mice and voles in Minnesota, to figure out what tribe this little mouse belonged to. We get white-footed mice and deer mice brought in every year, as well as the occasional vole and jumping mouse. But this mouse wasn’t any of those.
After some research, Peggy had the answer–the glue-trap survivor was a “house mouse” (yes, really!) This type of mouse is not native to Minnesota or even to North America. These mice have been keeping company with humans for millennia, and have accompanied us to every continent, living in our houses, shopping malls, grocery stores and every other place we eat, dwell, work, or shop. “Domestic” pet mice and laboratory mice are all descended from these mice. Read more about house mice–mus musculus–here.
When we are rehabbing native wild mice or voles and they are ready for release, we get them accustomed to a predator-proof mouse house. Once they’ve moved in, we put them, their house, and a supply of seed into one of the woodpiles on the back of our property. The mice use the mouse house as a safe place until they venture out on their own into the wild word which is their natural habitat. There, they carry on their mouse lives and help feed owls, foxes, and other predators.
However, if the natural habitat of a house mouse is a human structure, what is a wildlife rehabilitator to do? We can’t return her to where she was found, nor do we want her loose in our house! And releasing her into the wild, which is not her world, doesn’t seem right either.
The little house mouse seemed to be enjoying her life in her mouse enclosure, with her wheel, her food, her cozy nest, and her tunnels. Our friend Marianella, who loves all things mouse, volunteered to give her a forever home, and since she is not an animal native to North America, this is legal and possible. This little house mouse is now living the good life, and is now known as Jasmine! Thanks Marianella!
PS–We know that some people think we are silly to spend any of our time rehabbing mice. However, if someone cares enough about a wild animal to save it and bring it to us, we will do our best to bring their kind act full circle. All are worthy!
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