Mouse Season from Wildwoods

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!



about 10 years ago

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

Niff Bimrod

about 10 years ago

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!


about 10 years ago

A poem for the animals:


about 10 years ago

Smile your little smile --- take some tea with me awhile.
Brush away that black cloud from your shoulder.
Twitch your whiskers. Feel that you're really real.
Another tea-time --- another day older.

Puff warm breath on your tiny hands.
You wish you were a man
who every day can turn another page.
Behind your glass you sit and look
at my ever-open book ---
One brown mouse sitting in a cage.

Do you wonder if I really care for you ---
Am I just the company you keep ---
Which one of us exercises on the old treadmill ---
Who hides his head, pretending to sleep?

Smile your little smile --- take some tea with me awhile.
And every day we'll turn another page.
Behind our glass we'll sit and look
at our ever-open book ---
One brown mouse sitting in a cage.


about 10 years ago

I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice

might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.

Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe

behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,

the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time—

now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,

lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice, onetime inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country? 

--Billy Collins


about 10 years ago

A snail is climbing up the window-sill
into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see and I explain
that it would be unkind to leave it there:
it might crawl to the floor; we must take care
that no one squashes it. You understand,
and carry it outside, with careful hand,
to eat a daffodil.

I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
your gentleness is moulded still by words
from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
from me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
your closest relatives and who purveyed
the harshest kind of truth to many another,
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.

--Fleur Adcock

Niff Bimrod

about 10 years ago

sorry, credit to Robert Burns for snippet i posted from "to a mouse"

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