Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Finally the first of the autumn rains arrived. When I arrived home last night, Sarah and Cebah had captured a young white-footed mouse and were detaining it in a bluebell ice cream carton for me to see. I put a crumpled up paper napkin in for a semblance of comfort and the mouse most likely used it to escape. This morning we saw it twinkle-toeing along under the piesafe, but I didn't really make an effort to recapture it. Its cuteness qualifies it for temporary visitor status.
White-footed mice are a different species from house mice. They are native to North America, whereas the house mouse is a European immigrant. White-footed mice typically live in woods and fields, not in houses, but in the fall they move into our house because our boundaries are easily permeable and there's not a whole lot of difference between our house and a hollow tree anyway. It's dry, warm, and there are nice nooks to sleep in.
This little fellow may actually have been born in-house. A few weeks ago I bought a sack of pinhead oatmeal - a couple of days ago I noticed that someone had chewed a hole in the bag. That someone was probably one of this mouse's parents.
I set a trap. But the secretive gnawer was a clever one who managed to lick the peanut butter off without being throttled.
I don't mind it SO much when a house mouse is caught in the trap, but I do, somewhat, when it's a white-footed mouse. (as long as they leave no turds in my pinhead oatmeal...) I kept them for pets when I was a kid, and I know that they are smart, affectionate, and comical. Their eyes are larger and that makes them seem cuter than the beady little eyes of the house mouse. So there's a prejudice there - the cute ones get away with more.
Sarah took this picture and it so happened that the composition is just the way I would do it myself, if I were painting it - so it required no cropping to satisfy my aesthetic sensibilities. The arc dividing the bluebell carton into a plane of white and a plane of greyish offwhite, intersecting with the darker, tighter curve of the tail, is perfectly situated as far as I'm concerned. I did use photoshop to remove the pieces of potato chip that Cebah served him for supper.