Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bluebell Mouse

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.


William said...

"I did use photoshop to remove the pieces of potato chip"

That brings a tear to my eye.

Dan Dutton said...

Ha! You are so sentimental - I owe it all to you!

Pig and Peaches said...

Dan, love this...can you post on P&P

Cathy said...

Aw, cute little toesies!

Beautiful photo, Miss Sarah.

When our dog was alive, every now and then I'd find a tiny field mouse paddling in her water bowl. The dog never tried to hurt one. I'd scoop them up and put them back outside.

Pig and Peaches said...

Cathy, the ONLY thing that could have made our adventure better, would have been to have you in the house as we scooped him/her into the bluebell carton.
"What should we do with the little thing?" asked Cebah...Keep him for Dan, was my reply..." How will you keep him from getting away," she responded. I will cover him in some saran wrap and hopefully he/she will stay put. "Better get those scissors and make some wholes in the top"....Done. We were so clever and never imagined that the little mouse would stock up on a few ruffle chips and brazenly hop out to kinder environs!

Dan Dutton said...

Which leads to a question I must ponder in my new project ~ how does the dynamic of captive and captor shape the cleverness of each?

Pig and Peaches said...

The captor doesn't always win! Therefore, according to me, it is the chase that counts. Spoken as Joe L. Dutton's daughter.