Shelter Mice

white_footed_mouse_JW

Part of the continuing series of interviews of Mr. Ignatius Geraldo Norant, as he gets to know the animals that Andrew might encounter on the Appalachian Trail…

Ignatius Norant: Thanks for tuning into our blog again. As before, I’m Ignatius G. Norant, interviewing animals found along the AT. I’ve heard that’s what the kids are calling the Appalachian Trail these days. [chuckles] Here with us today we have a couple of cute little furry critters who were invited specifically by Andrew to talk to me today.

Shelter Mice: [seeming to speak in unison] Hello Iggy, how’s it going?

IN: Very well, thank you. May I ask your names?

SM: Names? Well… they’re not important. We’re just humble little mice that live along the trail.

IN: Oh, very well. By the way, why did you ask me to conduct this interview from the trail? It’s very unorthodox; we usually record these in a studio.

SM: We though… we though it would be better if you were in our environment. Yeah, that’s it! By being in our home, you’d be able to understand us better. Right.

IN: Well, that is very thoughtful of you. You do have a lovely home. Even a fire with – is that tea boiling there?

SM: It sure is. Would you like a cup?

IN: It has been a tough, cold hike to get here. I’d love a cup, thank you!

SM: It’s our own special recipe. We hope you enjoy it…

IN: It’s very tasty. A sweet start, full bodied… but the aftertaste is a bit off.

SM: Oh don’t worry about that. You won’t be awake long enough to taste it…

IN: I’m sorry, what?

SM: Oh, we said you should have some cake while you taste it.

IN: Oh, well in that case–

********

And THAT, dear friends, is the last thing I remember. When I woke up, hours later, I had been hog-tied and left by the side of the trail. A random hiker had woken me up. I give the woman credit; the shelter mice had left me only my underwear, and I was looking worse for wear. They took my gear and ate all of the food that I had taken on the hike. We eventually found the gear (and my clothes). They it had been irreparably damaged while the vile beasts were looking for more food.

I immediately sent Andrew an e-mail asking why on Earth he would send those little buggers to me. He informed me that he hadn’t, and that they had most likely been eaves-dropping on a conversation he was having and learned about my interviews. He also sent me these incriminating photographs:

2013-03-16 08.48.02

2013-03-16 08.48.09

The little jerks had listened in on private conversations AND spent the night chewing through his hammock. Needless to say, those “cute, furry creatures” are vile nuisances on the trail. They have found a niche in staying close to the areas that humans inhabit, knowing that we are sloppy, and live off of either our scraps or what they can manage to steal.

Lessons Learned:

  1. There is even more reason to pack your food up tightly and safely when on the trail and it is not in use.
  2. Be ready to make mouse-damage repairs.
  3. Never drink tea offered by a strange mouse who won’t give you his name.

Further Reading:

Ecological Niche

Parasitism

References:

Mouse Photo – ESA Ecotone

Edited by Matthew C. Terzi,

University of Pennsylvania, VMD Candidate, Class of 2016

Questions? Please send to terzivet@gmail.com

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