How I Met Mus Musculus

Mus Musculus is the latin name for the common House Mouse.  They are very agile and can climb and jump straight up (hence the musculus part). I live in an older building and there are mice that sometimes get into my apartment. This time was no different.

I saw mice running around out of the corner of my eye. If you even look at a mouse sideways, all you’ll see is their shadowy appearance which you’ll then question yourself over if you really saw one or not. However, if you’re quiet and patient, they’ll come out and you’ll definitely see them. Usually you hear them chewing on stuff first and then you see how such tiny little creatures can be so destructive.

This one mouse in my place was much more curious about me than the rest. He (why do we always say ‘he’?) would come into very open spaces to catch whiffs and glances at me and he particularly liked my voice. He’d hear me making a video and become much more active. It was almost as if he wanted me to know he was about.

I made a plan. I decided to feed him from the center of my room so I could see him more often. I had a box of Crunch n Munch and put out tiny pieces of it. Soon enough I saw him regularly going to that one spot, even if I had yet to put the food out.

I wanted him to eat from my hand but had to break it down into little steps. First it was eating at one open spot in my room. Next it was put my hand on that spot and stay incredibly still. It worked. He took food from my hands as I talked to him softly. He got used to my voice, which is crucial because this is a mouse’s main sense aside from smell.

I named him ‘Little Man’. To me he looked like a runt which is even smaller than a peanut. Peanut’s are mice that are just slightly smaller than regular sized pinkies (newborns). Runts are even smaller. He had this lopsided looking face with what looked to be a floppy ear. Maybe he was getting beaten up by others? It is normal for mice to have ‘arguments’ where they chase each other and nip at the backside of others who may get in their territory. I thought that’s what was happening to him.

After a couple months of feeding him this way I decided to try and feed him peanut butter from my fingers. I wanted him to stick around (no pun intended) instead of running off as soon as he grabbed his noms from my hand. He did eventually come and get the peanut butter but it took him a few days to actually do it.

I approximated his age at about 3 or 4 weeks when I first met him. He was still ‘popcorning’ which is a term that describes young mice that go through a stage of hopping straight up in the air. All mice go through it. I remember feeding him and watching him get so excited that he would go ‘boing, boing, boing!’ straight up in the air.

Another part of mouse language is tail rattling. They do this when they’re excited or annoyed. Little Man did this often with me because he was quite excited to have his favourite treat every day from a human mom that spoiled him rotten.

He got to know my vocal cues to tell him to come to me for food. He does indeed come when I call him, even if he’s not hungry. This is part of their social nature. Mice have a group of friends they consider their ‘gang’ which they like to see at least once a day.

It’s wonderful to have a wild creature gain trust in you. It makes you feel like a decent human being, an honest, trustworthy one. My mouse will live about 2-3 years max. but he will be forever a creature I’m glad I had the pleasure of knowing and caring for. He’s filled my home with so much happiness that when he passes on I plan on getting some fancy mice to keep me company.  Here’s some pictures for eye candy:

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