Is There a Mouse in the House?

21 Aug

As a Biology major, I spent my college years studying the anatomy and habits of many different animals and plants native to Minnesota. As such we did not spend a great deal of time on identification of animal droppings. My knowledge in that area came more from an outdoors family and a few Girl Scout tracking books. From childhood identifying the leftovers from a horse, cow, deer, dog, cat and mouse were second nature. Later on the west coast, I added elk, bear and coyote. The mouse was a serious item at our cabin because the shed made a happy overwinter home and the Hantavirus was a major concern. Describing the spring cleaning is TMI for this blog! So on mouse droppings I have felt I was an expert.

Because we have two indoor/outdoor cats and live in an area of dozens of stray cats, imagine my surprise when I realized that the floor of the tool shed was covered with small droppings. How could that many mice be running all over that metal shed? I discovered more outside on the stack of 2×4’s and even on the sidewalk! They did appear to be slightly smaller than the deer mice droppings in the cabin but what else could they be?

I had mentioned my concerns about mice to my neighbor. She was happy to identify the offending animal for the biology teacher – grasshoppers!¬† I knew that we had hundreds of the insects (they ate most of my herbs off to the ground) but I had never given a thought to their droppings. At that moment I learned a number of lessons besides the obvious : 1) my mother was correct when she questioned how practical some of my college courses would really be in life and 2) I am really glad that mice don’t fly.

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