Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mice get cold, too

Finally, after an exceptionally warm winter with just a handful of semi-cold days, I awoke this morning to icicle weather. My car's thermometer indicated 16 F when I left for work this morning. That's more the way it should be in winter. Of course, frosty weather means that one does get cold outside, and after a while, it's nice to retreat to some sort of toasty bungalow. And the desire for warmth doesn't just apply to human mammalians...

Today's icy temperatures reminded me of an interesting mouse experience. Almost five years ago to the day, I was at the Wilds getting the grand tour of their new Conservation Science Training Center (NOTE: The Ohio Ornithological Society will be hosting a grassland bird workshop here on June 24-25. We'll see birds galore - you'll not want to miss it).

Jenise Bauman, Director of Conservation Science Training at the Wilds at the time, was my guide and after inspecting the main building, she pointed out the brand new cabins for visiting researchers' use. I asked to have a look inside one, and as soon as we popped the door open, I saw the little chap in the photo above.

It turns out that they employed space heaters in the temporarily unused cabins to keep the interiors warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. At the time, outdoors temps were well below freezing. The cabin interiors were probably in the 50's, and warmer than that right in front of the heater, where the mouse has parked itself.

The mouse just took a glance back at us when we entered, and then promptly ignored its human visitors. The warm gush of air from the heater had thoroughly intoxicated the little beast. I was kicking myself for having left my good camera gear in the car (which was far away), and had to make due with my Android phone's camera and video. Ah well, it served the documentary purpose, but what I would have given to have had the really good gear to make really good photos. The rodent certainly was cooperative. This was the first time that I've seen a mouse warming itself in front of a space heater, and I may go some time before seeing such a scene again.

By the way, this is a White-footed Mouse, Peromyscus leucopus, a native species and a truly handsome little mammal. For a really cute photo of one, and a bit more information, CLICK HERE.

Here is a short video of the space heater-exploiting mouse.


1 comment:

Lori said...

I'm amazed that mouse didn't take off at the sight of you!