The day Pat left for Hawaii I told the girls we could go to the pet store and bring a third mouse home.
Maile got a white mouse for her birthday that she very appropriately named “white eye” and Laina got a black mouse a week later to keep White Eye company and after naming him “Apple” was soon convinced to change it to “Black Eye”.
The girls had REALLY been wanting to add a brown mouse that they could name “brown eye” into the mix and I aim to please so that’s just what we did. I made sure to purchase another female because I’ve been warned by some of you mouse lovers that a male and female together could be disastrous as mice would eventually take over our home.
I don’t know what I was thinking with this third mouse.
That I could just go pick up a baby mouse and throw it in a cage with two other mice and they’d all be best friends? Yes. Why yes that’s exactly what I thought. I thought Black Eye and White Eye would be thanking me for mixing things up a bit and adding a new family member to their tribe.
Well that’s not what happened.
Black Eye was plenty pleased with the new addition, but White Eye was on the attack. I performed my own research and Discovery Channel experiment by cleaning out the cage in an attempt to wipe all scents that Black Eye and White Eye might have been accustomed to.
I read that if you dab Vanilla on each of them they will start to identify each other with the new smell and may be more likely to accept their new friend. At first it seemed to work, but when White Eye started bullying baby Brown Eye I had no choice, but to separate them within the cage. I took turns rotating them so that they would get used to the others scent and eventually learn to love one another.
And it worked! Two days later they were besties, all three mice snuggled together and I deemed myself Mouse Whisperer of the year. Everyone was happy.
Fast forward nine days to this past Wednesday.
The cage reeked and I could no longer put off the task of cleaning it (a fairly simple job). The kids love watching this process so with a crowd of daycare children planted around me I began the task of cleaning the mouse cage.
The first thing I did was grab the cute little strawberry house the mice like to sleep in and started shaking out the shavings and tissue paper that had been wadded inside. Heavier than usual, I shook with a little more vigor to rattle out whatever bits of cardboard they might have packed into that thing.
And then I started screaming. And jumping. And running. And screaming. And jumping again. And swatting imaginary parasites from my arms and legs and pulling my hair and screaming and jumping and crying.
And the daycare kids stood. And stared. Awe struck. What had happened to Miss Kathy?
I’ll tell you what happened to Miss Kathy…you know in case you can’t read between the lines. When Miss Kathy went to dump the shavings out of the strawberry house, Miss Kathy very unexpectedly flopped out 9 naked squirmy tiny gooey parasites. And Miss Kathy freaked the freak out.
Only they weren’t parasites at all. They were BABY MICE!
Ew is RIGHT! Just imagine how *I* felt!
So after my screaming charade I wiped my tears, composed myself, smiled politely at the children, pointed to the cage and said, “there are babies in that cage children…let’s take a peek.”
White Eye had already gotten to work pulling her little babies back into a pile and covering them up with wood chips. Amazing to see the motherly instinct take over even in creatures as simple mice. I scooped the mice into a holding area with a giant spoon while I finished scrubbing the cage , I scooped them all back into their strawberry home, and then I called the pet store to inform them that at least one of the three female mice they gave us was not female.
They said they would take the male back, but I could NOT figure out which one of the mice had planted the seed.
That said, I’ve always been concerned about Black Eye’s butt. It’s huge compared to the other mice and on several occasions I have wondered aloud, why it is that Black Eye has such huge balls. I’m sorry. It’s vulgar, but it’s true.
I brought both Black Eye and Brown Eye in to the pet store for examination and the two workers their determined that Brown Eye was the baby daddy. Neither of the mice had the distinct “dropped” privates like a male mouse has and it was true…suddenly Black Eye’s balls that I THOUGHT she had were nowhere to be found.
They decided the male was Brown Eye because Black Eye and White Eye have coexisted for three months without having babies…and with that Brown Eye was tossed back into a tank filled with his male buddies and I headed home with Black Eye and a warning that she too might be pregnant.
Only when I got home I SWEAR Black Eye had balls again. I showed Pat…I observed with my assistant…I took pictures.
Pat thought maybe she was going into labor and that’s why her anus seemed to be falling out of her insides…but I got to thinking…because I’m super bright…
If Brown Eye was the dad…..how was it possible for him to mate with White Eye (who did not like him those first few days), get her pregnant, AND have the babies born all within a span of 11 days??
Newsflash boys and girls…that’s actually NOT possible. Which can only mean that Black Eye’s giant anus is not a sign of oncoming labor, it’s her with balls…because she is not a she, she’s a HE!
And as it turns out, after giving birth to a litter of mice, White Eye can become fertile and get pregnant again within TEN HOURS!
Which as it turns out means we are totally and utterly screwed.
And which also means that poor Brown Eye is being gang raped by a colony of male mice as we speak.
Know what else I learned during my crash course in Mousey biology via the internet? That you should NEVER EVER EVER disturb brand new baby mice and their mother. If you stress the mother out by being loud, exposing her babies, moving them, and continuously changing the lighting…you may soon be dealing with a litter of half eaten mice.
WHAT!!?! I know it’s gross, I’m just relaying the facts here.
So the whole shaking the babies from the strawberry house and screaming and jumping and slapping thing…and then the whole “LOOK IN THAT CAGE!!!” yelling thing with the kids screaming and jumping and slapping too, and then the keeping of the mice out all day so that we could all observe them????
Yeaaaaah…that was all very bad.
As far as I know the babies are all alive and well. They are hidden in their strawberry house and I can sometimes catch a glimpse or hear a squeak, but I have yet to find a dead mouse in that cage. Thank goodness.