Thursday, September 23, 2004

Mouse Love

Puddin' had her second litter of pups almost two weeks ago now. The day she had them, it had been 3 weeks and 5 days since we figured she had been impregnated by Mabel. We were getting concerned since she was 'overdue'. I just learned today that, "Pregnancy lasts an average of 3 weeks but can be extended as much as 10 days longer if the pregnant female is suckling a previous litter." So it makes sense now - she was still nursing the first litter!

A member of a mouse list I belong to queried the group today about if mice purr. Another member answered, "Deer mice purr, or maybe more appropriately sing." Another member, commenting on the same thread, shared "I have read that Mice talk all the time but at a range that we can't hear. I've read there are incidents where Mice have learned something new in a laboratory in California; within hours the mice learned the same trick in China. Kind of makes you wonder about the 'Mice Drum'." Mouse Drum, eh? Makes you wonder about all that we're missing in the audio ranges we can't hear!

An unfortunate consequence of mice's extraordinary reproductive proficiency is that when you keep domesticated mice as pets, you must house males separately from females unless you want to spend a tidy sum neutering each male. To state the obvious, that is wouldn't be practical for most people, is to say the least. Many of us who own mice notice that there are deep bonds that form between pairs, and it's a shame to have to separate them, but a necessity nonetheless. We wonder, in this day and age, might not some entrepreneurial chemist come up with a mouse contraceptive that could be put in their water, or sprayed on food, or...? Not a priority with the pharmaceutical companies, I'm sure!*

Currently, there is a different angle to the 'mouse contraceptive problem' in development in Australia. The problem with that one is, if it's truly effective, it could spell extinction for mus musculus...

* But wait! There is hope...!

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