Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Mouse Games

An online mouse friend shared this story about one of his mice who likes to play games...
Since you mention your mice inventing games, I thought you might appreciate this story. I've posted it before, but that was a long time ago. It's about my mouse Athena.

When Athena was about 6 weeks old she was very active. Many deer mice are active, but she seemed almost hyper active, even for a deer mouse. I remember watching her run on the wheel very fast climb to the top of the tank and run around upside down and just act crazy. Her cage had a house on one end and a parrot food cup on the other end with a ladder for her and her mom to climb to the cup.

She would run on the wheel, jump off while it was still spinning and run over to the house, climb the house to the screen, run upside down to the parrot food cup on the other side of the tank, drop into the cup, run down the ladder as fast as she could and back onto the wheel. After a quick run on the wheel she would do it all again. At first I thought this was just some repetitive action like a dog running in circles.

After watching for a while I started to laugh because I figured out what she was doing. She had invented a challenging gymnastic game. She had created a circuit to follow like a race course and like a race course there was a time to beat. The point was to traverse the entire course before the wheel stopped spinning. The thing that gave it away was that she would only run on the wheel long enough to get it going as fast as she could and than she would jump off with the wheel going at full speed and run the course as fast as she could. If the wheel stopped before she finished (it almost never did) she would just run a little longer on the wheel to get it turning at full speed.
Mabel plays a little game with Christopher when Christopher opens his cage door to pick him up and cuddle with him. He will go hide, then come out like he is about to walk onto the hand, then he'll run back, peek out, etc. until he finally comes onto the hand like he's saying, "OK, I'm ready now", and sometimes even squeaks in satisfaction...or is it impatience?!

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