Monday, February 27, 2006

Old Girls on Parade

"We work so hard at being pretty..."

"There had better be treats when we are done..."

Ms. Curly, "The Chubby Brown Mouse"

Quimby, "Little Quimby," Ms. Quimby, if you're nasty...

Humphrey's Last Cuddle

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I took Humphrey out a couple of nights ago and he was at first low and slow. But he perked up, almost to the level he was at when he was in his manic phases. I took Humphrey out in his ball and he rolled around the house, occasionally running up on my feet and looking up at me with his dark chocolate eyes before he rolled away.

This morning I took him out and he was very, low. He just barely perked up while I cuddled with him. I put him in the upper level of his home and he munched down on a yogurt cheerio before looking for a corner to bury himself him. He eventually waddled back down to his favorite corner and tucked himself in.

This evening he was the lowest ever. Humprey just barely responded to being picked up and touched. He was over all limp, his legs on one side slightly curled up and he was cool to the touch. His breathing was shallow and at times he would twitch. We heated up a pad for him to lay on while we kept an eye on him. I sat with him and for awhile I kept him tucked in on my chest under my shirt and then moved him to the pad. I stayed with him, stroking his fur while softly whispering to him. Humphrey started jerking with forced sigh like breaths, making a whimpering noise with each exhale with his mouth open. His eyes where wide and I held him in his last moment, whispering to him that I was so sorry that I was not a better 'daddy' and that he was my 'fuzzy little boy.' I looked into his eyes and I could swear he was looking right back at me up to the moment the life left them.

I put Humphrey down on a napkin as I prepared his burial cloth. I gave him some treats for his journey and wrapped him up, preparing him for cold storage before taking him to be with the rest of the rodent family.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rats Understand Cause and Effect

Trish found this about how rats understand much more than many thought...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Busy Hamster...

Busy sleeping a lot these days. I am a little worried about him not moving around or getting enough water. He has built up quite the little throne of food and treats that also serves as his bed. I try to coax him out for a cuddle and a brushing or even some time in the adventure ball. The one good thing is he is gaining some weight.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Some Mouseygirls

I don't like to stress the little old ladies out. But they seem to need to squirm and fuss and it can be really hard to take decent pictures of them even when they are relaxed. And I would rather not put them under bright lights.

But these three of the four mouseygirls settled just long enough to stop and give me their pained looks as I tried to coax them into more pictures. The poor old girl on the left is starting to show her age, especially when I hold her and she snuggles right into my hand. The middle girl is the youngest and seemingly healthiest of the four and she can be very independent from the rest. The one on the right is the chubby mouse who can get around very quickly when she wants to.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

MIT researcher explains how rats think...

...[more treats would be nice]

After running a maze, rats mentally replay their actions - but backward, like a film played in reverse, a researcher at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT reports Feb. 12 in the advance online edition of Nature.

"She said it would be OK" ..."Yeah!"

A little bird just told me that "...Beatrice and Regina said they wanted to sleep on my pillow 'cause it was already warm and you said it would be alright to leave a lot of treats with them while they keep you company..."

I slept in this morning, and the rattie sisters evidently thought it would be nice to do the same on the big, soft bed.

Nice try...

Dr. Fun builds a worse mousetrap...

Dr. Fun

Friday, February 10, 2006

Russell the Tunisian Mouse

Click to see larger version with Riaan's route
Riaan Manser became the first person to circumnavigate the continent of Africa by bicycle in November 2005. He met many fascinating individuals along the way, as you might imagine, including...Russell:
I had a friend join me for about 8 hours on Sunday while aiming for the Libyan border from Tunis . Although I sort-of kidnapped him , it certainly was not the situation from the outset. His name was Russell and he is a Tunisian field mouse.

Russell was huddled in a little ball , shivering uncontrollably in the pouring rain and chilling wind . He was also perilously close to passing traffic and probably in the back of his little mind he understands what I did for him. Nonetheless he enjoyed the warmth inside my jacket pocket and the full stomach that came from sharing my food. He seemed to enjoy the greasy rag I had used as a towel to dry him with initially and then subsequently as his bed. Approximately 30km after I had ‘saved’ him the two of us stopped at a garage for a snack . We ate outside in the parking area as I didn’t think the other customers would enjoy sharing the eating area with a rodent. This is where Russell made his first getaway. He jumped from my lap with an impressive leap. This had me running after him in a bent over position , cycling shoes clicking away like a tap dancer with me every now and then lunging unsuccessfully to scoop him from the ground. This minute or two event drew a group of onlookers most political rallies would be proud of . I put this embarrassment I had suffered down as the mandatory relationship building phase . Although very one sided currently , I remained committed (desperate) to make a new friend. We continued in the rain , me still getting soaked and Russell now cosy in his new apartment I had provided. Russell and I then stopped 25 km later for a drink of water . While I was having my drink Russell sat in my free hand wrapped in his cloth. Suddenly he decided again that he had had enough of my generosity and made a concerted effort to ‘escape’. This time , on his first leap, I managed to catch him mid-air and hold him more firmly than before. Russell then, without much hesitation , bit me and leaped clear of my reach. He first ran parallel to the traffic and then turned right into the grass area. Once again, I decided that the bite was part of the complexities in building a relationship. I followed him into the muddy grass area . Here I did the same ‘catch me if you can ‘ dance as before . Just the tapping sound was replaced by squelch of the mud under my tired shoes. Russell eventually got his freedom. But I am worried about him. He doesn’t even know anybody in that area . It could turn out to be a very lonely move on his part. Good luck Russell.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Coffee Shop Surprise


I turned and looked towards the large window at the coffee shop just in time to see one blur going down towards the sidewalk while another smaller, faster blur shot upwards. I went outside to find a very bewildered pigeon hiding behind a flower plot, her feathers a mess. I looked up towards the nearby tree to see a very eager and slightly annoyed peregrine falcon that was about 2/3 the size of the pigeon.

I figured the poor pigeon was doomed. Even though my heart felt for her, there was really nothing I could do the help the poor thing out. I talked softly to her as I coaxed her out of her hiding spot for fear that another coffee shop patron would antagonize her or the falcon into a frenzy, especially if there were any children nearby. I scooted the pigeon along to get her to fly off, hoping to give her a running chance while the falcon was distracted...

All night long...

Normally I do not fall for advertisement. But the ads for the new Mountain dew product, being shown on television and at are a bit too cute. In one frame, from the first ad on the list, you see this little guy singing along on the chorus. In an earlier frame harder to capture you will see what look like pygmy mice hopping along to the beat of the music.

Bouncy the Box Turtle

A friend of mine shared this about a wee little beastie who lives with his family...

We've had a very mild weekend here in Vermont. I even found some worms for our box turtle, Bouncy. We've had the turtle since 1986 when he crossed our yard in Marshfield after being injured. She recovered and has been with us ever since. Estimated age: nearly 70! When my then four year old picked her up and dropped her, the name Bouncy was bestowed upon her. Mother-in-law speaks to her and gives her regular walks in the yard. We took her to a vet who estimated her age at around 55 in 1986. Her favorite food is Pepperidge farm bread and worms.
I asked my friend to clarify what gender Bouncy is, since he used both 'he' and 'she' in his descriptions; he said that Bouncy is most definitely a female!


Click to see larger version
Humphrey and I discussed it, and he agreed to pose for this closeup to make up for my not-so-funny posting the other day...Handsome little devil, isn't he?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How embarrassing!

[I don't take pictures of YOU sleeping, do I?!]