Of Mice and Other Rodents

23 Aug

This is an almost daily sight:

Pounce crunching into his daily rodent.  Because of his summer dietary habits he needs to be wormed.  Sometimes, all I find is a tell-tail.

This is the tail of a jumping mouse.  See how long it is?  They are one of our favorite rodents.  After a certain orphan gray squirrel, of course.  A few minutes after I found this on the sidewalk, Sue, my neighbor and co-conspirator in all things pertaining to natural history called.  She had just come across a jumping mouse nest in her potato patch.  There were five babies.  Did we want them for the snake?

“No!  They are not like other mice!  They are not eating your garden!”  I read her a Wikipedia entry to prove my point:

“One hundred three mice taken in central New York had stomach contents containing the fungi of the genus Endogone and related genera. Endogone is so small the mice presumably locate it by olfaction. Fungi represent about a third of the New York diet, seeds 25%, lepidoptrous larvae and various fruits about 10%, and beetles about 7.5%. Touch-me-not seeds are found in the diet.”

Jumping mice do not eat vegetable gardens.

She then had second thoughts and decided to return them to their nest.

The five babies in a cottage cheese container.

An individual.  Note the long tail and hind foot.

The return to the nest was complicated by the fact that jumping mice do not have nests in the normal sense.  The have nesting burrows which contain very little in the way of nesting material.  The mother had returned since Sue had taken her brood and had dug around a bit looking for her nestlings.

We put some dry grass in the area and Sue patted them in.

This happened on August eighth.  Sue reported today that the mother jumping mouse had reclaimed her youngsters, re-dug the burrow, and raised them.  She has been seeing jumping activity in her garden.

The primary reason I spoke to Sue today, though,  is that she had found just outside her door and under her short clothesline next to the maple tree a small rodent which she had at first thought was a very young rabbit.  It was so wet and bedraggled and hypothermic she thought at first it was dead.

It has been raining almost straight for two days.  Over 3.3 inches of rain.  It has been quite cool. But not only is the little creature not dead yet, it is not a rabbit.

It is a young flying squirrel.  Under the heat lamp.

The web is a great quick resource for stuff like formula formulas for young animals.

While Sue and Isabelle went shopping, I babysat.  It loved being next to my skin and started crawling as it got warmer.

It ate just a little.

Got to go.  Sue just called.  Force feeding is a no-no! She is coming for a heating pad.

One Response to “Of Mice and Other Rodents”

  1. sandysays1 24 August 2010 at 4:32 AM #

    My those are cute little critters. We have lots of gray squirrels, raccoons, possums, rabbits, even two pairs of otters in the canal, but not many small rodents. The fact there are lots of black, corn, and rat snakes here that might account for that.

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