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diarymousetamer

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Published on February 17, 2014

Author: ldlco

Source: authorstream.com

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PowerPoint Presentation: Diary of a Mouse Tamer PowerPoint Presentation: M O U S E A in the H PowerPoint Presentation: Diary of a Mouse Tamer PowerPoint Presentation: Feb. 10. Suggested a manner to arrange the cage....but S__ reacted violently, accusing me of taking over. She screamed at me, calling me names, storming out of the room, slamming the door. PowerPoint Presentation: She frightened me by verbally threatening to release the mice from their cage. She says she wishes to return them to the girls she bought them from. Pushkin, sitting on the floor, sniffs at the air. PowerPoint Presentation: Feb. 11. The mice groom themselves and each other, acting excited at having their cage cleaned and rearranged: Kitty-Litter covered by long, tangled grass, with short grass on top. An empty spool of toilet tissue and the hollow stem of a Yucca plant serve as temporary furniture. The stem is full of brown, hair--like fibers and pulp. The mice have already begun scooping out a passageway. They climb on it, in order to put their noses against the air-holes in the lid. We put each mouse in the cage alone and let each mouse explore the cage on his own. Then both mice are put in together. One mouse is shyer than the other. Holding the mice in our hands, they feel like quivering puffs of fluff or miniature tumble-weeds or fluttering moths. Feb. 12. This morning I discover a dike, a mound of pulp the mice have scooped out from the Yucca plant. Pushkin apparently notices the mice for the very first time. He hits at the cage with his paw and watches the mice with an air of authority. Every time he strikes the glass, the mice disappear under the grass. Watching me prepare their cage, he becomes temperamental, ripping across the room, howling at the top of his lungs. PowerPoint Presentation: Feb. 14. The mice are are placed in a large cage with bars instead of the "aquarium." A ladder joins the lower level with the middle level. Another ladder joins the middle level with the top level. A treadmill, food dish and water bottle are placed inside. It is important to use only cardboard and light-weight plastic for the furnishings, in case of mishaps or collapses. The mice quickly explore all three tiers and investigate every feature. I leave them in a quiet backroom. Several hours later I am shocked to discover one mouse clinging on the outside of the cage. Afraid of mice, I call S__, who takes an eternity in coming. She nabs the mouse by its tail. The mice are hastily returned to their aquarium. PowerPoint Presentation: Feb. 17. The cage is "improved" and the mice are returned. Unprompted, they discover the utility of every single item in their cage. They pull blades of grass over the food dish to keep its contents fresh. PowerPoint Presentation: I reward them with tiny crumbs of cake. But one mouse begins munching on a tiny turd or dropping, as if it is still too young to digest real food. The mice are a few weeks old. For my own reassurance, their cage is kept under Pushkin's guard and regard. Feb. 19. Today five, ruddy-color, new-born mice are found lying in the grass of the aquarium. They are about one to two centimeters in length, squirming and without facial features. The mother sits on them contentedly. I recall how we observed earlier that one mouse was larger than the other. They were only a few weeks old when S__ and her friends smuggled them into the house. The teenagers were playing way too quietly and that's how it was discovered. Feb. 22. A new cage is bought and set up for the "aunt." The next day I discover S__ had returned the "aunt" to the old aquarium. And the "aunt" can no longer be distinguished from the mother, since both mice sit on the babies expressly to confuse observers. The "mother" spends a lot of time ripping paper up and transferring it from one place to another and covering the babies with it. She also uses corn husks, grass and dirt. She even manages to plaster one side of the cage with these materials. Taking a hint, I transfer the cage to a darker, cooler, more isolated place and she seems content. Earlier, I had told S__ that the babies would have to be killed immediately unless she could make arrangements with the girls who sold her the mice. They had promised they would take the babies off her hands. But, eventually, the promises were broken. PowerPoint Presentation: Feb. 26. The babies seem to be covered with a silvery down and their ears and eyelids are visible. They are also capable of "sleepwalking," as one climbs over another. After separating the aunt from the mother for some hours, we find the mother attacks her (the aunt) when she is put back into the cage. Feb. 27. We discover the Yucca-plant stem has been completely tunneled through. The stem is completely hollow. Lifting the "log" to examine it, something falls out of it. It turns out to be a baby. March 1. The babies look like inch long, silky puppies, who constantly sleep, sleepwalk or nurse. One of them has strayed from the napping pack to the weedy grass in the center of the aquarium. We try to point him back. But he turns the opposite direction. We try again to nudge him back, but he refuses to budge. We look on silently a few minutes, pretending we are gone. He turns around and makes his way back towards his siblings. When we laugh out loud, he stops and turns around and starts making his way in the opposite direction, away from his siblings, an act of brilliant subterfuge, for which he should receive a medal! March 3. S__ notices that when the babies are nursing and she lifts the mother, some of the (nursing) babies are dragged along with her, out of their cozy corner. She believes that is why some get separated from the others. March 8. In addition to the water bottle we have put in a small container of water covered with a flap of paper perforated by a tiny straw. The straw has indeed been gnawed on. Also, a piece of celery, slightly cooked, is put in. The mother and two little babies start nibbling at it. Actually, it appears as if the mother is teaching the babies to eat it, for before, she was never interested in eating celery. March 24. By this time we are able to differentiate four baby boys from one little baby girl (The boys have protrusions on their rear ends). The two "mothers" and baby girl are put in a separate tank. The girl is high spirited and hops about like a grasshopper for sheer happiness. She delights most in making the treadmill turn for minutes at a time. PowerPoint Presentation: Bottom Top Right Side Left Side Top Left Side Right Side Bottom PowerPoint Presentation: March 27. The mother is discovered burrowing a tunnel under the plants in the tank. She crawls in, digs until the structure begins to collapse, then backs out again. In this way, the tunnel is extended inch by inch. Finally, the "girl" rushes in on her heels, while the mother darts out, leaving the girl to withstand a shower of pebbles. March 28. The next day, the cage is up to its top in soil, as the underground works continue. The mother seems depressed and appears to be preparing for hibernation? Eventually, they are put in separate tanks. I use sawdust or grass in their cages. March 30. The mother plays like a kitten with a length of thread that dangles into her cage The "girl" seems to thank me as she sniffs my finger whenever I place an item in her own, separate cage. PowerPoint Presentation: April 1. The mice have taught me about 1)Intelligence: Much of it is uncultivated and innate at birth, including the ability to tease, to mimic, to be playful, to be sympathetic and to have deportment. 2)Space: A larger population can make a small space larger. There might be more stimulation and interaction between four mice than between two mice. Also, each of the four mice has one space it lives in, not just one-fourth of a space. 3)Civilization: Mice like to have houses to live in and wheels to run in and balls to roll in, etc. If a pre-fabricated house is put into a mouse cage, immediately a hierarchy arises among them. The nicest area of the house goes to the strongest and most influential mouse. A mode of behavior is set in motion: Weaker mice eat after the stronger mice have eaten. Control of urine and faeces is exercised as the "house" is perceived as a "clean" place or place of rest. A culture arises. PowerPoint Presentation: May 11. The cardboard houses I make for the mice have round openings for "windows" and "doors" and the houses stand on empty toilet-tissue spools, which serve as columns. Today I discover a perfect oval opening which has been gnawed in one of the columns supporting the females' house. As if to demonstrate its function, the "aunt" runs inside the column and hides there! The columns in the "male" cage are still whole, but a couple of hours later, a perfect oval appears in one of them, too! June 30. Sometimes, in an extravagant mood, I have spent hours making a cardboard mouse house. Sometimes I have covered the perfectly round "windows" with wire mesh or plastic netting, to let light in only. But their last house was built hastily and I've discovered a perfectly oval, mouse-made hole in the lower side of it, with a loose piece of mesh lying flat up against it. The mesh has been dislodged from the roof of the house, for no "window" of the house had mesh already over it. It is uncannily, as if the mice are imitating the process of building a house! Jan. 5. A wild, brown mouse, I am told, has been seen running out from under the couch in the living room. I am so sick with despair, I hardly can take note of the event. PowerPoint Presentation:  Jan. 7. I awaken to a commotion. Pushkin apparently had grabbed the mouse and in his mouth, but S__ shouted, "Let it go!" and Pushkin did, letting the mouse escape. After this, confused by the ethics of the situation, Pushkin takes no more interest in the brown stranger. Jan. 10. I think of trying to lure the mouse into an unused cage, using my tame mice as "decoys." My scheme fails, however, because instead of playing and making noise at night as they usually do, the mice conspire to make no noise at all. At two in the morning, they are soundly sleeping. PowerPoint Presentation: Jan. 15. Another member of the house (T__), who allowed S__ to keep the mice, in the firt place, put out a mouse trap, in which the dead mouse was found today, I am told. PowerPoint Presentation:  Appendix Because of contaminated grass, one of the "parents" started bleeding from her head and developed a deep cut that appeared to sever her face from her head. It curved downward into her eye. She scratched relentlessly and lost the hair on her head and neck. She appeared to have lost one eye. The other "parent" developed a lump under her armpit. It grew to the size of an acorn in a few days. Then it spread to her back leg. A little iodine in their water bottle seemed to reduce the scratching of both mice and a drop of iodine and ammonia seemed to heal the cut and to restore hair growth. The mice comforted each other with great affection, but soon the daughter developed a lump under her arm. I treated the daughter's lump with a dab of terpentine and a dab of acne cream containing special vitamins. The daughter developed an incessant itch and eventually lost one of her eyes through scratching. During this period the mice often lay in pyramid-type fashion, each on top of the other with the heavier daughter on top. Soon it was discovered that one mouse had become lame, unable to use her hind legs. I am convinced now that this prevented her from scratching her eye out. Weeks later, based on this hunch, I taped the hind feet of a boy, who'd developed the disease, and he indeed recovered). I fashioned a splint of two pieces of cardboard for her lower torso. She crouched uncer the treadmill and always lay facing it, as if she remembered it as the greatest joy in her life. Within days she ws moving again, walking short distances. She became very tame, allowing me to hold her indefinitely in my hand without any impatience, closing her eyelids when her cheek was stroked by my huge finger. On February 17, one mouse died of a bleeding lump during the night. She remained herself to the very last day, hopping on her treadmill, eating and drinking normally, requiring little attention and acting in good spirits. Only her plaintive, delicate chirping indicated her grave condition. On March 14, another mouse died. Before she died, she had pulled partially out of her "cast," which we took off. I was shocked to see how emaciated she was. I couldn't bring myself to touch her, even though I had grown to love her immensely. S__ picked her up and held her, until I finally gained control of myself and could hold her. Put down, she lurched forward, walking, but her skinny torso and gigantic head made this an unwieldy task. Immediately she walked to her treadmill and put her head and shoulders on it. The next day, with an eye dropper I fed her a few drops of milk, but later she refused food. I held her a long time and then played a recording of C.M. Widor's Organ Symphony. Shortly afterwards she passed away. When I discovered her, two bitter tears of anguish were still clinging to her eyes. On the day before Ascension Day, one of the boys died. He also, was attacked by the "scratching" disease, which left him blind in both eyes. His brother cared for him continually, licking his eyes, cuddling him in sleep, guiding him to the water bottle in the cage. One day he could not quite reach the water bottle and became dehydrated overnight. His last day of life, I held him a few minutes in my cupped hand. He stood on his hind feet, swaying like a feather, chirping like a bird. A thunderstorm brewed in the afternoon. Like a leaf fallen over, the mouse looked as if he had died while standing on his hind legs. He had been a gentle, modest creature, like an unobtrusive but often unnoticed child. On July 24, the daughter, whose lump had grown to be tremendous, died peacefully. Some hours after having eaten as normal, she put her head under her treadmill and covered her body with grass. ©1995-2014 R. Higgins PowerPoint Presentation: Also by the same author: www.cafepress.com/tramp1

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