mice song biology

Singing Mice

Songsters with a lust for cheese

It is certainly true that unsubstantiated claims of all sorts of unusual animal behaviours have been made in that past either for reasons of sensationalism or simply because of faulty observations and ignorance. Sometimes, however, observations were correct, but sounded incredulous like for example honey-indicator birds in Africa leading humans to the nests of wild bees, beaver mothers carrying their young on their front paws or the Amphiprion clownfish feeding their sea-anemone partners. Another incredible story is that of singing mice and guinea pigs. Known from several reports in the last century, this behaviour apparently became rarer all the time and now may be at the verge of extinction. Continue reading

blog meyer rocou essay science mouse zoology

Cool mice

How mice survive in bitter cold

The garage attendant opened the bonnet of my car to check its water and oil. When he jumped backward, screaming, I thought the water or the heat of the motor had scalded him, but he pointed at the front of my car and shouted “You got a rat in there, man!”. That was in Jamaica. And indeed, a rat must have found the motor of my car a cosy place to build a nest in. It had carried bits of cloth and fur, leftover bread and other foodstuffs there and obviously been a ‘stowaway’ for a while.

Having had to battle with mice in our stove in the kitchen, I wasn’t too surprised to learn that a rat had housed under the bonnet of my car. The mice in the stove were a greater problem, for whenever the stove became too hot, they left its interior and clambered onto the stove’s upper surface, from where only once (before they disappeared again in the stove’s interior) I managed to catch one of those overheated mice with my bare hands. Perhaps we were lucky not to have mice in our fridge, for mice colonies have indeed been reported from the inside of meat freezers! Continue reading