A few years back, we got these live traps for trapping mice in our basement, and every now and again we set them. Two weeks ago, we set two live traps and the first night, we captured a mouse whose tail was about half as long as it should be–the tail had been chewed off, perhaps in a narrow escape. Mark released the mouse into the backyard.
A few nights later Mark lifted the bar-b-que and inside was a mouse whose tail had been chopped off. We got a plastic cup, pushed the mouse into the cup, lowered mouse and cup to the surface of the deck and the mouse wobbled off. Three nights later–last Sunday–we grilled again and once again, came face to face with a mouse with a chopped off tail.
We found it hard to believe there was more than one mouse with a chopped off tail, and since we’d had three encounters with a mouse with a poor strategy for survival, the second time it showed up in the bar-b-que we eased the mouse into the cup and put him in an aquarium. Having raised numerous small rodents over the years, we happen to have in our house a coconut ball for the mouse to hide in, an exercise wheel, some tubing from a hamster cage, a wee dish for food, a water bottle, and in case he was a bit challenged and couldn’t figure out a water bottle, a milk jug cap with water. We added some sunflower seeds and hamster food. Hours later, Willi, a.k.a. kid #4 called, suggesting Smokey Joe for the name of our mouse.
In addition to a shortened tail, Smokey Joe’s right ear was a bit tattered and he had a patch of fur missing on his back.
Smokey Joe immediately adapted to his new surroundings. He took up residence in the coconut ball and came out in the evening to eat and to run on the wheel. In fact, he not only runs on the wheel like most small rodents, he also stops mid-run sometimes and hangs onto the wheel while momentum takes him around three or four times before the wheel comes to a stop. It is quite fun to see.
Smokey Joe also knew what to do with the bits of tissues and made a nice nest for himself inside his coconut.
We don’t know how old Smokey Joe is, but we figure whatever time he has left he can spend inside our house instead of in a bar-b-que or in the yard. He’s shown he can take some hard licks in the real world and we figure there’s no harm in an old mouse retiring to the life of luxury. Welcome to retirement, Smokey Joe.