The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Perhaps it is the scientist in me, or perhaps not. I have always enjoyed rodents and never had the "fear response" that many people exhibit when in the presence of these beasts.

One of my first memories about rodents is a field mouse I found that had fallen into a bucket and could not get out. This was in the late fall, and being only 5, I was worried that the little mouse would not be able to survive the winter that was fast approaching.

After much pleading and convincing, and against the better judgment of my Mom and the grudgingly given "ok" from my Dad, we first used a big fish bowl, and then my Dad helped me to build (truthfully, HE BUILT and let me *think* I was helping) a real cage (out of fine hardware cloth, wood, and metal flashing) for the little beast.

I watched and fussed over and cared for that little beast all winter long. I think the mouse must have literally been half starved and dehydrated when I found it (and likely near death) because it always acted calm and docile around me after it had recovered. And after a few weeks, I even would (secretly, without telling my parents) take the little mouse OUT of the cage and hold it. It never bit, nor did it try to scurry away. This really is NOT the way a mouse will normally behave, but this one did with me.

Well, as I had promised my parents, that Spring, when it was warm enough, I let the mouse go out in the woods/field area behind our home. I cried a bit, but was also happy for the experience.

So, I am not sure, but at some level, perhaps my being a professor in biology, my being who I am and how I work with rodents is something that was all a part of me even when I was just a little, tiny sprout? It is interesting to contemplate. I wonder what else about myself may be so ingrained and a part of who I have ALWAYS been? My demeanor? My moods? My pipe? My manner of speech? My wearing a beard and moustache?

Who knows?



Blogger MRMacrum said...

I used to secret creatures in my room as a child. Lizards I found. A field mouse or two. More than a few snakes. But my favorite clandestine pets were my ant lions. I found them in the dusty soft dirt under the eaves of our house in Tampa, Florida. Why I even noticed them was because I was ten and kids notice things others don't I guess.

I was fascinated with their cone shaped pits that would trap hapless ants who fell in. As the ant tried to scurry out, I am guessing the vibrations would arouse the ant lion who was waiting at the bottom. The more the ant scurried, the further into the hole it moved, until finally in the blink of an eye, the ant lion would reach out and drag the ant under.

I filled a shoe box with the dirt from outside and captured several ant lions. I fed them ants every day at first. And then I figured out that the ant lions did not need an ant a day, so I altered their feeding times to every other day. That seemed about right.

My mom found my little ant lion colony and made me toss it as she always made me toss whatever critter I was hiding in my room. But they were very interesting animals. Just watching them form their pits was so very cool, nevermind the feeding part.

Wednesday, 09 February, 2011  
Blogger amelia said...

I have always loved mice and rodents of all kinds and even at my (old) age, still do. I was the same as a child, always finding something to save!!

I also have had mice and rats as pets and too this day will keep something and try my best to save it's life!!

Wednesday, 09 February, 2011  
Blogger BBC said...

Ah shucks, it's not hard to tame a mouse.

I've never heard of an ant lion.

Wednesday, 09 February, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful story, thank you. I remember as a kid I kept a doremouse that my father had captured.

Thursday, 10 February, 2011  
Blogger BBC said...

Trump dangles potential 2012 bid before CPAC

Just when I thought things couldn't get anymore weird, they did.

Thursday, 10 February, 2011  

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