The case of the dead mice

Hello readers.

It's been a week or so. I've been pretty busy. I'm doing some interesting things at work, but that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the fact that a week ago, I found a dead mouse outside of my apartment. Not outside of the building, but outside of the window that leads out into my "backyard." That was not the first dead, squishy mouse that I've found out there. It was the third. When I found it, I was momentarily disgusted. Then I was a bit sad. Then I left.

Admittedly, leaving a dead mouse out there to rot is not the most sanitary thing to do. But back then, I really didn't feel like dealing with it. It was cold and I had other things to deal with.

When I came back today, I found that the little bugger had found itself a partner. I can't tell which one was there first - they both look like they're in pretty bad shape. Luckily, there aren't any other animals around to bother them. If I were more enterprising, I would start taking a daily photo log of them and mimic what they did at stinkymeat. But I'm not, and that project was gross anyway.

I'm formulating hypotheses. Here's the main theory: I think that the backyard is some sort of death trap for them. The place where they die is at the base of a set of steps. Everything around those steps is either brick, steel, or glass, so they probably can't tunnel their way out. If I had to make a guess, they probably have been coming from some other place outside, make their way down to the bottom of the steps, then get stuck and die long, slow deaths.

The cruel, apathetic part of me would want to know what gets them first: the cold or the hunger. I'm guessing that I could probably get some insight by looking at the corpses and seeing if the second one tried to eat the corpse of the first one. Anyway.

The other hypothesis I have is that they somehow fell off a ledge from upstairs apartments. The reason I think that this is possible is because they are very, very flat on the bottom. They haven't splatted or anything, but they definitely look a little squished. Also, I saw a note on the front door of the building from another tenant, asking if anyone else had noticed a mouse problem. So, they're definitely elsewhere in the building. Maybe they made their way down to the outside of my apartment via gravity.

One last thought - I'd really love it if there was a way of getting rid of these things without having to actually pick them up. It's not that I'm incapable of doing it. I've picked up a number of dead things in my lifetime, including a rat that had been left in one of those snap-traps for so long that it was completely stiff, from the tip of its tail to the end of its snout. It's just that it's really unpleasant, especially when you have no idea how long it's been there. It's really unpleasant when you don't know how long it's been there, but you know it's been at least a week. At that point, you know that it's going to be completely liquefied on th inside, and so will be unreasonably squishy around the midsection. You also know that it will probably be stuck to the metal floor, so you will have to really get under there, like a spatula beneath an omelette cooking on an un-oiled, brass pan. This is probably a bit too much detail, but it should give you an idea of why I really am not looking forward to doing this.

At one point, I thought about finding a stray animal of some sort that might want to eat these things. But I'm pretty sure that would be wrong and more importantly, way more trouble than its worth.

Anyway, that's enough of that. I'll post something substantive some other time.


  1. megan said...

    This sounds inconvenient, at best. My only consolation for you is that one summer I had to pump the milk-filled stomachs of over 200 baby rats with a muscle-relaxation agent, then cut into their chest cavities and inject embalming fluid into their still-beating hearts.

    Scientific research is critical, though, and I am not remorseful, even though I love animals, and only around 25% of the baby rat brains I harvested were deemed suitable for experiments.

    On an editorial note, I would expect the mice corposes to be desiccated or frozen by now. I am also detecting a theme: documenting animal death/decay.  


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