Monday, August 9, 2010

In Which We Find More Critters

I don't know if I've mentioned this before (I thought I had, but I couldn't find the post in a cursory looksee through the blog) that we have an egressed window that animals like to get trapped in




Typically it's just voles that get stuck down there. (actually we always assumed they were voles, but after some research I've come to the conclusion that they're probably Northern Grasshopper mice)



(UPDATE: turns out, after more research, they're actually short-tailed shrews. but all the details are the same)





They're awesome because they looks so cute and soft with their velvet grey fur, but they're take no prisoner carnivores and will EFF YOU UP if you give them a chance.

Once we had three mice (shrews) in there at once, 2 alive, 1 dead. We got one out and released it but the other one was NOT LEAVING. At one point he turned and looked at twin and opened his tiny mouth to issue the highest pitched little shriek you've ever heard. Freaked us out.

Turns out northern grasshopper mice howl and eat other mice (as do shrews).

Also turns out the way to get them out of windows is by putting the other dead mouse (shrew) in the bucket, and live, crazy mouse (shrew) will panic that you're stealing his food and will run into said bucket to try and get the dead mouse body back. Then you can just scoop him up and let him go in the park with his precious dead mouse meal.

Anyway, aside from shrews we also once had a baby bunny. Which was clearly the cutest thing we've gotten down there.

The egress window leads to Brother's bedroom in the basement and he's the one who lets us know when something is trapped in there because they scratch at his window and make a racket.

Saturday morning, Brother came upstairs and told us we had one guess as to what was in the window, and it wasn't something that had been down there before.

Our guesses of squirrel and bird were not correct.

No. It was a Muskrat!



He was kinda cute looking. We grabbed our usual bucket and twin climbed down thinking we could just scoop him up (she always does the animal wrangling since she helped with the wild animal SOPs at her shelter. And in case you're wondering, muskrats can't carry rabies)

Turns out muskrats hate buckets. A lot. He kept attacking the bucket, which was kinda scary since he filled it.

Finally he attacked the bucket, landing inside, and didn't jump back out. Twin lifted the bucket up and he hopped into the yard.

Then there was a tense few moments where the muskrat glared at Brother and I and we glared back. It was totes a "it's up to you what happens now, muskrat" but instead of attacking us he decided to go on his way.

right here he was deciding if he should rush us or not...



Of course his way meant he'd calmly walk across the patio and contemplate the weather.



We finally managed to shoo him out into the park. There's a pond about 6 houses down and I'm sure that's where he came from (though why he came all the way down to our house and all its doggy smells is a mystery)

25 comments:

Ted Cross said...

Cannibal mice, I like that. Maybe for my next story. I've only got normal cannibals in my first one!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Must drive your brother nuts to hear the critters at his window in the middle of the night!

Cruella Collett said...

Aw, poor thing! He looked a little cranky to be disturbed in his exploration of the outside (right?) of your house...

And those mice were creepy! I agree with Ted, they'd make perfect elements in a story (horror, no doubt)

Palindrome said...

You seriously just creeped me right out!! RIGHT! OUT!! I'm going to have nightmares of carnivorous shrieking (it just took me like 3 minutes to remember how to spell that) mice. I hate rodents!

I love that you had your camera ready so I could share in your critter adventure. Critventure. Adritter.

Ch-ch-ch-chip and Dale! RESUE RANGERS! (I don't know why that just popped into my head.)

Matthew Rush said...

How strange. Who knew that there were violent cannibalistic shrieking attack mice. Reminds me of Monty Python for some reason.

Meika said...

Okay, so yeah. The cannibal mice? Creeped the heck right out of me! I could have gone my WHOLE life without knowing they existed!

Cute muskrat, though!

Summer said...

AWESOME! I LOVE the howling cannibal mice!!! They're so cute. And vicious!

How awesome is a muskrat?? So cool!! I bet your dogs went nuts smelling the bucket.

Hart Johnson said...

What a crack-up on those vicious mice! Who woulda thought? Love the food thievery ploy to get him going again... That muskrat is too cute!

Lola Sharp said...

So, I begin reading this post, gleeful...you always share the cutest critters... and I see the mouse and think...AWWW he is SOOO cute. Such big round eyes...the cutest mouse ever, I think. And then what began as a loving tale of furry cuteness took a bad turn---the 'cute' mouse is EVIL and SCARY! A fanged, shrieking, howling cannibal mouse! Ahhhhh!!!

*shudder*

I am scarred for life.
And you set him free to eat Mrs. Frizby??!!?

I shan't recover from this news.

Also, the muskrat is cute...and makes me want to break out in Captain and Tenille (sp?) "Muskrat Love". (even though I don't really remember the melody or words...but I remember the title from my childhood on my mom's VW bug's AM radio.)

If I were your brother, I'd change rooms. I'd be terrified the evil mouse would get in somehow and eat me in my sleep.

Teebore said...

It's a regular menagerie round your place, isn't it?

We have a fat ol' muskrat that hangs around our pond.

Was the baby bunny disease-ridden? Cuz any time I see a bunny and comment on its cuteness, Mrs. Teebore has to remind me of how diseased they are (to which I always I say, I know, but they're still cute). But now that's all I can think of when it comes to wild bunnies.

@Palindrome: Ch-ch-ch-chip and Dale! When there's danger!

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

The mice eating mice story was a little freaky. The muskrat is so darn cute. I like the pic where he’s giving you the "stink eye".

Summer Ross said...

well it sounds like interesting times with your little window and critters. It must be quite an inspiration for you if you are writing, all those little details are perfect for stories. well some stories. thanks for posting!

Kelly Dexter said...

I didn't know there was such a thing as cannibalistic mice, eek!

In other news, that picture of the muskrat staring you down is adorable.

j.leigh.bailey said...

I don't think I've ever seen a muskrat before. If someone had asked me to describe one, I'd have come up completely blank. Now I know! :D

Anne said...

i disagree with the mice identification- i stand by the fact that they are voles- they look just like this (which i found when i googled vole):
http://thisoldhouse.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341cae1553ef011570217ed3970b-500wi
or this:
http://www.strangesgardencenter.com/activek_apps/sgc/assets/hardgoods/animai%20control/insect-voles.jpg

they have beadier eyes and shorter tails than mice

gasp! or maybe they're Northern Short-tailed Shrews:
http://en.wikivisual.com/images/d/d4/Southern_short-tailed_shrew.jpg

either way both shrews and voles eat dead animals. But i will never, in my life, forget how terrified i was by a 5oz rodent screaming his hatred at me. I mean, that muskrat was jumping right at the bucket (and therefore me), and yet not even scared. But little vole showing his teeth while screaming... no thanks.

Muskrat takes the cake though. Anything larger, however, and we're calling Animal Control (well...i might tackle a small woodchuck)

Anne said...

i disagree with the mice identification- i stand by the fact that they are voles- they look just like this (which i found when i googled vole):
http://thisoldhouse.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341cae1553ef011570217ed3970b-500wi
or this:
http://www.strangesgardencenter.com/activek_apps/sgc/assets/hardgoods/animai%20control/insect-voles.jpg

they have beadier eyes and shorter tails than mice

gasp! or maybe they're Northern Short-tailed Shrews:
http://en.wikivisual.com/images/d/d4/Southern_short-tailed_shrew.jpg

either way both shrews and voles eat dead animals. But i will never, in my life, forget how terrified i was by a 5oz rodent screaming his hatred at me. I mean, that muskrat was jumping right at the bucket (and therefore me), and yet not even scared. But little vole showing his teeth while screaming... no thanks.

Muskrat takes the cake though. Anything larger, however, and we're calling Animal Control (well...i might tackle a small woodchuck)

Anne said...

why did that post twice?! stoopid blogger

Talli Roland said...

Wow! Poor little thing.

But those wailing mice-eating mice freak me out!

Falen (Sarah) said...

Ted - yeah i saw that in the blogfest

Alex - i don't think he minds when they're cute bunnies

Cruella - yeah he was napping when we arrived to rescue him

Palindrome - i wish i could explain to you what it sounded like - almost like a high pitched electrical current. it was weird and freaky

Matthew - The teeth!

Meika - LOL i think it's kind of awesome

Summer - heck yeah they did. Yvie has a post about it on friday

Hart - it took us a good 5-10 minutes before we tried stealing his food

Lola - Ha! and also, we already have mice or soemthing in his ceiling, though they're probably just regular old mice

Teebore - pshaaa. I mean, everything is dying. Doesn't mean it's not cute along the way

Holly - at the time, the stink eye was kinda freaky. I thought he might try and take us on

Summer Ross - it does indeed help whenever i'm writing woodlore junk

Kelly - i know! They're awesome though, right? I particularly like that they howl

J.leigh - we used to confuse woodchucks and muskrats for the longest time

Anne - but the howling...and the cannibalism! also, the MN DNR states voles are herbivores, so they're right out.
However i do agree with your norther short tailed shrew identification and will update the post

Anne - i deleted the dupe

Talli - eh, he was waddling off to the pond when he left our yard so i'm sure he's fine

Falen (Sarah) said...

hmm, nm - the duplicate won't delete...

Claudia said...

Ah, critters! They're cute in their own little way. Nice anecdote and great pics, ;)
Cheers!

Shelley Sly said...

Okay, so I know they're supposed to be creepy or whatever, but those little critters are so damn adorable and fluffy! I can't help but like them!

Falen (Sarah) said...

Claudia - thanks! and they are indeed cute

Shelley - i know, right? Those shrews looks so soft i just want to pet one! But NO! They're slightly venemous i believe...

Maria Zannini said...

LOL. No muskrat love for him, huh?

Do you ever keep dog food outdoors? Is there a bird feeder nearby?

I'm always curious as to what drives an animal into unknown territory.

Very neat!

Falen (Sarah) said...

Maria - yeah i'm curious. We do not keep dog food outside, and we do have birdfeeders, but they're in the front yards and are currently empty (darn birds eating too fast...grumble grumble)

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