Some people get husbands. Some people get children. Some people get large houses that they own all by themselves. Other people? We get mice.
I've been wanting another pet for quite some time. A while back, I got on a hedgie bender where I REALLY wanted a hedgehog. I'm a researcher, however, and after reading about hedgehogs long enough (and their often poop-encrusted feet), I decided against one. For years, I've also been wanting a bird. But after more extensive research on the various types of pet birds, I decided not to go that route. I've already lived with a bird before (cousin Kira's lory), so I know they can be very demanding. Mostly, I wanted a pet I could just sit around and watch. Kind of like having a National Geographic special right there in your living room.
So I spent quite some time researching pet mice, or "fancy mice." I even joined a forum so I could ask questions and learn everything I needed to know up front. (You can find all of the basic information on the The Fun Mouse site or in their forum.) After doing all of my research, I went out on a quest to find three girls from PetSmart. For various reasons I won't go in to on the blog, you want to get your girls from PetSmart -- NOT Petco. Just sayin.'
Above, you can see the girls I chose in their PetSmart cage. The employee was kind enough to open the cage for me so I could see them close up. We discussed many options, and I told her I wasn't sure if I wanted three girls (you need three for social/colony reasons) or one boy (who has to live alone or he'll fight/kill the other males). She suggested that I go over to Petco to simply LOOK at the males and see if I like them. Nope. No likie. I went straight back to PetSmart and bought my trio right then and there.
They were terrified on the ride home, but I coo-ed at them to keep them calm. I also briefly wondered if I'd lost my mind:
I put them in a 10 gallon glass tank with a hard, strong mesh lid on top. The problem? I didn't trust Gretchen with just the clips. Luckily, my father had a handy, long piece of HEAVY steel. Nobody is getting in or out. No, they are NOT:
I tried a mesh wheel at first, but it was quite squeaky, so I switched to a Flying Saucer. The girls were unsure of it at first, but now they LOVE it. They run so fast that their little legs blur. And -- this is crucial -- it barely makes any noise at all. WHOOT!
Can you find anyone in the strawberry?
My favorite is Alice (named for Alice in Wonderland). She's the white one with the brown rump. She's the most sociable and least skittish. She always seems happy to see me. The brown and white one is Agatha Christie. She's clearly the bossy alpha. She's also an OBSESSIVE nest builder. I put some newspaper in the tank, and Agatha spent a whole night dragging large pieces of it into the strawberry with her:
Agatha also likes to climb up the sides of the tank like this. She's incredibly dramatic:
Charlotte (for Charlotte's Web) is the most skittish. She runs away and hides when she sees me coming. But if I sit there long enough next to the tank, she'll come out and say hello:
All three of them sleep in the strawberry together. It's so cute, isn't it??? I know. I got the strawberry and a few other things at Petco. I'll say this for Petco -- they have great mousie SUPPLIES. I'll need to get a few extras of these because Agatha has been chewing up the inside, of course:
There's also a ceramic gourd house. They like to go in there to eat their food. They also totally crack me up by peeking out of the very top when they have enough bedding piled in there:
The problem? You guessed it. Gretchen went BONKERS that first night, and I was so worried. Did I make a huge mistake? Webster also had his hunting instincts kicked into high gear. Oh no!!! But I figured they would calm down with time, which they have done. Gretchen now realizes the mousies are for watching, not
I tried to get the cats a new, little hut to make them happy, but it was too small. They both tried to crawl in, but only their heads would fit:
So I returned it and splurged on this puppy:
Now Gretchen rests peacefully, despite the sound of meece shredding newspaper and running around in the cage nearby. I also got the meows a fancy, new scratcher that looks like a lounge chair. They love it:
And this guy? Webster doesn't even notice the girls anymore. He's happy if he's with/near me. That's just how he rolls:
You may think I have indeed gone crazy, but you know what? I'm happy, and that's all that really matters. It's all about small pleasures, my friends. Very, very small pleasures.