White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) - By Charles Homler/Wikimedia.

Mini Mouse on the Dashboard

White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) - By Charles Homler/Wikimedia.
White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) – By Charles Homler/Wikimedia.

This is an accounting of my ordeal. I was driving home on Wednesday afternoon, and a field mouse ran across the dashboard of my car.

The cute White-footed mouse, sat on the heat vent right beneath my windshield. My car had been parked all day and apperently the little guy was cold. Since it was warming itself on the windsheild heating vent, I turned off the heat. The field mouse stared at me in disbelief. But there was no way I was driving through heavy traffic with a White-footed mouse warming itself on my dashboard. I understood that the mouse was cold. but the he or she had to go.

Of course, I was in heavy traffice on a busy street in Philadelphia. Luckily, my line of traffic had stopped at a red light. I put on brakes. put the car in park and jumped out of the car. I waved the traffic behind me to go around me. Some drivers looked at me, with quizzical looks on their faces, but they just went around my car. Then I remember I needed to turn on my binkers. Of course the field mouse was right above the button. I slowly reached in and pushed the blinkers on. Now, I just had to figure out how to get the field mouse into of my car.

I went around to the rear passenger side door, opened it, and took out the long handled ice scraper I keep in the back seat during the cold months. Then I opened the fornt passenger side door. I placed the long handle on the left side of the mouse and ushered it toward me and the open front passenger side door. The mouse looked at me with a shocked look on her face. I told it I was sorry but it had to go. The mouse got the message and jumped out the open door. It ran under the car. I ran around to the driver’s side, opened the door, got in, and took off. I don’t know where the little mouse went but it was out of my car.

Then I noticed the little droppings on my dashboard. I wondered just how long the mouse had been in my car and how did it get in there?

I don’t mind admitting I was pretty creeped out. For one thing I had to drive home with mouse droppings on my dashboard. Disgusting. Two, I wondered how many others were in my car. It was a unsettling ride home. I think if a house mouse had ran across my dashboard, I would had had an accident.

Yes, this is all true. No, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Once I arrived home, I parked the car and decided to clean the car the next day. It was getting dark and digging around in a dark car with the possibilty of more rodents, was not something I wanted to do.

The next day, I suited up with thick denim jeans, steel-toed hiking boots, and rubber gloves. I opened the car and took eveything that wasn’t attached to the car out of the car. I took out a roll of weed barrier I had brought back for my garden plot a few days before. When set the long four foot long roll on its’ end and three or four headless, chewed up house mice feel out and a live one ran out, under my greenhouse and into the neighboors yard. Mystery solved. The mice had made the hollow roll of the weed barrier their winter home. And I had checked the roll when I picked it up and put it in my car. Well, that did it, no more bring stuff home from the garden plot like that again.

The roll of weed barrier is similar to the logs that White-footed mice sometimes use for their winter burrows. Their nests are used for hiding, nesting and reproduction. The nests are built in tree cavities, logs, burrows, buildings and abandoned bird’s nest. When I emptied the roll of weed barrier, shredded leaves, bark, and fluffy stuffing fell out.

White-footed mice eat seeds, nuts, especially acorns, berries, fungi, green plant matter insects (mostly ground beetles and caterpillars), centipedes, snails, and small birds and mice.

Did I mention the half-eaten carcuses  were house mice not field mice like the one on the dashboard? These were not White-footed mice like the one who sat on my dashboard the day before. I would had needed oxygen and medical attention if those little  things had run across my dashboard. I probably would’ve had an accident.

The really creepy part was the headless mice that were the obvious victim of the larger White-footed mouse or the surviving house mouse that ran away. Cannabalism or predation. Those mice had been trapped in my car with nothing to eat for several days. They were hungry and cold.  I had to clean up the little headless dead bodies of house mice. Is this gross or what?

Needless to say I spent a couple of hours vaccuming, cleaning, and disinfecting my car. Just the thought that several mice were riding around with me for several days, freaks me out to no end.

The takeaway from this: throughly check anything brought home that was outside all summer. Or better yet, don’t bring anything in inside your home.

White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) - By Charles Homler/Wikimedia.
White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) – By Charles Homler/Wikimedia.

 

Now, I wish I had snapped a photo of the field mouse on my dashboard. We’ll just have to settle for a stock photo.

So, how was your day?

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