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27 April 2013

Mouse with Strange Marks

Mouse in GardenOne summers day about 2008 my wife was pegging washing out on the line in our back garden. Close to the washing line was a rowan tree and around the base of the tree was a circular rockery made from broken concrete slabs. Movement caught my wife’s eye and she saw what she called a "cheeky mouse" going about its business as if a human wasn’t there. She flicked a piece washing at it to try to shoo it off but it did not go away so my wife finished the task of hanging out the washing and went back in doors.

 Flesh missing from the nasal areaNow the following day things got a little unusual. For some odd reason before I went to work I went into the back garden and it was there I discovered a dead mouse in the middle of our lawn. I picked it up by the tail and was about to dispose of it when I noticed the mouse had unusual trauma to its body.


Gaping hole in back end of mouse

First in photo "A" the flesh had gone from its nasal area, nothing unusual you might say, just disease. But then I noticed in photo "B" there was a gaping hole at its back end. Again you might say disease, but wait! Photo "C" shows the back of the mouse. I took this image with the camera on Macro, with the normal eye there was a perfect teaspoon shape of cut fur on the mouses back, it was about half a millimetre in depth. You can see the spoon shape starting from either side of its tail, you could not see the two black marks just past half way up on the spoon shape with ordinary eye sight; it was only when I used Macro that these became visible. You must understand that even though it does not look like it in the image, the spoon shape was perfectly cut Spoon shape from either side of the mouse's tail with two black marks above

Some years later I showed a vet my images and asked their opinion. They said it could be what is called "Barbering". This is when the mate of an injured creature purposely trims the fur from around the wounded area. They did not venture an opinion on the other injuries. The trimming I can accept, but why in a perfect teaspoon shape, why not just around the two black marks? To me this was not done by a cat because cats maul their prey and carry it around in their mouth getting saliva on the mouses fur. This mouse did not display that kind of trauma. At face value something clamped on and held this mouse while it violated its body, what that something is I have no idea, my hope is someone may read this that could shed some light on what caused the mouses demise.

My wife believes it was the same mouse she saw. Twelve months later the rockery was removed, nothing unusual was found. For now it will have to remain a mystery.
The English Cognizant Citizen

Further Reading
 http://www.kaluefflab.com/pdfs/publications/2006KalueffHairBarbMice.pdf

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