Pet of the Day

December 5, 2001

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Quinkie, the Pet of the Day
Name: Quinkie
Age: Four months old
Gender: Female
Kind: Deer Mouse
Home: Bradford, Pennsylvania, USA
   This is Quinkie, a beautiful deer mouse who, along with her two sisters, came to live with me in August 2001. She lays her head in the doorway of her house and watches me work for hours. Sometimes I look over and all three girls have their heads propped in the doorway watching me work. Maybe they just like the sound of the keyboard. If I put my arm in the cage, Quinkie will run up and sit on my shoulder. She loves to sit on my head, too. I'm always afraid she will do a naughty on my head, so I don't let her stay up there too long. :-)

    The mice are wheel addicts. They often run in opposite directions. If the lighter mouse doesn't hang on when her heavy sister is running, she tumbles as if she were in the dryer at a launderette. Most of the time they just hang on and enjoy the ride. The running mouse has to leap over the clinging mouse or there's a mid-mouse collision. Boom! Then they jump into the wheel and start all over. It's very comical. Speaking of mouse comedy, they sometimes even give each other mouse-back rides!

    I recently moved the mice into a 35 gallon (tall) tank. Inside are branches, grass and hay, their beloved wheel, and a little log cabin (originally a birdhouse). The three mice love their log cabin and are often spotted sitting on the porch enjoying the view. In the photo, Quinkie is shown as gray with a white belly, but just recently she has begun to turn tan. Her belly is still white. She's a beautiful color, and blends in with the branches and log cabin.

    I met Quinkie's mother last July on a camping trip. She and I came face to face inside my camper trailer. I thought she was beautiful, and I left a small piece of cheese for her. Later I discovered she had taken most of it and left a few nibbled pieces behind. As much as I adored her, catching and keeping her was out of the question. She was a wild animal.

    Two weeks later I went on another camping trip. My husband was reaching under the sink to grab the coffee pot when he found the nest of orphaned babies. We had unknowingly left their mommy out standing in her field. My husband found them and, as he jumped up and down squealing, put them out of the camper. I'm sure it wasn't nearly as funny to the mice. I scolded him severely, then lovingly scooped up Quinkie, and her sisters (Bitsy and Zig).

    We were careful to quarantine the mice to check for illness and viri. They were pronounced clean and healthy. I don't recommend capturing wild deer mice because of possible diseases, but I have found online pet dealers where you can buy them. Keep in mind that wild mice are much much quicker than their domestic cousins. I recommend keeping a live trap on hand just in case. ;-)

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