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EEEP! I dropped a mouse!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yes, you read that correctly. I dropped a mouse. And I swear that at the end of my (hopefully) amusing story, there IS a Spark relevant observation.

For those of you who may not know, I work in a research lab where we use mice as our animal model. [Please no hate mail on this subject. I don't want to get into a debate about animal research here.] Handling mice is not a part of my job that I enjoy but I do it because it's my job. The other day I had to sacrifice some mice for an experiment but I dropped mouse #8 and the little guy scurried away into the corner of the room behind some big machines that we have. Drat! My co-workers came running as soon as I started to unleash a volley of choice words directed towards Mr. Mouse.

They only *look* cute. Don't trust these guys.

In my defense, the mouse I dropped was an old mutant mouse. To put it scientifically, these mice "got problems." As I was picking the mouse up, it started to convulse and my shock caused me to drop it. I had never seen a mouse (even these mutants) do that before. I'm sorry if you will all have nightmares later. I know I certainly did.

Luckily, there was nowhere for Mr. Mouse to escape to. The problem was how to get to him since there were machines in the way. I finally lured him out with a flashlight. He was curious about the light so he finally came out from under the big machine. I swooped in before he had a chance to make a run for it and picked him up (without dropping him this time). Oh, and it only took 4 human beings to catch 1 mouse.
[Insert cat and mouse joke here. I was a member of the Cats team in the 5% spring challenge]

I'm a biologist so very little grosses me out. But I know most people are more squeamish than I am, so I'll spare you details of mouse dissection. The mice I sacrificed ranged in age from 3 months old (fairly young) to as much as 11 months (old). The older the mouse, the bigger it is, and the more it weighs. Not only are they bigger but they also tend to be fatter. They're bigger not just because all of their internal organs are bigger but also because they accumulate more belly fat.

I hope I never have to work with the obesity mouse lines. Those mice are big! Bigger than my hands probably.

Big surprise there.

The mice are housed in cages with unlimited access to food and water. So they can eat whenever they want (get fat) and they don't exactly exercise (stay fat). Bigger mice are harder to dissect because you have to get around all of their fat in order to find whatever organ you're looking for. I admit that the first time I encountered this, I was pretty grossed out. I was not grossed out by the overweight mouse. No, I was grossed out by myself being overweight (at that time). I thought to myself that if some an alien decided to dissect me, the alien would think, "Ew, this human being has so much belly fat, gross!"

So if anyone would like some extra incentive to lose that extra weight you're carrying, come and observe an animal dissection. Trust me, it's an eye opener.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    2969 days ago
    Glad you caught him. Thanks for sharing your mouse adventure with this cat ;-)
    2970 days ago
    Loved your blog and the analogy. "These mice got problems" is a great line and very applicable to this big ol mouse here! Thanks for my first smile of the day!

    2973 days ago
    Yeah, I feel you on the cuteness not being the way they really are. Those little bastards can be mean! And crafty. Smart, quick and SO annoying. Also? They chew.
    2973 days ago
    That is an awesome story! I am a vet technician. I actually teach now and teach the course on lab animals. I like the little rodents, but understand how valuable they are for research. And, how valuable they are to compare my excess belly fat. Tomorrow I increase my ab routine!
    2973 days ago
    Ok, no hate mail...but is it ok if I'm on the meeces side here?! My first thought when you said he got away was "RUN!!"
    I have to laugh when you talk about picking up a mouse, when people see my critters the first thing I hear is, "They are SO big!"
    But I do love them so! I mean, just LOOK at those faces! emoticon
    2973 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/14/2012 9:09:45 PM
    Oh god, this was so awesome, especially the bit about being caged with unlimited amounts of food and water (and they show no restraint). Sounds so, so, so familiar as I think about starting work again on Tuesday... thanks for the story: I will try to show restraint!

    And the next time I look in the mirror and start to feel depressed about the size of my old belly, I'm going to think, "These mice got problems,"(such a great line) and I'm going to laugh.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2973 days ago
    I work in surgery on human beings and it is the same as rats. The more bellyfat they have the harder we have to work to get to and find the gallbladder or whatever needs to be taken out and worked on!!!

    I live in Indianapolis, IN. and we have a large population of obese, morbidly obese, and super morbidly obese patients. It can skew my view of "large belly fat" because only being 20 lbs overweight I can feel down right skinny compared to most of them!

    Still, I need to get my belly fat down! I think I treat myself like the rats sometimes. I isolate myself in my home with plenty of food and water and too little exercise. It is time to move this mouse out of my house and get some fresh air/exercise!!! (My new rollerblades arrived yesterday! WOO HOO!!!)

    Thanks for the blog! It was very entertaining and thought provoking!

    2973 days ago
    Actually that was hilarious to me... although... I don't like having mice in the house (we had an infestation a few winters ago until the hearing husband, son, and cat all alertly noticed the noise squeaking out from under the stereo, where the previous owners had carpeted up the side of the wall adjacent to the garage and discovered a hole about the size of a quarter!! Ventura Highway for those miceses!! Quickly got that sucker plugged up.).

    But I do remember dissecting a toad and a frog and earthworm and maybe a mouse back in junior high school and high school... hadn't thought about it in terms of them being fat and trying to find their organs (never saw a fat earthworm I guess, or fat toad!!).

    Thanks for the laugh! and I love your jungle background art/photo!!

    2974 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11341635
    What a funny story! I'm glad I didn't loose a mouse in MY place of work - I don't think I'd go back again!
    2974 days ago
    All I can say is . . . YIKES! I can only imagine the feeling you had as that little mouse ran!
    2974 days ago
    I once had a cat who went outdoors and would sneak mice back into the house and then drop them in an attempt to teach me how to catch my dinner. I would be screaming, the mouse would be scurrying around, and the cat would just lay there and watch the entertainment. I did get pretty good at catching mice, eventually.
    2974 days ago
  • KATHRYN1955
    My husband refuses to have hernia surgery for that very reason!!! He doesn't want the surgeons cursing all his belly fat! Of course, that is probably the reason he has the hernia in the first place! (Not that I can talk....but fortunately, hips and thighs don't herniate!)
    Good luck with all your mice, caged and otherwise!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    (close as I could come to a mouse, I hear they are from the rodent family!!)
    2974 days ago
    emoticon Oh my gosh, that was a very funny (and grossly visual) post! But I do believe the incentive to not gross out my alien abductors will motivate me to lose my belly fat as well!!

    Thanks for the laugh (and the potential future nightmares!!).
    2974 days ago
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