Sunday, March 18, 2018

Soused Mouse

Chardonnay de mus

A friend who shall remain unnamed had a half full wine bottle left open on his kitchen cabinet in his cabin for a week.  When he returned he found a mouse floating in the chardonnay quite glassy-eyed.  How he got in there is the big mystery.  Yes it was a male," Barb said, "What else did you expect, probably did it to impress a buddy."

The internal diameter of the bottle neck is 3/4" which looks like a tight fit.  Schwartz's Wild Mammals of Missouri says that a House Mouse,
Mus musculus, can fit through an opening 1/2" in diameter.  The real question I have is how did it climb up the slick glass bottle?  It must have had a powerful thirst!

Unlike the other 12 mouse species listed for Missouri, the House Mouse is an invasive species.  Mus domesticus, western European house mice, and Mus castaneus, southeastern Asian house mice are two of the seven different strains that have adapted quite well to life with humans.  As a group they tend to breed year around, leading to high numbers in our structures.

They are more omnivorous than the native mouse species, adapted to a wide variety of insects as well as our stored and prepared foods, soap, glue, and apparently white wine.  They have a wide variety of predators but most of them don't have access to our structures.  In our creek house, its main threats are the resident Black Rat Snake and Barb.

Mus domesticus, western European house mice, and Mus castaneus, southeastern Asian house miceThey are 
I broke the bottle open as my friend said he didn't want to save the wine.  The mouse was totally pickled and quite relaxed. His next stop is in a flower pot in the garlic field to give insects a chance to clean the skeleton.  A story like that is worth preserving.
Lisa Berger's note:
Bouquet: Notes of 3-day old toast, and pickled mus-kleberries
Mouth feel: Exquisitely full bodied, especially if the mouse is in your first sip

Editor's note:
We have named the mouse George in honor of George, Duke of Clarence who was said to be executed by drowning in a butt of malmsey wine, as it is described in Shakespeare’s play Richard III.  This link describes the controversy over this which I think is confusing with facts a better story.  Long live George, but not in our case.

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