1. Sili says

    Interesting to see the limits of mousebrains – or mouseminds, I guess. It doesn’t just break the cracker into manageable pieces.

  2. Pteryxx says

    It doesn’t just break the cracker into manageable pieces.

    Mice and rats don’t generally use that strategy, no; it’s grab and go with anything they can possibly drag in one piece. Besides the risk of repeated trips or leaving most of the food behind un-grabbed, how would it break the cracker up?

    The mouse actually makes several attempts at holding the cracker off to one side to clear its feet, including the first couple of attempts, and at the very end pauses and changes its grip back to the corner, then slings the cracker over its shoulder and succeeds.

    I’d bet subsequent cracker trials in the same place would show it getting better and better at that strategy.

  3. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says


    Way back in 2001, I was sent to a late-season forest fire in Montana. Below freezing at night, 80s in the day. The fire camp had, by mid-September, been there for almost three months. And no matter how conscientious the crews and overhead were, stuff, food, gets dropped.

    We got a snowstorm. An inch in camp, a couple of feet in the mountains. And the fire camp disappeared real fast. Except for the tents. I, being the only one with time left on my deployment, got to babysit the tents. Luckily, a Canadian engine crew gave me a half-dozen Cohibas (Cuban ones!) and I spent three days sitting in the back of a pickup truck in a lawn chair with a cooler of water and Garorade, the cigars, and a couple of good history books while the local USFS office brought me a hot breakfast, a bag lunch, and a hot dinner.

    The mice had proliferated during the time of the fire camp. Suddenly the food was gone. I remember sitting in my truck at night, with a full moon, watching thousands of mice search for food. The smart ones figured out how to get into my 2001 Ford F-150 off-road special (with a caved-in nose thanks to the moose) and began raiding all of my bags of gorp.

    I was sleeping in the truck and heard a racket. I woke up to see two mice dragging a 4 ounce bag of trail mix (with M&Ms) up on top of the dash board. I stayed quiet and watched. It took them about 15 minutes and it was as amusing to watch as the mouse with the cracker above. When they got to the dash board, they each chewed off a corner and ate their way through the bag.

    Thanks for the memory.

  4. Trebuchet says

    I have some persistent mice under my house. They’re dead, and persist in smelling bad.

  5. says

    Hee. Reminds me of the time Alfie managed to snag a loaf of bread in the kitchen, and was determined to take it all the way back to the studio. He managed it, too.


    It doesn’t just break the cracker into manageable pieces.

    No, that’s not considered to be a viable strategy. My rats will become visibly stressed if you break something apart for them, they’ll try to cram as many pieces as possible in their mouth to carry off. Rats hoard food, and a whole whatever, requiring only one trip, is what they consider to be best. They are remarkably creative when it comes to carrying things considerably larger than they are, and getting large object into some fairly inaccessible places.

  6. says


    I was sleeping in the truck and heard a racket. I woke up to see two mice dragging a 4 ounce bag of trail mix (with M&Ms) up on top of the dash board.

    I buy that stuff for Havelock. He’ll do anything for M&Mmmmmmmmms.

  7. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says


    What amazed me was that they cooperated to get the bag up to the dashboard. Or maybe they were trying to take it away from each other in the same direction.

  8. says


    What amazed me was that they cooperated to get the bag up to the dashboard. Or maybe they were trying to take it away from each other in the same direction.

    It’s not unusual for mice and rats to cooperate to get something large to a safe space. Fighting over the contents can wait until then. :D

  9. quidam says

    It’s interesting that he stopped his futile scrambling, ate a nice mouthful, paused and thought for while and then solved the problem almost immediately.

    I find taking a break, having a bite to eat (and maybe a malt) helps me solve problems as well. But I’m probably anthropomorphising

  10. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    blf @13:

    Why did it want to go to the higher shelf?

    Because the cracker didn’t want to be desecrated? That part of Jesus was the tibial shelf and wanted to be in the right place? PZed scared the cracker?

  11. brett says

    I love the part near the end just before the mouse finally gets it up, when he leaves it and goes up on to the top level to leave . . . then turns around and heads back. “Goddamn it, no! I’m not leaving without my cracker!”

  12. fullyladenswallow says

    Actually, you can’t see it from the video but the mouse goes up-top to check it’s lift calculations and correct for weight and mass of the cracker.

  13. saelpalani says

    I have a few wild house mice as pets. I am the peanut butter dispenser and the milk cracker maiden!

    My first mouse that came to me was a tiny runt with a lopsided ear. Her little body was probably bitten by her mates. She was curious about me and I knew that mice were easily trainable. I started to put small pieces of popcorn on the open part of the floor where I could observe her taking it. She started coming back to the same spot to get her treat.

    Next I put a small piece of paper under the treat. The paper was to be a stand-in for my hand. Eventually, I substituted the paper for my hand. She was put off at first but the food was too much of a temptation for her. She eventually would take the food from the middle of my palm.

    I trained her like this for about a month and then decided I wanted her to lick peanut butter off my finger. Hell, I’ve seen how badly mice love the stuff, so I put it on my finger and waited for her to come. I waited a seriously long time for her to approach me but a gentle voice (mice are extremely sensitive to sound) helped her overcome her fear. She put her two tiny little hands on my finger and licked every bit off.

    It is now a nightly ritual, sometimes with other mice coming to have a share.

    My new mouse is Peanut. He’s more curious than she was when she was younger. Peanut actually sits in my hand and licks pb from my palm. You can imagine how surprised I was when he stopped licking and raised his head to stare into my face. I smiled at him and he popcorned about a foot away. It was then that I knew he realized I was a ‘being’ and not just a food dispenser.

    It feels wonderful when he looks up at me. I look at his bulging little black eyes and his constantly moving nose and wonder what he’s thinking. He’s a great pet except my original mouse ‘Little Girl’ doesn’t like him. She tries to sneak up and bite his tail while he’s eating. She accidentally bit me in her desperation to remove him from her territory. She gets a sound ‘NO’ when she tries hunting him and scurries away while rattling her tail.

    Mice are very intelligent creatures as I’ve come to find out.