Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Killing mice

Dr. Myers recalls his salad days in a mouse lab. I agree with him that glue traps are mean and pointless, and I'll point out that his lab-approved method of rodent killing works well in the field. You grab the mouse in one hand, put your thumb at the base of the skull, and push up. No messing around with the tail, no table edge.

The idea there is to sever the spinal column, a clean, painless death.

Another method used in the field is thoracic compression. Squeeze the chest for a little while and the mouse suffocates.

When we trap in an oldfield, this is how we make Mus musculus go away. It's an invasive species and it messes with our study species. When we catch house mice, they don't survive the experience.