My mouse farm!

Today,after endless finessing, I finally got word that I will be getting my own mice. My own lab mice. To observe. At home.

That's a big deal in itself. It is easy to get pet mice--but I didn't want that. I wanted the kind of mice Clarence Little observed and bred in the 1920s--the c57black strain that now dominates lab science world wide. And that wasn't easy. My studio is not, among other things, "a certified and accredited lab and murine facility," as one source explained to me, and so I could not have one. I tried to explain that, according to my wife, it  is a certified mental ward, but that didn's seem to help my cause.

I would have been easier, I imagine, if I wanted more than 4. It would be easy, say, if I wanted 4000--perfect, say, for a breeder of snakes, the other big consumer of mice these days.

But I not be a consumer of snakes.

I just wanted to observe the little critters, not turn them into sushi for somebody's pet boa, amagi-musi.

But finally I prevailed on a good soul at a local lab and got myself 4 females.

Four females with a slight little problem: None of them have the gene for generating apolipoproteinE, fighter of bad cholesterol and booster of good.

That means they will likely die early of some atherosclerotic, plaque-based disease--stroke or heart attack.

In the modern world of mouse, it seems, you can't have it all.

On to the pet store, and what might be called "the paradox of enrichment."

Or: pink mouse house or blue?

Greg Critser