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What Are the Top 10 Games Mice Play?

Mice are masters of interruption. Their simple presence will interrupt our:

  • focus
  • flow
  • peace of mind
  • confidence in food supply
  • sanitary conditions

In a recent tennis match against my son, a mouse provided a sports interruption. Obviously mice don’t play tennis, so what are the top 10 games mice play to become experts at interrupting our lives.

A mouse playing line judge

Top 10 Mouse Games

  1. Hide and seek – A favorite pastime for humans for decades, this game is how mice pattern their lives. They are hiding from predators and your attempts to evict them. They are seeking all the food you would like to keep away from them.
    • Pro tip – remember that mice are playing the advanced version of hide and seek. They don’t necessarily pick just one spot to hide. MIce may have several excellent spots and will set up a new home base if feeling threatened. They also require you to tag them out…not just spot them.
  2. Scavenger hunt – We typically think of mice as seeking the cheese, but they are after far more than this. They want:
    • Short-term goodies
    • Long-term food supply
    • nesting materials
    • something to chew on
  3. Peek a boo – When threatened, the mouse will find a place to hide, then peek out to see if the coast is clear. They are much more patient than the toddlers we are accustomed to playing with. They also have much better support senses such as smell and touch through their vibrissae (whiskers).
  4. Capture the flag – My favorite part of capture the flag was the excitement that would well up in the person who nabbed the flag. They developed super-human powers with the rush of adrenaline. Perhaps this is part of what allows mice who have captured our flag (food & nesting supplies) to:
    • Run up vertical surfaces
    • Jump 13 inches high
    • Long jump 6 feet horizontally
    • Hold their breath for 3 minutes
    • Swim for 3 days
  5. The quiet game – I was never sure if this was a real game or just my parents way to conserve their sanity. I believe it to be both from the parent’s perspective now. I do know my little sister was the one to undermine my parents hope of more than 7 seconds of peace and quiet. Mice, on the other hand, are well versed in the quiet game. If they think they may go unnoticed they can sit motionless without making a sound until people give up on them thinking the mouse found a way out.
  6. Hopscotch – Just when I thought I could hang with the best at this game, they would throw rocks out onto the board and throw me totally off. Mice are master hopscotchers. They memorize their environment kinesthetically so they can run routes through our homes and businesses completely on their automatic system. When something new is introduced, they simply bound across it rather than find out if it wants to kill them. This provides serious frustration for the typical mouse trap setter.
  7. Red light, green light – Humans are all about momentum. It is probably tied to our bipedalism, but we struggle to stop and start at any level of efficiency. Mice on the other hand have 4 nimble limbs that can hit an automatic sprint and stop as soon as they find cover or think they are out of sight.
  8. The egg race – I enjoyed this game on both foot and horseback. I think most sane parents have outlawed the carrying of raw eggs in their kids’ mouths, but I have fond memories of both victories and slimy failures. Mice love to create food caches. The food cache may be adjacent to their nest or within 10 feet, but they don’t lose any speed at all as they haul food from your pantry to their food cache.
  9. Mother may I – Mice are not like little lizards that pop out of their egg and venture into the world on their own. They get plenty of mother-may-I training and bonding over the first 3 weeks of life that keeps them fed and safe. This allows them plenty of time to learn the basic games and skills that will guide them to a long and healthy life. When observing adolescent mice, you can see the developing tendencies along with their imperfections. Within 2 months, they are masters of their trade and ready to raise cute little mouse pups of their own.
  10. Freeze dance – Mice quickly learn the sounds of their environment. They learn whether it is safest to forage when it is quiet (while you are sleeping) or when it is noisy (the break room is always safe when the machinery is going). Whatever the song of the space, the mice learn to dance and play while it plays, and freeze in safe hiding when the music stops.
Can you find the mouse?

Game Over

Whatever games mice have decided to play in your life, you don’t have to play if you don’t want to. Their favorite game is share – share the diseases that they carry. They really don’t care what they contaminate as long as their selfish needs are met. End all of the mouse games by turning the mouse game over to the rodent experts at Rove Pest Control.