John's Digital WastelandAnimals--

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We have two Egyptian Spiney mice as part of our family. I stumbled across them in a pet store in Montana when we lived there. Our white blind mouse (named after his wheel: squeaky) had just passed away and there was an empty place in our household for another pet. I couldn't resist getting one because of the way they look!

I bought one of the two males that the pet store had and brought him home. A few days later I was walking past the pet store (I worked two doors down from it) so I went in to look around some. I stopped and looked at the one male mouse that I had not purchased. His ears were droopy, he had a forlorn look in his eye and he was very lack-luster in his movements. I thougtht that maybe he was sick, so when I got home that evening, I examined our mouse and found the same symptoms!

My wife and I decided that they weren't sick, just lonely. We went back to the pet store right away and picked up the other male mouse. The pet store owner warned us that the males may fight a little when they mature, so we kept that in mind as we reunited the two brothers. They both immediately perked up when we put them together. They examined each other closely to make sure that no one was worse for the wear. We could hear tiny little squeaks coming from them as they talked to each other and reassured themselves that all was well in the world.

We were happy that they were glad to be together again and have never had a problem with the two little fellows at all. They chase each other around the cage and run all over the place, but they never attack each other or cause harm to come to the other. The only time they "fight" is when we give them a treat that is in the shape of a wedge of cheese. They'll yank and tug on it and play a little game of tug-o-war and keep-away as they squabble over the treat, but eventually they break the snack into pieces and go their seperate ways with their own chunks of treat.

Because the mice are brothers, we decided to name them after the Greek Disocuri: Castor and Pollux. When we first had them, you could tell them apart by their faces. One was narrower and longer than the other. Now that they have matured, we can't tell them apart through their faces, but Castor began showing signs of a growth on his back that was a little disconcerting. It turns out the the growth is nothing more than a mole. It's an ugly mole (show me a pretty one, eh?) but we're leaving it on him because it helps us tell them apart from each other and it would require surgery to remove. Surgery on a critter that small is really dangerous, so we're not going to remove it.

For those of you that don't know what an Egyptian Spiney mouse is, imagine a small porcupine with spines that are dull instead of sharp. The underside of the mouse is covered with soft, white fur, but the rest of it is covered in stiff bristles. Since picture is worth a thousand words, here are two thousand words for....