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Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by sheer honesty, or you think me having my own opinions is "being negative", then this is not the place for you, and I suggest you leave and head elsewhere. I call a spade a spade, and I don't sugarcoat anything.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Murophobia

About as many people suffer from this phobia as suffer from the last one we discussed. This is the fear of mice. My ma has this fear really bad. I'm quite the opposite. Small, furry mammals don't scare me. As long as they have no more than 4 legs, I don't see the scary in them. But that's just ME. There are a lot of people that are afraid of mice. There is good reason for this. We are brought up from a really young age to believe that mice are carriers of diseases. And this has been scientifically proven to be true. Deer mice in the southwest have been known to transmit hantavirus, which is an often fatal disease that attacks the respiratory system. All mice carry tapeworm and salmonella. Mice also transmit such diseases as Leptospirosis, a disease that causes your kidneys to fail. Mice also carry the bacteria that causes Staph infection. If you come into contact with their droppings, you can get E. coli, Salmonella and even Giardia, which are serious diseases of the digestive system. So there is good reason to be afraid of mice. For a complete list of diseases transmitted directly from mice, check out the CDC's website here.

When my ma sees a mouse, she tends to run, scream, and even wants to stomp on it, but she doesn't want to get close to it. I usually have to try and catch it for her. But those little guys are FAST!! For her, it's the mere sight of a mouse that scares her. Some are terrified by the mouse's fast movements as they scamper about across the room. Some are just disturbed by the sight of a little furry animal with a long, naked tail. This is one of the most common phobias, not only in humans, but in other animals as well. Did you know it's actually true that elephants are afraid of mice? In my research on this subject, I read it is true. I always thought it was a myth! There is a reference to this subject in Naturalis Historia, book VIII by Pliny the Elder. The book was translated in 1601 by Philemon Holland, and it said that elephants cannot abide rats or mice. What triggers this is elephants have a natural fear of nearby noises that they cannot make out. Mice are too small and fast for an elephant to notice right away, and often they hear the mice before seeing them, and that is what scares them.

Before humans invaded the land, mice lived in meadows and woods, and fed on grasses and seeds, causing the natural changes in the types of grasses that grew in an area. This is good for herbivores, big and small, and also helped in spreading different species of grass. So mice had a very important role in the ecosystem. But humans moved into meadows and chopped down trees and persecuted rats and mice. It wasn't until humans had to live with rats and mice (that adapted well to man's environment) that he finally discovered these animals spread nasty diseases. In the 1300s, two-thirds of the population of Europe succumbed to the plague epidemic. Before then, rats and mice were worshipped. It was actually cats that were destroyed because they were seen as omens of evil.

In all honesty, if one can get past the fear they feel for mice, you can see what beautiful and truly graceful animals they are! I don't mean the fat, lazy labratory mice that do nothing but eat and dump. House mice, the ancestor of the white labratory mice, are actually very sleek, and streamlined. You might actually compare them to a sportscar by design. If wild house mice can be compared to a sportscar, the labratory mice are the 1970s Dodge stationwagons. By comparison, they are slow and bulky and not really made to last. There are even mice that don't look like mice! And there are some totally awesome species of Murids (rats and mice). Some of the ones I find most fascinating are:



Australian Water Rat.


Egyptian Spiny Mouse. I used to raise these, and I did the impossible with them, I managed to tame them like puppy dogs!


Madagascar Giant Jumping Rat.


Zebra Mouse. I also used to raise these, and I think they are the most attractive and graceful of all mice.


Panay Cloud Rat. A rat that to me doesn't even look like a rat. It may be the long, fluffy, squirrel-like tail that confuses me. :P
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