Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Lucky to Have Mice

©Bert Gildart: As a brief follow up to the postings written for my granddaughter about “Pero the Luckiest Mouse

Mouse and Saw whet Owl

Tme-honored relation, mouse & Owl

Alive” and about “Mice and Airstream Travel Trailers,” I want to add that, ecologically, mice rank high in the order of importance. In fact, if you enjoy owls and hawks and the occasional howl of the coyote, we’re lucky they’re here.

In this part of Montana (from a mammal book I wrote years ago for GNP), there are seven different species of mice-like creatures, and although the layman commonly refers to these rodents as mice, the biologist categorizes them as voles, lemmings and mice. Specifically, they include red-backed, montane heather, water, long-tailed and meadow voles. All are distinguished by their short hind legs, a short furred tail and ears that can just barely be seen. All five voles are distributed from our valley floor to alpine areas.

The lemmings of more northern fame are represented only by the bog lemming. This one, as its name implies, makes its home in wet bogs and meadows where there is a thick mat of ground vegetation. If its shorter tail is not noticed, it is easily confused with the voles. Lemmings are rare in Montana’s Flathead Valley.

Mice, as most people know them, are most typified in Glacier by two species, which may easily be distinguished from other mouse-like animals by their large, conspicuous eyes, ears and long tails. Specifically, I’m referring to deer mouse of yesterdays posting and to the western Jumping mouse.

All the above are essential to the existence of such predatory creatures as the Saw Whet owl, shown here. They are also, essential to all the valley’s other predators such as wolves and coyotes and the dozens of different hawks that constantly circle overhead. Without mice, these species would perish.

Except when “Pero” invades my Airstream, I’m happy they’re all here.

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