That title might not be news to you but for me recently it was. I grew up in an old farmhouse that mice came into when winter struck. Many mousetraps were set and later on we came to rely on a cat to keep the mouse population down. To me mice only sang in cartoon movies.
Those cartoons were partially right. They always have the mice singing in high voices. The science says this is wrong – mice sing at even higher pitches than that. They sing so high that human ears can’t hear it.
It’s been known for awhile that amorous male mice would serenade their ladies. But now they have found that it’s not just an instinctual piece, mice can modify their songs. And they sing outside of courtship, too.
Ever since learning this I’ve had a few questions. First, how come it took scientists so long to learn about all the skills of mice. Lab mice are everywhere in the biological world. Does this mean that scientists haven’t bothered learning about what’s right in front of them? Nice fellas those scientists. They’re a bit slow, though.
Cats and dogs can hear ultrasonic frequencies, too. Does this mean that all along they’ve been listening to mice songs? No wonder that cat will stare at a crack for hours. It might know a mouse is there because it’s singing.
Which makes me wonder. Cats try their best to kill songbirds and mice. Are they just being music critics? What do they really think about humans singing? Would the kill all of us except the good singers if they were bigger than us?
Then there is that pathetic mouse squeak. It is audible to human hearing. Is that so low for a mouse that it seems like a manly roar to those creatures?
And me? I’m still in shock that mice sing at all.