Okay its time to talk Bhutanese wildlife. Did you know that Bhutan is home to one of the world’s largest populations of Bengal tigers? Also, now that spring has finally sprung, our friends the bears are waking up. They’re not that rare either, many of the locals I have spoken to have seen bears whilst walking in the woods and bear maulings are fairly common. There are also wolves, monkeys, elephants, rhinos and the national animal – the takin (you might need to Google that one!) But I turn now to wildlife of a smaller variety – the mouse.
Andrea the volunteer teacher who was here last year warned us that she had seen a few mice in the house and that we should bring a trap with us. You can’t buy them in Bhutan, most likely because it is a devoutly Buddhist country and killing mice is sort of frowned upon. You might then think that they must all be vegetarians – but you’d be wrong – but I digress.
Anyway after spotting several mice scurrying around our living room I dug out the trap and set it up. The clever little blighters always managed to eat the bait without setting off the trap, until........one day...... I discovered........ peanut butter! Yes, much to my kids’ delight (though not necessarily to the mice’s) you can buy peanut butter in Bhutan.
The great thing about peanut butter as far as mouse traps are concerned is:
1 – mice love peanut butter (that cheese story is just a Tom and Jerry myth)
2 – peanut butter is very sticky and that’s when mice run into difficulty – and frankly stop running all together.
Since I set up the trap about 6 weeks ago, we’ve caught nearly one mouse a day on average. Today’s mouse was number 37. One thing in Tom and Jerry that is true is the hole in the skirting board is home. So, every day I set up the trap near the hole in the skirting board and then leave it. Sure enough (Jerry or Mickey depending on your politics) soon comes sniffing around and then suddenly....... SNAP! It’s all over.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; what does he do with those poor little creatures? Well fear not dear reader, we have a waste not, want not regime here in Bumthang.
Another form of wildlife that is highly prevalent in Bhutan is dogs. Dogs are everywhere! They are semi-wild – living off discarded food during the day and howling and barking during the night. They tend to be quite timid in the daytime but can become very aggressive once night falls.
Well, anyway. Every time I catch a mouse. I just whistle, and Rover comes a-running. They gobble up that little mouse snack without even chewing and then look at you whilst licking their lips as if to say, “Got any more?” Isn’t nature beautiful!
Just as Bridget Jones used to begin her journal entries with an update of her eating habits; I intend to begin all future Blog posts with a quick update of the mouse tally. (I know you’re interested.)
And please don’t give me a hard time about being cruel – those mice aren’t paying rent and those dogs outside do it pretty tough, they need a little rodent treat now and again.
P.S. I just asked Justine what picture I could use to illustrate this post. She said, “A mouse with its guts coming out of its bum hole.” Er.... perhaps not.