Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Paul versus Mickey

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, 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.


  1. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Bhutan? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Bhutan in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia, 39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez

  2. Hola Emilio,
    What a fantastic blog you have. We would love to send you a letter to add to your collection. Post from Bhutan takes a while but hopefully it will eventually reach you!