Tube mouse

As usual, this afternoon I went down to meet Tigger from work and, as usual, I took the tube from Angel station. Look who I met down there, busily foraging on the southbound platform.

Tube mouse
Tube mouse
Not at all concerned by the presence of people

He (I will assume it’s “he” though it could as easily be “she”) was trotting around examining anything that might be food and apparently unconcerned by the presence of us people.

I first spotted him under a bench and approached him cautiously, expecting him to run away. When he didn’t, I reached for my camera and started clicking away. At this point, I don’t think anyone else had noticed Mousey under the bench. I decided, reluctantly, that I needed to use flash and once I had done so, this attracted people’s attention.

The mouse then ran along the edge of the platform, quite calmly. Even when a train came in he didn’t move away, much less seek refuge. I was worried that someone might step on him but as this was my train, I boarded and lost sight of the rambling rodent.

Walking the yellow line
Walking the yellow line
Unfazed by people or by speeding trains

Mice are common down in the underground system, of course, and whenever I am waiting for a train I keep an eye out for them. They are most often to be seen between the rails sorting through the rubbish left by untidy humans. It is not uncommon to see them on the platform as well, sometimes to the consternation of waiting passengers.

That was something that intrigued me today: whenever mice appear in the underground, there is always someone who screams and makes a fuss. Today, no one did that, but people did watch the mouse and seem interested in its progress. Are Londoners becoming more tolerant of the creatures we share our common space with? I do hope so.

Copyright © 2011 SilverTiger,, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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6 Responses to Tube mouse

  1. Catz says:

    In New York waiting for the PATH train there was an elderly train worker running around the tracks trying to swat the all the mice that were scurrying around the platform! I found it very amusing.


  2. petrichoric says:

    I don’t know why people get their knickers all in a twist about mice. I think that they are really cute, and I like to see them. I wouldn’t be so thrilled to see a rat, but as long as it doesn’t run across my feet, even that doesn’t bother me.


    • SilverTiger says:

      Rats are intelligent animals. Like humans, they are opportunists and very successful. Inevitably they come into conflict with humans to mutual disadvantage.

      Fear of mice can be a phobia. I have known a person with a mouse-phobia and, despite it being an irrational fear (though the subject can always find logical, if false, reasons to justify it), the subject cannot be reasoned out of it. I can understand it to a certain degree as I have an irrational fear of heights.


  3. WOL says:

    Mice here in the southwest US are a source of consternation. There are some species of mice, deer mice as an example as well as “city” rats, that are reservoirs for several types of Hantavirus. Some types of Hantavirus cause a very serious, and frequently fatal illness. Many species of mice and rats leave a trail of urine to mark their routes and to enable them to quickly find their way back to their “homes.” The species that carry Hantavirus shed the virus in both their urine and feces. We are advised to always wear masks when cleaning out any storage area or area where mice might have been, as they might be the species that carries Hantavirus, and people could contract the illness by breathing the contaminated dust. It is interesting that the Navajo “medicine persons” advise that if you see a mouse crawl across an article of clothing, you should immediately burn that piece of clothing.

    There is another reason we are leery of rats and mice. Historically, bubonic plague was brought to America in the 1800’s through the ports of California and the government was not very proactive about eradication measures. Consequently, prairie dogs have become a reservoir for the plague. Prairie dogs have fleas — as do rats and mice. Need I say more? It is not unusual to have several people land in hospital with bubonic plague each year in the rural areas of the southwest.


    • SilverTiger says:

      There is some risk in allinter-species contact: you can catch potentially crippling or even fatal diseases from domestic cats and dogs, though the risk is small for most people.

      While not doubting what you say about prairie dogs, I note that there have been no outbreaks of Bubonic Plague in the US in modern times. The other thing is that, as with supposed risk of TB from badgers in the UK, risks are often deliberately exaggerated by people with an axe to grind.

      Traditional taboos on certain types of food and other items often contain a germ of truth but because they are communicated verbally by people ignorant of the original evidence and lacking in scientific discrimination, they become muddled or exaggerated. Also, it’s easier to issue a simple directive such as “Burn the garment”, which people will remember, than a long and complicated explanation which they will not.

      Mice have been present in the Underground since its inception and despite various attempts to remove them, still thrive throughout the system. I think it unlikely that they do any great harm though I would not suggest anyone touch a mouse as a bite could cause infection.


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