Merwin: Mice, Revisited

The other day I wrote about the damage mice sometimes do to fishing gear. Then I remembered the following and figured you might get a kick out of the photos.

One of our several kayaks had been outside and in upside- down storage for a couple of years. There was a tightly fitted cover over the cockpit to keep critters out.

When my son Jason and I turned the boat over last summer, there was a little chewed hole in the middle of the cockpit cover. The cockpit itself was full of chewed, dried leaves and bits of old fabric and feathers and general mouse fluff. Just a huge collection. But in digging around and cleaning out, we found no mouse.
Mouse1
Then I noticed a small hole that had been chewed in the bulkhead behind the seat, which seals off--or used to--the rear hatch compartment. So we pulled the hatch off and found that compartment to be full of mouse debris, too. I mean, there were just bushels of stuff!
Mouse2
So we started pulling that out, and finally found just a single white-footed mouse cowering in the extreme rear of the boat. We carefully caught the mouse in gloved hands and let it go. I didn't have the heart to stomp on it. Just an old softy, I guess....