Death in a museum: Mouse gets caught by a 155-year-old trap

Death in a museum: Mouse gets caught by a 155-year-old trap

Agent mouse and the mission of The Perpetual

A female mouse has unwittingly become part of the Museum of English Rural Life collection at the University of Reading in England. The museum's conservator believes that she was trying to build a nest and while chasing the string of the label she was biting, the mouse found itself trapped. 

The whole story sounds quite singular, but I couldn't help to think of it as an spy story, here is my spiced version:

The Agent Mouse had the mission to find "The Perpetual", an ancient enemy of the rodent species. To achieve this, she had to sneak past University of Reading security, exterior doors and Museum staff, then clamber her way up into the Store, crawl into the glass-fronted cabinets and look for the target in an area full of straw, wood and textiles. There were thousands of objects that could have tempted the agent, but finally she could find the 155-year-old enemy. Agent Mouse rushed over The Perpetual and attacked by nibbling it's label. The enemy fought back pulling the label string into it´s fauces. Agent mouse reached the string out, but that was her last move in freedom, The Perpetual shutted up the way out forever. Tired and defeated, agent mouse had to face death, expecting to find redemption in the aknowledge of her reckless acts.

Here is a picture of the real mouse trap, called the "Perpetual", designed and manufactured by Colin Pullinger of Silsey, West Sussex by 1861.

It consists of a double compartment accessible by a round entrance in the middle, through which the mouse, attracted by the bait, unsuspectingly steps upon one platform of a swinging lever bridge. It is a see-saw mechanism which allows a mouse to enter the trap but then finds the door has swung shut on it. The owner of the trap would then release the mouse afterward. For this mouse bad luck no one imagined the trap would work again to do what it was made for. 

The staff of the museum has decided to preserve the mouse for display in new exhibitions where they assure that she will be front and centre.  

Rest in peace Agent Mouse.

Published on: February 2016