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Meet Morty.

In August of 2020 I returned home from two weeks in the field in northern Minnesota. I had parked my car at a rural airport, and upon my return I noticed something peculiar in my car. There were tons of tiny little foot prints all over my dust covered dash. I had a travel buddy, a little deer mouse (Peromyscus sonoriensis), whom I named Morty. Now I know what you're all thinking... How unsanitary, it'll chew your wires in your car, and you might get the hantavirus. All valid points, but through routine sterilization of my car and constant removal of any food sources I was willing to take the risk. Through my preventative measures I didn't notice signs of Morty very frequently, just enough to remember he was there. Then autumn arrived and I hadn't see any sign of him for months. I thought he had moved on the greener pastures, or met a lady friend and settled down. So... I became careless. I left a coffee mug with an apple core inside in my cup holder one night. The following morning I noticed the unmistakable feces on the lid of the cup. A lightbulb went on in my head. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for. For over a year I wanted to camera trap this little guy, but I didn't know how to effectively pull it off, but now that there was something that he was drawn to it was time to execute my plan. I set up a camera trap with five lights to illuminate the interior of the car and the mouse itself. Each night I lay in bed thinking what do my neighbors think when they see the flashes go off inside when Morty triggers the camera? How long until the police show up asking why my car looks like a techno concert? Neither of those scenarios unfolded to my surprise. It took a week to get this shot, but what I didn't predict was the frost forming on my windows and windshield as we transitioned into winter. The literal icing on the cake! After that it was time for a new car... Gross Central Minnesota.