Mouse and Scientist Sleep Together, Scientist Thrilled : Krulwich Wonders... Things happen when you spend time in wild places. Things that you can't explain. Like this: One day psychology professor Barb Smuts was walking through a Michigan forest when out popped a little mouse. And then ...
NPR logo

Mouse Sleeps With Scientist, Scientist Thrilled

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128165044/128321529" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Mouse Sleeps With Scientist, Scientist Thrilled

Mouse Sleeps With Scientist, Scientist Thrilled

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128165044/128321529" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Let's face it. When it's hot, a lot of us get drowsy. And it reached 98 degrees here in Washington today. So we're just going to pause for a moment for a little nap because as our science correspondent Robert Krulwich reminds us, every so often, a summer nap can be very exciting.

ROBERT KRULWICH: There's a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, Barb Smuts. She once studied wild baboons in East Africa, and when she's in the field, she's kind of like a hunter. She's so attentive and so sharp, and in that state, she says...

P: Things happen when you spend time in wild places. Things happen that you can't explain.

KRULWICH: So one time, she was in the woods.

NORRIS: Yes, I was back home in Michigan, and I was camping. I was walking through the forest.

KRULWICH: And to put you in the right frame of mind, we've added the sound of a Michigan forest on a beautiful day. So imagine her walking along.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOREST)

NORRIS: Then I stopped walking and just stood still. I just wanted to experience the forest around me. And after I had been standing for a while, I heard this little rustle in the leaves, and then out popped this little mouse. I'll call her she - I don't know whether it was male or female but - and she was a couple feet from me, which was pretty close.

And I thought, oh, as soon as she sees me, she's going to take off. So I tried to stay very still and very quiet, and she didn't take off. Instead, she moved 'til she was just a few inches from my feet. And then she went to sleep.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

KRULWICH: She went to sleep?

NORRIS: She took a little mouse nap.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

KRULWICH: You mean on you, or just in front of you?

NORRIS: No, just in front of me. Mmm, just a few inches. She was close enough that I could see the really rapid beating of her heart.

KRULWICH: Whoa.

NORRIS: It was just as exciting as encounters I had with, you know, big, sexy animals in Africa.

KRULWICH: Boy.

NORRIS: Because it was just so unexpected that a little mouse would feel comfortable taking a nap at my feet. Then she woke up, and she went on with her business.

KRULWICH: She woke up startled and thought, what have I done?

NORRIS: No.

KRULWICH: No? She just woke up and went...

NORRIS: No, she just woke up - yeah, stretched a little bit, and then yeah, went off on her way.

KRULWICH: So that was just your nap with a mouse?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

NORRIS: Yeah.

KRULWICH: Robert Krulwich, NPR News.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.