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Writer Fuel: Does Mouse Heaven Have Lessons for All of Us?

Mouse Heaven

Officially, the colony was called the Mortality-Inhibiting Environment for Mice. Unofficially, it was called mouse heaven.

Biologist John Calhoun built the colony at the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland in 1968. It was a large pen—a 4½-foot cube—with everything a mouse could ever desire: plenty of food and water; a perfect climate; reams of paper to make cozy nests; and 256 separate apartments, accessible via mesh tubes bolted to the walls. Calhoun also screened the mice to eliminate disease. Free from predators and other worries, a mouse could theoretically live to an extraordinarily old age there, without a single worry.

But the thing is, this wasn’t Calhoun’s first rodent utopia. This was the 25th iteration. And by this point he knew how quickly mouse heaven could deteriorate into mouse hell.

“Writer Fuel” is a series of cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration.

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