We've all had that thought: man, I wish a tiny animal or gnome would break into my house tonight and clean it up for me. No? You've never had that thought? Because that's crazy? Well, fine. But that's basically what happened to a man in the UK, a clearly magical place, who thought he was insane when he kept seeing objects from his tool shed end up in a plastic bin where he keeps bird food. "One day I emptied the tub out and spread the contents on the side - and the next day they were all back in again," the 72-year-old Stephen Mckears told Sky News.
So Mckears and his neighbor decided to set up a camera in his shed to figure out what was going on, and they managed to capture this:
A mouse has been captured tidying up bits and bobs in a pensioner's shed.
Stephen McKears from Gloucestershire says he couldn't understand how small metal items were returning to their box every night.
That's right, what you're seeing is an actual mouse cleaning up a shed. He's gathering all these "bits and bobs," as they're called in the UK, and placing them in the plastic bin. That's where he's decided they belong, you see, because it's a container he can reach.
The mouse had also set up a camera to see who was emptying his box in the day
According to Mckears, the mouse spent two hours tidying up, so you can imagine how frustrated he must be to come back every night and see all his hard work has been undone. What will he do when he's sees the big giant man can undo hours of work in a single second? This is why being a mouse is so hard. Well, also because of cats.
Where can I get one of these? All I've got are squirrels that throw everything on the floor!!
People on Twitter noticed how rare it can seem to find an animal whose instinct is to actually clean and not actively destroy and disorder a place. For instance, squirrels embrace chaos, and their weapon of choice is anything they can find to throw or chew.
It's possible this mouse is just a very special mouse who somehow learned to read and then got his hands on a copy of Marie Kondo's book. But for several reasons this seems unlikely. If anything, he's probably convinced he's just the only reason this shed ever gets clean at all.
🐭: “I always have to do everything in this goddamn house”
Obviously Twitter had something of a field day with the tidy mouse, but the story took off and even made it into regular old late night comedy. Conan O'Brien even credited the mouse with helping to redact the Mueller report, a job that his attention to detail and extreme work ethic make him utterly perfect for.
In fact, Conan recreated a whole series of chores to credit the mouse with. Down to building himself a little mouse-sized caulking gun for use re-caulking the man's bathtub. It's the most adorable act of housework that we, or anyone, has ever seen. And no that's not being dramatic, it really is sooo cute!
But the mouse has no idea he's now a world famous cleaner. He's just a mouse with a mission: get things into this box! His motivation remains something of a mystery, because if you don't even care about being famous, why do anything at all? Well, Mckears has one theory, and it's...even more adorable.
Yes, Mckears believes that because there are peanuts in the bin, the mouse is desperately trying to hide them with any objects he can find. Those are his peanuts, and if he can just stack enough nails on top of them, they will be safe and sound. But there might be another explanation for this restless rodent's behavior.
It turns out, there are several reasons animals might start tidying an area. Some of them even have instincts to do so. According to a Science Alert post, some birds will start cleaning up their immediate area as part of a mating ritual. Like when a guy puts all his clothes in the hamper right before his date comes over, to show her how much he cares.
There's an animal that's even closer to a mouse that has a habit of collecting items. The notorious pack rat is known to collect shiny objects and hoard them. They're like little Scrooge McDucks but without the diving into a gold room thing, because even pack rats know that's just so impractical.
Rodents are also apparently known to bury objects they find interesting in their territory, so Science Alert suggests that the mouse is confused by all the very interesting things in the shed. And his confusion leads him to want to bury them all, so he hides them in the peanut bin. An exhausting feat for such a little guy, who's just trying to do the right thing.
But beyond rodents, we've seen other examples of animals that are also neat freaks. Like this elephant who became world famous after CCTV footage caught him picking up some litter and placing it gently in the trash can. Proving that not only are elephants neat, but they're more considerate than most humans.
Cats are also animal that passionately cares about keeping things clean. Not only do they bury their own waste to avoid giving off a scent. They also fastidiously clean themselves and, in the case of this mama cat, their kittens. Because this is one mom who will not now or ever tolerate filthy kittens.
Meanwhile monkeys can and will do basically anything. They're basically the wildcards of the animal world. So, do monkeys clean up? You bet. Do they do a good job? Well, that depends on the monkey. Some monkeys are probably pretty well trained and disciplined, and others, like this stove-cleaning monkey, probably get super distracted because to them "clean" means anything that doesn't have poop on it.
This is why sometimes in order to get an animal to clean up anything at all, you have to train them. And not just train them, micromanage them like you're a disgruntled middle manager who just can't stand even the idea of anyone having any fun. Like this horse, who has to be walked through all her chores step by step.
But you have to give this horse some credit, at least. After all, you know the old saying: you can lead a horse to cleaning, but you can't make it clean. Right? Right. At least this horse can obey the cleaning commands. Unlike these baby pandas who are completely against any kind of cleaning, ever, so much so that they are ready to punish anyone who even tries to clean their enclosure.
If we re-enter the rodent world we find a little more enthusiasm for cleanliness, though again, it depends on who you're dealing with. Here we have two hamsters who have wildly different idea about how their stuff should be organized. Should is stay in the dish? Or should it go in the corner? Well since hamsters don't have a language they'll just have to have a clean-off.
There are also a fair number of far less cute animals that have an enthusiasm for organization. For all their faults and generally insecty grossness, ants are actually probably the best in the world at organizing stuff they find. This is especially the case if what they find happens to involve any kind of sugar.
Ant cleaning might not be for everyone though, as ants are bugs and all bugs are gross. No offense, we don't make the rules, we just enforce them. So let's switch over to a much less gross example of animal tidying: goats! Goats have actually begun to find gainful employment clearing brush, tall grass, and invasive weeds from fields. It's a great way to do this without chemicals, and while also making an excuse to see some goats.
So, if you have a field you need to get cleared and happen to have 900 goats also, you're all set! But maybe you don't have the space for all those goats. Luckily, it turns out chimpanzees can clean too, even if they're just doing an impression of humans cleaning. Probably to mock us.
And while there wasn't a ton of evidence that gorillas are actually very into tidying up their areas, we did find an actual germaphobe who is also a gorilla. This guy refuses to walk on his hands like other gorillas, because he doesn't want to get them dirty. He thinks he's fancy! And you know what? He's right.
Like most cleaning episodes, this is now devolving into total insanity. We looked for evidence that lions also clean, but all we found was this video of a lion being used to clean a pillow. That's actually a very generous description of what this man is doing. If we're going to be real about this: what this man is doing is insane.
After that, we need to take some deep breaths and sit quietly for a moment to pray for that man, who probably won't be on this Earth much longer. Now, to cleanse our minds of that madness, let's take a look at this poor raccoon, whose tidying skills have left him a poor little floor sweeper who has to beg for his pay.
Well, at least he's not stealing, like so many of his little rodent brethren might be. An for the grand finale let's look to the animal we'd least expect to see tidying: the common pig. Will he tidy? Or will he live up to the stereotype and relish in the fact that his habit is literally supposed to be a pig sty?
And there's your answer: animals, they're different from us in that they clean! So go clean your room you filthy animal.