A nibbling curiosity: Benson the mouse


Aditi Bhaskar

Benson in the trash bin, nibbling on his feeble provision of a single Goldfish cracker.

It is eight-twenty in the morning, mere minutes before first period is to start, and Mr. Schuster hears a rustling sound behind his desk. What could it be, he wonders, and looks back. In his trash bin is a squeak with four small paws, scared and hiding in the folds of the black trash bag.

The small mouse was first introduced to one student, then two, then four, and onward exponentially until each student had a chance to peek into the trash bin, all the while running a lab involving miracle fruit and lots of lemons. The excitement about the mouse was spreading like a virus as the little creature’s fame grew!

After half an hour of secretive giggles and whispers about the cute little mouse in the corner which had managed to fall into the trash bin long before the school day had begun, a few students, including Hannah Wilken, Lily Scanlan, and Aditi Bhaskar, decided that maybe the little mouse, now named Benson, was destined to stay. Senior Hannah Wilken says, “When I first saw Benson, I was super surprised because he was just in the classroom. Usually people don’t like seeing rodents in their homes and jobs, but what better place to observe life than in biology!” Releasing it into the wild was as good as a death sentence, and Mr. Schuster agreed that, instead, the mouse could become a class pet!

Hannah Wilken holds up Benson's new home!
Hannah Wilken holds up Benson’s new home! (Aditi Bhaskar)

A home for the mouse was brought out, newspapers shredded to pad the bottom, water introduced, and a piece of broccoli dropped in the corner. Following the broccoli went Benson, named after photosynthesis’s calvin cycle, in which the primary scientist– Benson– was not properly credited. Benson the mouse immediately darted into the folds of the newspaper shreds and sat in a mix of terror and fatigue. 

Benson has yet to learn that he is safe in the AP Biology classroom. “I’m so glad Benson showed up and I hope he stays in the class as a constant reminder of bio in action. Especially in a hard class like AP Biology, it’s nice to always have something to look forward to even if you know the class will be particularly hard that day,” says Wilken.

“I love him,” says senior George Peykanu unironically regarding Benson the mouse.

Wilken agrees with an enthusiasm that matches the rest of the class: “I’m so excited to have Benson in class with us!!” The little creature’s full name is Benson Osmo (short for Osmosis) Schuster. Although small, Benson is sure to make a big change in our AP Biology community in the semester to come!