Most of us have an aversion to the mice that invade our homes and businesses. I saw my wife jump onto a chair when a mouse ran through our kitchen. When I asked her why she was so afraid of a two-inch-long rodent, I promptly got a lecture about the diseases mice carry. That was followed by a challenge to God about why He created such a varmint. What good is a mouse?
The fact is that mice are essential to Earth’s design. Mice provide food for a wide variety of other forms of life and serve as God’s tools for various important environmental uses. For example, beach mice help to maintain our ocean shorelines. In this day of rising sea levels, we need tools to prevent shore erosion that allows flooding and storm damage to cause massive damage and kill people. Humans have removed mangroves and stripped barrier islands of the vegetation that ordinarily would keep the water in check. That results in catastrophic damage from storm surges.
A segment in the PBS Nature television series in September showed how scientists have found that beach mice are correcting this problem. They dig underground tunnels where they can escape from predators. In those chambers, the mice store large quantities of seeds from sea oat plants. Sea oats grow rapidly and send out root structures that lock the sand grains together.
When a mouse is captured by a predator or moves to another location, it leaves the sea oat seeds behind. The seeds sprout and proliferate, thanks to fertilizer that came from the mice. The result is that in a short time, a barrier island or dune will have a jungle of sea oats growing on it to break up waves, dissipate energy, and stop flooding from storm surges.
All animals can indeed bring viruses and germs to humans if we allow them to be close to us. However, animals do many good things for us, and even the mouse is an example. God created everything for a purpose, and beach mice provide good ecological benefits through their lifestyle. So what good is a mouse? Looking closely, we can see the purpose of mice and all other living things that share our planet.
— John N. Clayton © 2022