Shane Wilmott, 39, from Australia, creates miniature surf boards specially designed for mice. Twenty five years ago Wilmott discovered the rodent’s ability to surf the wave and since then he has been breeding and training mice to master their unique skill.
Eight-month-old males Rocket, Peanut, Skidmark and Banzai have learned all the skills they need to maneuvre breakers on the beach. They are even able to turn on the boards while travelling by shifting their weight (see the photos.)
Mr Wilmott, who breeds mice in his Gold Coast home, said: “Contrary to popular belief mice are actually unbelievable swimmers so if they come off they are fine to paddle around until I collect them.”
“A lot of people ask me if fish are sharks to them and worry they might get eaten. Gulls are actually a more realistic threat so I have to stay close by to make sure my guys are safe.”
“But I made a promise to myself that if one of my mice gets hurt I will stop. I only do it because I feel they are safe. These guys aren’t just my pets, they’re my mates too so I care about them a lot.”
“It’s a really stimulating way for them to live. Much more than just being stuck in a cage all their lives.”
Mr Wilmott taught his first mice to surf 25 years ago when he was a teenager. He said: “Me and a few mates were hanging out at the beach and watching these perfect little waves form close to shore.”
“I remember wishing I was small so that I could have a go on these perfect specimens and then it hit me that a louse on a tiny board could,” he added.
Mr Wilmott recently had the urge to redevelop the boards and using his boat building skills now makes the best miniature surf boards in the world.
He has since taught eight-month-old males Rocket, Peanut, Skidmark and Banzai all the skills they need to manoeuvre on breakers at the beach.
He said: “I teach them how to do it in the bath at first so they can get used to their custom made boards.
“Once they’ve got some confidence we move out to the pool in my back yard and tow them using a remote controlled boat.
“That gets them very proficient travelling at the speed of the little waves at the beach and then they are ready to do it for real.
Mr Wilmott said: “People can’t believe it. They see the tiny boards but they don’t realise there are real mice actually riding the waves until they come over for a look. It really makes people smile.”
Shane Wilmott has also created a website dedicated to mouse riders and he is planning to offer tips on how to train the rodent to surf through his website. [Surfing Mice via Daily Telegraph (UK) and Daily Mail (UK)]