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Mice in Airports

mouse at Schiphol Airport

ABOVE: Cheryl Imboden snapped this stealth photo under the noses of security officers at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. When challenged, an officer identified the rodent as "Freddy."

by Durant Imboden

What is it with mice and airports? In late 2006, I saw a large rodent in a nominally secure gate area of Frankfurt International Airport. More recently, my wife and I watched a well-fed mouse cavort behind a glass security wall in the D concourse of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. The mouse, which a security officer identified as "Freddy," disappeared when passengers were let into the gate area. Did Freddy simply go into hiding, or did he board our KLM flight to London City Airport like a Norway Rat emigrating to America in the 19th Century? We'll probably never know--but if Freddy did make it to England, he's likely to blend in with the local rodents, given the Dutch propensity for speaking English.

As a two-legged air traveler, I'm annoyed by the second-class treatment that humans receive at Schiphol, Frankfurt, and other airports. While furry pests turn up their whiskered little noses at security officials, we humans are forced to stand in line, take off our shoes or belts, and endure the kind of bureaucratic bloody-mindedness that my wife and I encountered at London's Gatwick a few days ago, when airport employees insisted on counting a paper lunch bag as carry-on luggage. Airport inspectors worry that Al-Qaeda might sneak explosives into a tube of toothpaste, but who's protecting airline passengers and countries from rodents who might be carrying rabies or bubonic plague?

Come to think of it, is it possible that Al-Queda is quietly infiltrating disease-carrying rodents into airports? Could Freddy, the rodent in the picture above, be a forward scout for a terrorist army of Willards from questionable third-world countries?

Don't let the terrorists (or the bureaucrats) win: Share your reports of mice, rats, and other creepy non-human creatures in airport terminals by e-mailing us at:

(Please use the subject line "Airport Critter Report" in your e-mail, and let us know if you'd like to be credited by name or with your initials. Photos are welcome but not required.)


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