The Mouse Museum – Creepy Fun in Taft
Looking for something off-beat, unusual, or just plain peculiar to do next time you visit Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield? Well, here you go. The West Kern Oil Museum – nicknamed ‘The Mouse Museum’ has an exhibit devoted to the Great Mouse Invasion of 1926 – 1927.
Spoiler alert – fear not! This crazy story happened nearly 100 years ago and all of the mice in the Mouse Museum exhibit are rubber rodents. And just so you know, the West Kern Oil Museum has plenty of photos of oil derricks and oil drilling memorabilia, as its name implies, but it’s the critters that will give you a creepy thrill.
For illustrative purposes only. Original Image: West Kern Oil Museum
Exploding Mouse Population
In 1924, the Bureau of Biological Survey launched a project to eliminate coyotes, hawks and other predators in Kern County. Without natural enemies, the mouse population exploded and turned into the biggest rodent infestation in US history.
The millions (yes, millions) of mice found a home in the dry Buena Vista lakebed northeast of Taft which was planted with wheat, barley, corn, and cotton. The mice ate all the crops.
A freak rainstorm in November 1926 filled the lakebed with water causing the mice to scamper away in every direction, eating everything in their paths. No matter how many traps residents set out, it didn’t matter. Mice have lots of babies. By the time the mice reached Taft, there were 50 million of them! Mice out-numbered people by 20,000 to one!
Good Grief! What Happened?
In January of 1927, the Bureau of Biological Survey sent an agent named Stanley Piper (what a coincidence, huh?) to get rid of the army of mice still living in the lakebed. Luckily for Mr Piper, he didn’t have to do a darn thing. Nature won out, in the form of a nearly Biblical-style miracle. The sky was suddenly filled with all of the predatory bird species the BBS had sought to eliminate. Hawks, owls, and ravens swooped down on the lakebed and gobbled up the mice. Another rainstorm drowned the survivors and people went back to their mouse-free lives. Whew!
Get all the creepy details when you visit West Kern Oil Museum, aka ‘The Mouse Museum’ at 1168 Wood Street in Taft. It’s just 37 miles away via CA-119 and CA-58.
Fun with Dogs – Not Mice – at Orange Grove RV Park
If you’re not tuckered out from your trip to the Mouse Museum, relax with a game of horseshoes or run around with your doggie here at Orange Grove. We have three off-leash dog parks and dog walks all around the park. Enjoy cable TV, the swimming pool, and WiFi too.