Who wants to live with mice? Obviously, no one. While all want to get rid of mice menaces at their homes, Salahuddin is simply in love with them. It may sound absurd to many, but he finds mice rearing a way of making money.
Salahuddin Mamun, a lab assistant at the Department of Zoology, Rajshahi University, started rearing mice in 2017 with four Swiss albino mice. He has so far bred 5,000 mice and supplied them to various laboratories across the country, earning around Tk5,000 a month.
"Supplying mice can be a new income-generating profession as there are demands for mice for research in universities, pharmacies and various laboratories in Bangladesh. Moreover, rodents are used in scientific research for various reasons. They are small, easy to keep, reproduce quickly, and are thought to share genetic and behavioural characteristics with humans," he said.
Salahuddin has so far supplied mice to the biochemistry, pharmacy and zoology departments at Rajshahi University, Chittagong University, Varendra University, Noakhali University of Science and Technology, and Khwaja Yunus Ali Medical College in Sirajganj.
At Rajshahi University, the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology plus the Department of Zoology took 20 mice from him, respectively. He was paid Tk1,000 for 20 mice.
Prof Dr Mohammad Abu Reza of genetics and biotechnology said, "I take 50 mice from him every few months to use them in various studies."
Salahuddin said he initially sold a mouse for Tk40. "Last October, I had 1,000 mice, of which I sold 400 to two pharmaceutical companies in Dhaka at Tk70 each," he said.
"Our climate is very favourable to mice production. Whereas in other countries, including those in Europe, a doe mouse gives birth to pups two to three times a year, she gives birth to eight to 10 pups in Bangladesh. Moreover, the cost of raising them is very low as a mouse consumes four to five grams of food a day. A mouse is ready for sale within one month of birth," he added.
"All you need for mice farming is a big net house and 100-150 mice and since the mouse breeds rapidly, it is possible to produce about 500-600 mice per month, which can be sold at Tk35,000-Tk45,000," he added.
While visiting his house in the Katakhali municipal area of Rajshahi on Thursday afternoon, this correspondent saw a small room covered with a net with eight to 10 cardboard boxes inside. There are different boxes for new-born pups and adults.
Salahuddin Mamun is planning to expand his business, targeting production of 500 and then gradually 1,000 mice per month. He said it is possible to produce 700-1,000 mice a month with 100 does and 20 bucks.