Written by Anvika Khaitan – a grade 8 student.
Glacier mice are round balls of moss that are found on glaciers. They always manage to travel together and scientists are still trying to understand the movements of them.
Glaciers are large masses of frozen water which occur mostly in the poles and the mountains. They are also a source of freshwater in the summers.
Glacier mice aren’t mice. They are roundish balls of moss that can grow to about the size of a tennis ball. They are mostly found in large groups near small rocks in the glaciers.
Normal moss can’t form on a glacier, so scientists believe glacier mice probably form around something small, like a bit of dust. As staying on the ice for too long would kill the moss, glacier mice form into a ball, allowing them to roll around. Glacier mice are often spotted resting on a thin column of ice. That’s because the ice nearby has been melted, while the ice beneath the moss ball has been protected from the sun. Then, from time to time, the moss ball falls off its ice when new ice forms and rolls to a new position.
The mice travel about one inch (2.5 centimeters) a day. The glacier mice move in groups. They move about the same distance in the same direction, and at about the same speed – almost like a flock of animals. Glacier mice are rare now but may become even harder to find soon, since so many glaciers are melting because of the climate crisis.