Image: Joseph Mitengo holds long sticks strung with mice in Malawi
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi  /  AP
Joseph Mitengo, from Ntcheu District, Malawi, holds long sticks strung with mice while selling them alongside a road in Lilongwe, Malawi, on June 16.
updated 8/9/2009 3:24:22 PM ET 2009-08-09T19:24:22

Cooked, salted or dried, field mice strung on sticks are sold as a popular delicacy in Malawi markets and roadside stalls.

The mice are hunted in corn fields after the harvest when they have grown plump on a diet of grains, fruits, grass and the odd insect. The most widely eaten species is known locally as Kapuku, gray in color and with a shorter tail than the more common rat.

Young boys have to be quick as they chase the mice through the fields and catch them. But local villagers have also come up with an innovative trap.

One method involves digging holes and putting clay pots filled with water into them. The mouth of the pot is smeared with fried corn husks. As some of the mice fight for the husks, they fall into the pot and drown.

Malawi, with a population of 12 million, is among the poorest countries in the world, with rampant disease and hunger, aggravated by periodic droughts and crop failure.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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