3,200 White Mice to Serve in Kremlin

Wanted: 3,200 white mice. Must be female. No more than 18 grams. Purchaser: the Kremlin security service.

So why does the Kremlin guard, which is made up of former spies and elite troops who protect President Vladimir Putin, want so many mice?

"Everyone is wondering what they are for. But if they were ordered then that means they are needed," a service official said Friday with a chuckle.

He refused to speculate about media reports the mice could be used to feed to the falcons which are kept in the Kremlin to scare off crows.

Some media reports have also speculated the mice could play a role in testing toxic substances or indicating the presence of dangerous gases.

Documents posted on the official government tender web site on Friday showed the Kremlin guard had found a supplier and would pay 475,776 rubles ($20,080) for the mice.