Sunday, April 19, 2009


I suppose that's what our mice must be thinking when the little door closes behind them. However, I'm getting ahead of myself.

We have mice that come in from the cold for the winter. They must think of our attic like snowbirds think of going to the Bahamas for the season. To be honest, I wouldn't mind them so much if they weren't so destructive. We often hear them scratching, skittering and creating a general ruckus overhead at meals and when we were in bed. One evening, it even sounded like there was a LARGE animal in the back of DD's closet with a big bag of potato chips.

They've got to go.

It is exceedingly difficult to get to them, however. We have an a small, but inaccessible, space above our kitchen table and a large attic space with a small hatch in the back of a closet which is equally hard to get to. Setting traps in these spaces is difficult or impossible and I really don't want to have to get up into these spaces to retrieve the traps on a regular basis. The mice do, however seem to transit though the basement on their way in and out of the house and I set my traps down there. It seems to be a good location.

I'll admit that I'm soft. I don't use snap-traps, glue traps (There was a great Graham Norton Show episode where he talked about catching a mouse on a glue trap only to discover this didn't kill the mouse. He decided to try to drown the mouse in a bucket only to happen to have a mouse rafting around the bucket with a free paw.) or poison to get rid of my mice. (I have this very strange and slightly melodramatic image of poisoned mice grabbing their little throats just before keeling over...) I use live-catch traps that are baited with peanut butter. They seem to enjoy the peanut butter, and it doesn't go bad like cheese.

I check the traps on a daily basis. This week was a good week. I got two mice. One, poor bedraggled mouse was so exhausted after we caught him, that he only wanted to curl up and go to sleep. My DW wrote about this mouse here. When I finally took the mouse out to the woods, he didn't want to get out of the jar that I'd put him in to show him to DS and DD. He finally wandered away, albeit very slowly. The second was full of energy and was literally bouncing up and down in the jar like a miniature kangaroo. At one point, the mouse was hanging upside down from the rim of the lid. This mouse was a bit quicker to leave the jar, but not much more. Here's a picture of the second mouse begging to be let out of the jar.

DW tells me that the mice I set free will just tell all thier friends and relatives about the wonderful hotel we're running with the chauffeur service and come back to partake in our hospitality. I let them go in the woods a fair distance from the house near a brush pile and the compost bin - mouse luxury apartments and smorgasbord.

Personally, I'd like to get a cat who was a mouser, but DW isn't really up to the idea of having another cat in the house. (She's been putting off an allergy test to find out if she's allergic to cats because she wants to keep the thought that she *might* be allergic to cats.) The last cat we had in the house was both pampered and lazy and really didn't have much interest in the mice. When I caught a mouse a few years ago, I put the mouse in a jar to show DS and DD ("Daddy, he's soooo cute - can we keep him?") it took me several tries to get the cat to even take notice of the small grey ball of fluff that was washing the peanut butter out of his fur in the jar. Perhaps a more poorly fed cat is required...

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