Sunday, 14 October 2007

I have become a Mouse Murderer

I said I wouldn't. I've never killed anything deliberately, except perhaps the occasional mosquito and lily beetle - certainly nothing as sweet as a mouse. In our last house we had a mouse that used to eat the bird seed. We called it "the mouse", as in "I've seen the mouse again" and we lived together quite happily.

No one warned us beforehand what would happen here, although everyone now nods sagely and says it's inevitable.

First it was a few droppings along the kitchen worktop, left like small black seeds overnight. So we need to be more careful about leaving the kitchen clean and tidy. Then it was a matter of clearing out a rarely used cupboard and washing everything. OK, that means blocking all the cracks, however tiny, to stop them getting in. Then it was the small furry body darting round the back of the sink taps and hurling itself off the side, before disappearing into the utility room. (That's the equivalent of a human jumping off a thirty-storey building and getting up and running off.)

So, a trip to the local garden centre and a heart-sinking look at rows and rows of bottles of poison. We can't, we have dogs, and anyway who could poison something as sweet as that?

I found a website that describes how to build a humane mouse trap involving glass baking dish, tray, wooden kebab stick, toothpick and sellotape, plus cheese. It worked! Except that there I was at midnight with a mouse going frantic under the glass dish and me thinking: "I’m not going out at this time of night to set it free and I can’t leave it all night, it will die of fright or lack of oxygen". So I let it go.

Metal cages like small sea urchins are primed with dog biscuits and just sit there empty. A super-sophisticated humane multi-mouse trap with chocolate inside fairs no better. Maybe "humane" means they can get in and out again?

Over the next few days they (no talking about "the mouse" any more) got bolder. One sits on my computer keyboard. Two play tag around the lounge floor while Clara does no more than open one eye as she reclines on the sofa. One happily shins up and down the refrigerator power cable. The final straw is mouse droppings on Tod's pillow.

So, with dread, I buy small, wooden mousetraps and prime them with currants. Within hours we have four small bodies and more over the next few days.

No longer are there small black seeds on the worktop in the morning. I miss the two who played tag.

1 comment:

  1. This post reminds me of my own mousey encounters last year. They were coming in from the house next door. They were underneath my bed, having races underneath my floorboards and popping up behind my computer. Eventually the neighbour had a pest control expert come into his house and he trapped over 30 there. Eugh. I resorted to using the sticky traps, which worked, and rat poison in my cellar as the mouse stuff didn't do it. I could hear them munching away on the poison and then found a few dessicated bodies afterwards but for nearly a year I have been mouse-free.