Last year they cleared the meadow behind our house to make way for a street and some new houses. This had the effect of driving every spider, grasshopper, and mouse out of the meadow and directly into our house.
I imagine the scene was much like that in Velveteen Rabbit…”Run! Run away before the monsters come eat you and bulldoze your house into oblivion! Hurry!”
And run they did. From the amount of mouse crap left in our cupboard and behind our couch, I’d say they ran straight for the good stuff…cereal, chips, bread, and a comfy place to sleep.
Excuse me while I ponder that thought and freak out a little bit.
In an effort to keep our cupboard as sanitary as possible with all the mouse immigrants around, I put everything possible into plastic bins with snap tops. In one month, these tiny creatures did what Hubby had been unable to do in 14 years…get me to organize our food pantry.
Mice, 1. Me, 0.
I also had to organize the space between our couch and the wall. I used to throw old magazines and toys there, but Hubby pointed out it made a nice nesting area for our new housemates, and so again I had to tidy up.
Mice, 2. Me, 0.
Hubby and I tried to find all the small holes they could be coming through and patching them up. We also set traps (sticky traps with peanuts sprinkles on top…diabolical!) and cursed them daily.
I’m pretty sure the mice have recreated a society much like the one the rats do in ‘The Secret of NIMH”, and so Hubby and I redoubled our efforts to rid ourselves of them before they took over entirely. I’m sure the day we caught 6 mice in 12 hours has become mouse lore.
All was quiet on the mouse front until the air became more chilled at night. And then they were back. In one 3 hours span one (or more?) managed to eat half a loaf of bread right out from underneath us. This time they were well taught in the ways of trap avoidance. They also were better prepared to scale higher up into the panty shelves. These mice were uber-mouses.
Our first sticky traps were no match for them…we saw their trails in the sticky stuff but they apparently ran so super fast, not even the bonding glue traps worked. We bought another sticky trap varient and Hubby devised a diabolical schematic for trap placement.
And then, finally! We got one of the f-ers. Except, it was so tiny and helpless. It looked similar to our hamsters that we love, except it was stuck tight to the trap and was pitifully trying to get away. Trembling and straining, it was still trying to escape when Hubby disposed of it and the trap in the garbage.
I cried. The f-er may have crapped all over my house and ate a weeks worth of groceries, but it was still sad to see it lying there. I felt bad all day long.
Today…another one! Just as tiny, just as helpless. It undid me. I was ready to give over my downstairs to the f-ers just to stop the slaughter of cute furry creatures. Golfer shouted much to excitedly, “Let’s shoot it with a BB gun!” Nevermind we don’t have a BB gun. He noticed my look of horror and backtracked…”It’ll put it out of it’s misery faster, so it doesn’t have to starve to death stuck to that trap.” I cried again.
In the commotion of Golfer planning his ‘mercy mission’ and me wondering what the signs are for serial killers and how often they used BB guns to put small animals out of misery, Naturalist scooped the mouse up with the trap and went outside for a bit.
She came back empty handed, and calm. “Where did you go?” I asked. “I took the mouse out to the garbage, but first I had to calm it down to stop it from fighting and jerking so hard” she replied. “How do you do that?” I wondered. “Oh, I just talked to it, really quietly. It calmed it down so it wasn’t so scared.”
I would have asked what you say to a mouse to calm it down in the face of it’s demise, but the lump in my throat was too big to let sound escape.
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