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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The one that got away

Our house is infested* with mice. I don't know how it happened, but it's true. A while back, we began to hear suspicious scratching noises in the wall, so we set out our humane trap and we've probably caught a half dozen mice over the last month or so. I have a tumultuous history with this trap, so I'm going to post about my experiences in case anyone else is thinking of trying this.

* Okay, infested might be a big of an exaggeration. So far we've only found one in the house; the rest have all been in the garage.

The idea of the trap itself is great - obviously I purchased it as a kinder alternative to those nasty traps that snap down on the mouse and may or may not kill it right away. I had visions of releasing happy, relaxed little mousies into a field full of wildflowers. A mouse might pause on his way out into the idyllic field of daisies and glance over his shoulder, and a look would pass between us, wordlessly conveying his gratitude for my kindness, and my gratitude for his gracious departure. So you can imagine my horror the first time we used this trap (quite some time ago now; this isn't the first time we've had mice in the garage) and I went out to check it in the morning to find a dead mouse inside. I'm not sure if it's dehydration or stress or something else that does them in, but what I've come to discover is that you have to check the trap a lot. At first I thought once a day was fine, then I thought twice a day was fine (morning and evening) - now I realize that you really need to check it every couple of hours, and especially immediately before bed and immediately when you wake up.

Not too long ago, I had a second one die on me (after quite a few successful catch and release experiences - I don't mean to make it sound like they always die). As with the first one, I had checked the trap in the evening and it was empty, and by the next morning it was too late for my little mousy friend. That time, he wasn't actually dead yet, and I put him in a cardboard box and tried to nurse him back, but within a few hours more, he did die.

Fast forward to this morning... again, I did check yesterday evening - no mouse - but neglected to check at bedtime (that's where I went wrong - I think they often get trapped after dinnertime but before 11 or 12 at night). This morning, I found a sad little specimen in the trap. Once again, he wasn't all gone yet, so I set up my cardboard box nursing facility again. I thought I was going to lose this one too - he looked nearly as bad as the last one who died, but I was finally able to get him to eat and drink. After another hour or two, he was scurrying around the box as if nothing had happened. As I prepared to take him down to the woods to set him free, I paused to grab my camera to take a picture of the little cutie. I got these two pictures right before he launched himself out of the cardboard box and down onto the floor.

I swear, it was like watching a miniature kangaroo! I never knew mice could jump like that. So the good news is - he's alive. The bad news is - he's still on the loose in our house. D'oh.


Anonymous said...

ever watch Tom and Jerry? Mouse!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe there is not enough food in the trap to keep the mouse alive for more than a few hours. Mice have such fast metabolisms that they need to eat almost constantly in order to stay alive.

Vegan Girl said...

Other than hearing about the mice dying, that was a real funny story. But I do feel sorry for the deceased mice. Sorry that part didn't work out.

shayoa said...



Leslie Todd said...

I think the air holes in the humane traps might be too small or too few. Try putting more holes in. (assuming you have the plastic trap).