Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mousy personalities

On a Saturday three months ago, we were getting started on cooking lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches. I got the bag of bread out, and noticed something odd: one corner had a hole in it. The bread just inside the hole had been eaten.

The partner and I talked about various mouse traps. The spring kind? Doesn't always work, and we're too squeamish to finish the mice off ourselves. The glue kind? Inhumane. That leaves the live-catch traps.

After a week of replacing bait that had been eaten, we caught our first mouse - about three inches long. After dumping it into a large plastic jar and observing it for a short time, I turn back to the trap to clean it out. In the trap was another mouse! Just an inch long, it was hiding under the ramp. We took our mouse family to a park just outside of town; they did not want to leave that jar, clinging to the opening. I shook it rather forcefully to dump them out, at which point they bolted away.

Mouse #2 was another one-incher. This one, when taken to the park, walked to the opening, sniffed a few times, and walked on out. We left the traps out for another week, but the bait wasn't getting eaten. I thought our mouse problem was solved - until the incident with my shoes last week. So the traps have been out again. Mouse #3 did the sniff-and-walk-out routine just like #2.

Mouse #4 enlarged one of the airholes in the trap by chewing on it. It did not have to be dumped into the bucket, either: as soon as I opened the trap, it jumped straight out. This bucket is a foot tall; the mouse was repeatedly jumping and hitting its head on the lid. I caught it in the morning; after work when we headed for a local cemetary, the mouse was still doing the spectacular jump routine. It was more cautious going outside: much more sniffing than mouse #2 or 3. I didn't have to dump it, though, which made taking it out into the cold and snow easier to rationalize as being "nice".

It's been interesting seeing the different personalities of our rodent houseguests. I'm happy to say, though, the bait in the traps was not eaten today. Perhaps we get another reprieve from mousy companionship.

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