Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Joys of Mouse Hunting

I just don't think I have what it takes to be an exterminator.

Explanation: About a month and a half ago, we discovered that we had a mouse in our house. Being the man of the house, I was charged with the responsibility of removing the perpetrator. Since my wife is pregnant and I do actually have a family* to protect from the nasties of rodent disease, I headed out to the store to pick up the latest and greatest in mouse murdering appliances.

I have had a pet mouse**. They're cute little buggers. I really don't want to kill them, so much as remove them from my house. If one does die, I certainly don't want it to suffer any terrible pain before its undoing.

Well, it turns out that killing a mouse isn't as easy as the trap package would like you to believe. Where I thought I was "baiting" the traps, it turns out that I was actually just providing numerous peanut butter offerings to the new master of the house. For several days the mouse was eating and eating. I even found a humane trap on the internet, made from an old soda bottle, which I assembled, much to my wife's amusement. No dice. It was not until I devised a cunning array of four side-by-side snap traps with bait only on the middle traps that I finally managed to catch the little guy. My brief forensic analysis of the scene leads me to believe that a trap actually caught his foot first, and then in the ensuing panic, a second trap fractured his spine and killed him.

In a brief moment of insight, I did not dispose of the extra traps. I just left them out in the garage, all consolidated into a cardboard box lid - a nice little tray of mousie terror. Well, last week I discovered that one of the traps had been triggered (with nothing in it) and realized that another invader was treating my humane trap as a mousie buffet. This being unacceptable, I corked my humane trap and instead provided a new offering of peanut butter, which the invader enjoyed for a night or two.

Well, this morning I discovered something unpleasant. One of the mousetraps was triggered last night, but nothing was in it. Another was still armed. And the third trap? I have no idea where it is. The only explanation I have is that it again got a mousie leg, only this time the mouse wasn't lucky enough to be done in by a second trap. Now there is a mouse dragging a trap somewhere in my garage.

I think I need to get a cat.

*Until February, my family happens to be contained in one convenient package. So what?

**In high school, a friend and I bought a pregnant mouse at the pet store so we could observe the birth process and report on it for class. Several weeks later, with no babies in sight, we learned that there really wasn't much difference between a pregnant female mouse and a really fat male mouse.


Anna said...

I had a job at a grocery store during high school, and we had mice in the store room. They put out sticky tape traps to try to catch them, and once they actually DID. The thing was stuck but still very much alive and in for a cruel starvation death. Sooo, some of the stock boys took it out back and set fire to it with a lighter. Horrible, huh? I much prefer your method. But I still feel sorry for the mouse.

Willie Y said...

Have-a-heart sells traps that captures the little meese, and then you take them for a long ride and release them. On one hand that could be the kiss of death for the little mouse because he would have to establish a new mouse house, but if he is resourceful enough he could make it. In any event it's on the mouse and I am gilt free.

PS And setting the mouse on fire is horrible.

Heather said...

I am all for humane treatment, but the cute little furries will eat your home's wiring, they ate my boss's hot tub, gnaw your house and can go anywhere that their little heads will fit (little smaller than a dime). They can have 10+ babies when they are 3 months old, and will reproduce every 3+ weeks.

That's alot of peanut butter.