Saturday, January 15, 2005

Mouse Underfridge, Esq.

Okay, so now I am a killer.

Opening the pantry yesterday, there was a rustling among the onions on the bottom shelf. Then, there it was. A MOUSE.

I don't have any particular aversion to mice, but still, I jumped. I felt the need to loudly notify both D. and G. The Dog (who has, to our dismay, killed mice in the past.) They came down, curious to see this alleged "mouse." I poked around the onions again, and it came zooming out of the pantry and dove under the refrigerator.

D. and G. The Dog were apparently looking some other direction (distracted by a bumblebee?) and did not see it. G. The Dog's sensitive homing apparatus, which will sense a squirrel in the next block, did not twitch at the presence of a mouse one foot away.

Now, what to do? My only experience with a mouse previously was when one died in the wall of my first New York apartment (here we go again with "when I first moved to New York...") The smell was ... well, just gross. Mousy and decayed and awful. It took weeks to fade away.

For our current uninvited guest, Mouse Underfridge, Esq., I did a little research. I found this site which detailed various people's adventures ridding their flats of mice (they were mostly in the U.K. so I don't feel pretentious saying 'flats.' Or 'digestive biscuits.')

I knew I didn't want a glue trap. I am not opposed to killing mice (although if it were possible to just ask nicely and get them to move on, of course I would do that.) Still, glue traps are more horrible than they need to be. If only we could just whip this kind of contraption together.

We went out to the store and got some D-Con traps which promise "no need to see or touch the mouse." I also had read that they had a greater success rate, since the mouse had to enter and couldn't employ a devious way to get the bait and not trigger the trap.

Mouse Underfridge was a chocolate lover, since I discovered a bar of Ghirardelli's semi-sweet baking chocolate with a silver-dollar sized section gnawed away. I took everything out of the pantry of course and checked for evidence. The flour did not seem to have been touched, but I tossed it all anyway (all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, pastry flour ... what can I say, I had been on a baking binge.) M.U. had concentrated on the chocolate and on a bag of tortellini. Our guest had taste.

My guess is that M.U. had first been attracted by crumbs -- yes, crumbs -- from a bag of breadcrusts that I had used to make stuffing and had left unsecured. I'm sure you're thinking, well of course there were crumbs. You're "Lord of the Crumbs," aren't you? If you're not thinking that, why not? I'll explain the blog title one of these days, but for now, back to our mouse hunt.

I did find evidence -- teeny tiny little brown evidence -- that the mouse had been up and down throughout the pantry - even apparently crawling among the many bottles of vitamins and herbs in the door shelves. This was when I knew I had to kill. I carefully cleaned it up, sprayed it down with disinfectant, and went out to buy the traps and some food storage bins to use in the future.

Late last night, I mixed up some cocoa powder and peanut butter to bait the trap, and went to bed. This morning: a tail protruding from the trap. I was sorry to have done it, but it couldn't be helped. These houses are old, and once a mouse colony takes up residence, it's hard to get rid of them. We'd already been pushing our luck by putting out a squirrel feeder so that G. The Dog would have some entertainment outside the back windows.

So, what have we learned from this? No matter who you are, if you come over uninvited, eat my chocolate and poop in my cabinets - you will pay. Yes, you will pay.


Blogger Jen said...

God, we've had this same problem on and off for years (generally whenever they are gutting a refinishing a rowhouse or in the winter). Our cats have become very good at killing them, which kind of bothered me too--they've gone from playing with them to death to neating slicing a jugular and leaving the gift by their bowls or in a shoe.

Last year, therefore, I bought a couple of humane traps at Home Depot when it became apparent, by the "carraway seed" formations in the kitchen when we got up in the morning, that we had another mouse. (It also liked chocolate, judging by the hole in the brownie mix bag. It never went near the humane trap, which was stuffed with cheese.) The cats finally got it before the human trap did.

I've kind of given up trying to be nice about it; I've caught three before and set them free outside. One was a cute little baby that I put in the gutter; as soon as I walked back to the yard, a large SUV quickly and violently pulled into the vacant space, probably crushing it. One I placed outside, only to find the next morning that it had frozen to death in the folds of a tarp in our yard. You just can't win—mice are destined to live short lives.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Zenchick said...

you wanna borrow my monster feline?

9:37 PM  

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