Thursday, January 29, 2009


My house has some mice.

While we were away on vacation in December a family of them moved in. They want to live in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. The sink has an instant near-boiling water spout, and the device underneath stays toasty warm. A mouse sitting underneath it is probably in the warmest place upstairs.

Now, I grew up watching the right Disney movies and know how this is supposed to work. The mice are trying to be polite. They have made no effort to go onto our counters or after our food. But the rules go beyond that. I would be happy to clean out that cabinet, put in shelf paper, and move the kitchen compost bowl from the counter to in there. Then everyone could be happy, and some day they would teach Smiley valuable lessons about courage or friendship.

But the mice are neglecting their part in the arrangement. I cannot trust them unless they start demonstrating proper hygiene and either wear little waistcoats or occasionally break out into song and dance.

I don't want to kill the mice. I already trap and move more than a dozen squirrels each year to protect my wife's garden. Moving a few mice would not be any trouble. So I try using mouse-sized live traps.

But the mice ignore them no matter how much peanut butter I put inside. So I have been using normal snap-traps. These catch the mice even without any bait.

These traps also reveal how much these mice are not the kind I want Smiley to grow up listening to. I have learned to check in that cabinet a few times per day, to notice and remove a trapped mouse before it is discovered by a relative. Instead of bringing a little wreath of flowers or covering a mirror with black cloth, these mice go "Hm, lunchtime."

1 comment:

Heather said...

Oh yes, we hav emice of the not so sweet variety. We had for a time found that sticky traps worked very well, until the mice got too smart and started avoiding them. Now that the kids are older we use plain old poison--having dispensed with at least one tremendous family worth of mice we no longer see them as sweet little things and now just want them out of our house.