Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mouse Week!

Midway through Shark Week on Animal Planet (and Facebook), Mouse Week started here in Florence, Montana.

I may have to buy a Varmint Voodoo: Mouse Edition from my own Esty shop!

WEDNESDAY: I found mouse turds in the mudroom and in the laundry room so I set one trap in each room in the afternoon, hoping to catch some over night.  MOUSE-1; ERIC & TARA-0

THURSDAY: In the morning when I woke up enough to remember to check on the traps there were no mice.  Thursday afternoon when I looked more closely at the trap in the laundry room, I noticed that had been licked clean of its peanut butter, but had not sprung.  Then I shook my fist at the sky - well, the ceiling of the laundry room - and reset the trap, being extra smeary with the peanut butter and hoped that Thursday night would be the night.  MOUSE-2; ERIC & TARA-0

FRIDAY: I remembered much sooner to check on my traps on Friday morning. The mudroom trap was still pristine, but the laundry room trap was... gone.  Ugh.  Our laundry room is tiny and a bit cramped with our fantastic, but large, "new" washer and dryer, a cold-air drying rack, water heater, and clothes hamper all sharing the limited square footage, so I was not looking forward to pulling these things out and poking around in a tight space for a live, dead, or half-dead mouse stuck in a trap. Plus, I felt like a jerk that it didn't die instantly and may have suffered or still be suffering.  That it may have crawled off somewhere I couldn't reach to die and rot and stink was distressing me, too.

Luckily, I didn't have to look long or move anything awkward or heavy.  The trap, empty of its peanut butter and its mouse, was on the other side of the water heater, just a few feet away from where I'd placed it the night before. Reset or re-evaluate and try another method?

I did not have another reason to go out on Friday, so I didn't get another method of trapping this mouse/these mice.  I reset the trap, I mean if something is not working, just keep doing it and eventually it will work, right?  MOUSE-3; ERIC & TARA-0

SATURDAY: No peanut butter and no trap to be found anywhere in the laundry room after a fairly thorough inspection. So I came out of the laundry room looking low and in corners and found a mouse!

It's situations such as these that it would be nice to have some mouser pets; mouser pets who would have taken care of this before we even noticed.  Sigh.

It was under the cabinets, wedged halfway into the tiny space between the toe kick and the dishwasher... alive!  Now a live mouse in my house in daylight is a totally different thing and a nighttime mystery mouse or a dead mouse.  This makes me want to jump on a chair and squeal like an old cartoon housewife.  So Eric tried to pry her out which only wedged her in further.  Sigh.  Did I mention this is all before coffee was consumed? Luckily the coffee had been made, so we settled down to drink it and left the back door open should she decide to make her escape.  Eventually (about halfway through coffee drinking), Eric went back to try again, wiggled the dishwasher and she slunk back in there all the way.  Here's hoping that was how she got in originally and she was just too fat from eating peanut butter to get back out easily until the dishwasher wiggled.

So either that mouse ran over there with the trap on it and managed to get the trap just right through that trap-sized crack, or there is an empty trap somewhere or, much worse, a full trap somewhere in the walls or under the house.  Sigh.  (Eric has since told me that he heard the creature scurry after it finally squeezed through the crack and it did not sound like it was attached to a sprung trap.)

I found this mouse trap on a shelf under the house, but it was not our brand and obviously it had been there awhile.

SUNDAY:  We took a night off from the mouse hunt simply because we didn't have another reason to drive down into town (even if town is only a few miles and several minutes away). Obviously we couldn't let this keep going, so I went to the local Ace around noon and bought some modern "touch-free" mousetraps that look like they'd be able to grab and hang on to a larger mouse as well as not fit under the appliances or through small holes around plumbing .

My hope with this style is that its larger "clamp" size will actually kill the mouse or mice and if not that at least prevent it from getting away or dragging the trap off somewhere.  I admit to being squeamish about live, wild mice, so couldn't quite bring myself to get live traps or the horrifying glue traps.

Here's why I wasn't considering live traps (until now): These mice have a 4.66 acre range.  Which means that I would a) have to drive a live mouse 4.66 acres from my house and in order to not be a jerk I'd have to b) drive that live mouse 4.66 from anyone else's house. AND if I'm having a heart and all that be sure that c) there is food and shelter for this live mouse. Not to be overly species-ist (but I'm about to be anyway), but that's a lot of effort and driving around with a live mouse to find a nice home for a thieving squatter that poops (and pees) who knows where all in my house. Four and two-thirds acres isn't that far, but driving to a place that is not near a home and would give it shelter would be a hassle.  Did I mention all that driving would be with a LIVE MOUSE in the car with me?

Here's why I am considering a live trap if these don't work: I don't want to maim the mice, because it's cruel and because having maimed mice somewhere in the walls of my house doesn't solve my problem, it only changes it.  I just want this over with.  Oh!  And Eric has volunteered to take the caught creatures to the creek which is easily 4.66 acres from any houses as well as full of food and shelter.  MOUSE-5 (or possibly 6); ERIC & TARA-0 (or possibly -2)

MONDAY: Before I even got out of bed in the morning I realized that I forgot to set a new trap in the laundry room Sunday night.  "Oh well, what's one more day," I thought.  So, I got Betty leashed up for morning walkies and as we head out the back door I saw that finally the trap in the mudroom had sprung and caught a mouse!  This one looked smaller than the one that got away through the crack between the cabinet toe kick and the dishwasher on Saturday, so there are definitely more traps to be set.  We're definitely postponing the live trap idea. MOUSE-5 (or possibly 6); ERIC & TARA-1 (or possibly -1)

TUESDAY: There were no tripped traps, but I couldn't tell if the peanut butter has been compromised. I reapplied the bait and reset the traps. Because I'm not sure if there are any mice left on the opposing time, I will say this for the score: NO CHANGE

WEDNESDAY: We caught another one!  This time it was in the laundry room.  I'm just going to keep setting traps until we go a week or so without a catch or trip.  MOUSE-5 (or possibly 6); ERIC & TARA-2 (or possibly 0)


Speaking of Shark Week, also available in the Bubble Off Plumb Productions Etsy shop is the Varmint Voodoo: Shark Edition. Ahem.


  1. Those V-traps are the ones I use. You are nicer than I: they can gallivant all over the gazillion acres of prairie and farm fields all around here, but they do not belong in my house. Another thing I have found works well is d-con bait traps. It's food that they eat and then return and get their nest, too. Because it's never, ever just one mouse. And the stupid cats just look at them, they are useless.


    1. I've always worried about poison because I worry about some pet or wild predator eating the poisoned mouse, but I haven't looked into that to see if it's a thing that even happens.

  2. Ugh! I feel for you. As you know, we've been through this before. Thank goodness Little J alerted us to the critters before they could signal the other mice to join the party.


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