Hitting like a ton of bricks since 1996

Good night, Mus musculus

Monday, November 24, 2008

Admittedly, there was a brief time we thought maybe the dog was going insane. It was slightly reminiscent of that Far Side comic where one dog says to the other, while the owner, blissfully unaware, reads the paper: "Watch... Growling and bristling, I'll stare at the closet door."

She was definitely getting excited about something. She kept scooting from one side of the cabinet to the other. Granted, this is the cabinet with her food and treats, but living in a hundred-year-old house it doesn't take one long to catch on that maybe there's something alive there. (The droppings were something of a clue as well.) So we put two traps in the area: a glue trap in the back of the cabinet, and a spring trap in the grate next to it where the dog couldn't get to it. No luck.

I should mention around this time we replaced the floor board of the hutch on the other side of the wall. I don't know how long it was sitting askew, but there was no reason for it to be out, so I put it back in.

After several days of nothing, the missus found droppings behind the couch in the next room. So we took the trap out of the grate, re-baited it, and put it behind the couch.

Snap! A day later, Mickey was dead. (Unfortunately, it wasn't a clean kill. There are few things creepier than cleaning up dried mouse blood. At least we have hard wood floors — that makes it easier.) Two more later and we were feeling pretty good. Cocky, maybe.

Meantime, we discovered the source of that smell around the hutch. Apparently, the little darling got trapped when I put the board back in. A good dose of bleachy water fixed that mess.

But the trap lay dormant. Weeks go by, no more mice. Hmm, maybe that's it. Problem solved, right? Until she started doing it again. This time back in the kitchen, but around the dishwasher. Well. We know it's a possibility, because we got one under the sink last winter. Except now we're out of traps.

See, we've been using the old-fashioned wooden spring-loaded traps. Classic and cheap. Unfortunately, very difficult to set, and very touchy when putting them down, but they do work. And being cheap, I find it easier to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were. But we were out and needed more. So on a whim, we upgraded to a higher model: we got the plastic ones that are easier to set and much easier to reuse. Slightly more expensive, but what the hey, right? A little peanut butter, and it was set.

Twenty-fours later, sayonara. Satisfying quick. And ten minutes later, Mickey's in the trash, the trap is reset, and here I am writing this. (Yes, I washed my hands.)

So the moral of the story, I guess, is not to scrimp on your traps. Spend that extra $0.87. It's definitely worth it.