29 April 2010

A Mouse in Our House

A couple of mice, actually. Tuffy found one the other day that had fallen into the kitchen trash can and couldn't get out. (It wasn't this particular mouse. She took a picture, but I can't find it at the moment. It looked very much like this one.) She took it across the street to the park and let it go. A benevolent death sentence, most likely, since all kinds of bad things can happen to a mouse released in an unfamiliar place, but somehow it doesn't seem as heartless as dispatching it on the spot, even if a quick, painless demise would probably be more merciful in the long run. Anyway, the same thing happened a couple of days later. Different mouse, presumably. Our empty kitchen trash can is apparently a pretty good mousetrap. Or maybe we have a population of particularly clumsy mice.

I don't mind mice. In fact, I'm rather fond of them. I trapped and released a lot of them, back in my days as a zoologist. Not house mice so much as deer mice, harvest mice, pocket mice, meadow mice, that kind of thing, but the same general idea. Still, they're not very tidy, so I'd rather not have them in the house.

In Michigan we had mice invade the house every year when the weather turned cold. It was just an annual thing. You could hardly blame them, Michigan winters being what they are. One year, when Tuffy was about three, this happened to coincide with the state of Michigan filming some of the kids at her day care center for a series of public service announcements about normal child development. Since they wanted an example of a child of about three putting words into short sentences, the film crew needed a child who would talk. The daycare staff pointed them towards our relentlessly verbal daughter. The resulting PSA included a clip of Tuffy exclaiming, "In our house!"

We later got a videotape of the whole session, including the conversation from which this clip was extracted. Tuffy was explaining, at great length, about how we had mice "in our house! In my room!" She even recounted how one of the dogs caught a mouse. And ate it.

I'm glad they didn't turn us over to protective services.

Eventually, snap traps and peanut butter got the mice out of our house in Lansing. I guess we should do the same thing here.


  1. I'm quite surprised that in all the alternative places I've lived (converted barns, cabins, etc.), I don't recall a live mice problem. I did, however, have a cat that regularly brought in voles. I'd encounter them dead or alive -- behind the couch or under foot!

    Good luck catching your mice and releasing them to, uh, their destiny outside your abode.

  2. Don't you just love it when you hear that trap go *snap* under the kitchen sink?

  3. The little mice are kind of cute - sort of. The big rats are - yikes I so do not do them well.

    Last year our neighbor left their dog food out on the back porch. So the big ugly varmint rats made a pathway through our yard to get to theirs! I swear we tried every kind of trap we could find.

    When Billy and Trish came to visit Billy found a tunnel they had made behind our planter going under the corner of it and then under the fence to the neighbors yard.

    He filled the tunnels with cement, placed tin on or shed where they had made a hole.

    Thank goodness the people moved out and this winter we had no rat attack. Although Catfish and Annie missed all the fun they had trying to nail the suckers.

    How cute Tuffy and the PSA sounds. Got the clip to share? Is there anyone out there that has never ever had a mouse in the house?