WARNING: This blog post includes a photo of a dead mouse.
Damn it, the things are so cute! Skittering here and there; scuttling under the refrigerator and behind the garbage can. But they can’t live in your house. Mice are adorable, germy, flea-carrying disease nubbins that poop and pee everywhere they go. You can’t have it.
“Mouse!” Mike just yelled. He wasn’t yelling to me; he was yelling to the mouse that had run toward us from the kitchen. We both talk to animals directly, and call them their species names unless we know their human names. “Crow!” “Chickens!” “Horse.”
“You can’t be so bold,” Mike told the mouse, which had scurried out of sight. “You can’t live here.”
I got out the mousetraps and laid them on a paper towel. Three had been under the sink, untouched, surrounded by mouse poops. Two were lying in the corner near the door, where each had been kicked from in front of the stove when Mike or I accidentally nicked it with our shoe and set it off. (Unexpected tripping of mousetraps may lead to you poop and pee wherever you go, as well.)
I dug the stale peanut butter from the levers with a toothpick and replaced it. You don’t need a lot of peanut butter; in fact, if you use too much the mouse can eat some of it without ever hitting the lever. I set the traps and put one back under the sink, one in front of the stove (which Mike will doubtless set off tomorrow morning when he’s making coffee), one behind the garbage can and two in front of the refrigerator, where the mouse had taken refuge. Each was set against and perpendicular to the baseboard, as mice generally travel along the walls—at least until they become so comfortable with their surroundings that they run straight into the dining room, as this mouse had so recently done.
I have never had luck with anything but the old-fashioned wooden traps with the metal lever and bar. I tried similar traps that had fake plastic cheese as a lever, but they wouldn’t stay set. Many years ago, I got these big plastic ones that purport to suffocate the mouse. I still have post-traumatic stress from that experience—the broken-back-but-still-very-alive mouse screamed for mercy as I tried to bludgeon it with a hammer to finish the job. Ugh. Whatever you do, do not get glue traps. I’m not a fan of poison, either. I am resigned to killing when it’s necessary but have no tolerance for torture.
I settled into the couch with a cup of tea and started writing this blog post when SNAP! We got him already. Mike and I looked at each other. Sorry, Mouse.
This is the way you want a mouse to hit a trap—it did not feel a thing.
Its neck was broken and it died instantly, floating away on a waft of peanut butter fumes. I have killed other mice that didn’t go so cleanly, but they all died quickly. One was even next to the trap, with only one foot stuck, its head in a tiny pool of blood. I think that mouse actually got clocked by the bar when it came down and died that way.
Coda: If this blog post is disturbing to you, then you may not be ready for country living. Dealing with a dead mouse is the least of it!