Before moving to Connecticut, my encounters with furry little rodents were minimal. The extent of my experience were healthy city rats siphoning through alleyway rubbish cans or gophers long dead, trapped in a medieval contraption buried deep in my mothers rose garden.
I didn’t know how to set a mousetrap, much less dispose and set another. Fortunately, I have a neighbor that has a talent (and stomach) for trapping mice. If there’s a question on rodent craft, advice is given freely. There’s no room for the squeamish or weak. Don’t freak and complain, just do it. There’s a communal feeling when neighbors rally in aid when newbies, such as myself, adopt and implement their strategies.
Living in a 200-year-old house poses many chance encounters with uninvited inhabitants. I’ve known people with bats in their attics, squirrels having babies in walls, field mice dining on dishwasher hoses and moles leaving labyrinth mazes of dead grass on your once green yard. If you live in an old house, it’s expected.
I noticed mice droppings under the kitchen sink, resembling pieces of sharp, broken pencil lead. They had created an efficient little expressway, rest stops included. Favorite resting points were behind the dish soap bottles and antibacterial cleaning spray.
Even though our mouser cat has a talent for disemboweling furry little pests, he frequently grows bored. He often views them as playthings, sometimes preferring to torture and maim over being merciful, ending their suffering. I’ve seen injured mice flop around on the driveway, like hot popcorn, then scurry into the woods. The cat often lies there watching, completely unaffected, no longer entertained. As far as I’m concerned, a handicapped mouse is a live mouse, a live mouse that may merge onto the expressway under my kitchen sink.
I pulled out the packages of Tomcat wooden mousetraps, some steel wool and creamy peanut butter. Following my neighbor’s instructions, I intertwined a small piece of the steel wool through the bait plate. I then smeared a thin layer of creamy peanut butter on top of the steel wool. I set the trap and placed it in the high traffic area.
Once the mice discover the peanut butter and begin eating, their teeth become entangled in the steel wool. When they pull back, it engages the trap. Voila!
Forget the glue traps or live traps; go for the old school wooden snap traps. There’s something empowering about setting it, pulling back the spring and gently placing it on the floor.
The next morning I opened the kitchen sink cupboard and discovered a twisted mound of fur. I crouched down and picked up the trap. I had a small bit of empathy, but was easily distracted by it’s facial expression and popped eyeball. I lifted it up and shared the discovery with our dog, Tuff. He was a bit confused, but intrigued with the scent of expired rodent.
Feeling somewhat accomplished, I shared the news with my insightful neighbor. “Better keep settin.’ If you’ve got one, you have a hundred.”
Fortunately, I have the wooden traps, peanut butter and steel wool, along with the stomach to dispose of my unwanted guests.