It’s all gone very Beatrix Potter around here.

We have a mouse in the kitchen. We think it’s one mouse, though for all we know, it could be twelve mice on two hour shifts.

He (she?) is very large. Like a small rat.

The reason he/she is very large, is that there’s lots to eat on our kitchen floor. That is because certain members of my family make themselves sandwiches without plates and leave a trail of mouse food from the fridge to the TV.  You know who you are.

Anyway, Mousie is not frightened of the dogs, who turn out to be ratters, not mousers. Yes, they’ll go after foxes, rabbits, rats, cats, bunnies, squirrels and hares with unbridled bloodlust. But not a large rattish mouse. This obviously attests to the intelligence of my dogs, who are keen students of rodents and would not dream of chasing a creature outside their breed’s remit.

This whole situation is starting to piss me off.

We sit in the kitchen and see a (large) nose sticking out from under the fridge. My daughter shouts, “Don’t kill mousie, I’ll catch him and take him to the countryside to rehabilitate him!”

Like she’s going to visit the countryside voluntarily, without handcuffs, a blindfold, and a gun to her head.

The dogs just lie there, snoozing. If I attempt to elicit action by shouting “squirrel!” as the mouse saunters across the floor, their ears go up and their eyes spin wildly, like cartoon dogs, dubious, perhaps, but game to the possibility that Squirrel Nutkin is lurking nearby.

I am helpless, being of artistic temperament, ie, distracted by questions of aesthetic importance, the music of the spheres, etc etc.

And the man of the house?

He’s plugged into his digital radio, listening to either the cricket or the football, pretending he has no family, and definitely pretending there is no mouse.


26 thoughts on “I smell a rat.

  1. raych 8 years ago

    We had a mouse (this is when I lived with many girls) but we never saw his nose sticking out from under the fridge. We only ever saw his leavings, and the large holes he would make in our EVERYTHING.

    One day we’d all just come home from class and Amy opened the cutlery drawer to find his dirty mouse self nosing around. She shrieked and slammed the drawer and by the time I got to it he had fled for a DIFFERENT drawer and I had to chase him through all the drawers in the kitchen and people who are impressed by the fact that when I FOUND him I GRABBED him with my HAND do not understand the deep antipathy and prolonged, unsated rage that an elusive mouse will provoke.

    He bit me twice and then we got him in a ziplock bag and Chelsea smashed him with a frying pan while I called up Joel to take me to get a tetatnus shot. Eventful evening, it was.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      You put it in a ziplock bag and hit it with a frying pan? You have a cruel streak I never suspected sweet Raych. Any direct ancestors take part in the inquisition?

  2. Gail 8 years ago

    Okay, here’s advice we got from an old farmer in the country and I’ve been using it and it works. Take a large bucket, like a spackle bucket. Punch two holes at opposite sides near the top and thread a wire through them (a coat hanger will do). Next, take a can with a replaceable lid, like a peanut can or a coffee can (empty, of course). Put the lid on and punch holes through the lid and the bottom of the can. Now thread that can on the wire in the center of the bucket so it rotates around the wire. (Hope you’re following this.) Coat the outside of the can with peanut butter. Put several inches of water in the bottom of the bucket. Station bucket near where mousie likes to go. Lean a board like a ramp from the floor to the top of the bucket. Now…mousie smells peanut butter, runs up ramp, has to jump from edge of bucket onto can which sets it spinning and drops mousie into water, where it drowns. 🙂

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      And as for you, Gail Duncan. Your solution obviously comes from someone who likes to pull the wings off of flies. Whatever happened to mousetraps? SNAP. Dead. No luring innocent creature to perform triumphant acts of intelligence and agility before slow death by drowning under jar coated in peanut butter. Sadist.

    2. Gail 8 years ago

      Used to use snap traps. My mice got very clever. Actually extracted the cheese and peanut butter without tripping the traps. That’s when we moved on to extraordinary measures. Our record so far: 6 mice in one bucketful!

    3. Meg 8 years ago

      Six drowned mice. Six drowned mice. See how they….float?

    4. C 8 years ago

      Ahem. You can actually perform the bucket trick without water. If the bucket is tall enough there’s no chance of the mouse climbing out — the sides are too steep and slippery. Then you have a live mouse that you can take to the country for rehabilitation. Isn’t it funny how even a few blog responses statistically show what a cruel world we live in.

    5. Gail 8 years ago

      Except that this is a country mouse, and we’re only in our country house weekends. So…is it better to drown the mouse right off or let it die slowly over the course of the week until we get back the following weekend? There’s no chance it’s going to survive that long. And, if I release it into the wild, it will only find its way back. Nope, nothing but permanent death will do.

  3. bookwitch 8 years ago

    Just get the number for Sally G’s mouse-catcher!

  4. Sir Thurio 8 years ago

    I never thought I was scared of mice until one ran across my pillow in the middle of the night. I’m with the quiet man listening to the cricket.

  5. Nina Killham 8 years ago

    We had mice so blase they used to saunter across our living room floor and look at us when we screamed as if to say, you gotta a problem? We finally called the pest control. They put turquoise poison in little black boxes around the house and they are now gone. To the large mouse hole in the sky. I hear it dries them up from the inside and they leave the house in search of water and die a gruesome death. But of course I don’t think about that. Because it’s all about me me me….

  6. Kirsten Baron 8 years ago

    Look at the upside: if you have a mouse, you probably don’t have rats. Apparently they don’t share.

    We have mice living under Mr Husband’s workshop (and sometimes in it). We like to pretend that it’s just one mouse, called Mortimer, who cleans up after the sparrows.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      I think ours might be called Mortimer too. It’s hard to read the name on his tiny sweatshirt.

  7. Maria 8 years ago

    For once a situation I can relate to! We too had a mouse (I hoped in the singular). Twice it ran across the kitchen floor and dived for cover in the vents under the fridge (built in fridge, requires vents underneath, the space under the fridge of course communicated with all the other spaces under the floorboards in this old London flat. I’m sure it’s a mouse warren back there).

    We embarked on a military campaign of No Food Crumbs Anywhere. It was tedious but seemed to work (if no food for mice they just go away. good to have messy neighbours!). If you have a similarly built fridge contraption I recommend what we did in the end – pull out the wood section which holds the vents, and nail fine mesh metal wire on it.

    Your faith in snap-traps makes me laugh. I tried two different types of trap, baited with chocolate, and then tuna. These city mice are too clever (never tried peanut butter, as I refused to buy a whole jar specially for the buggers when we don’t eat it).

    good luck!

  8. Caroline Coxon 8 years ago

    It must be mouse open season! See below from Cxn’s Blog, January 22nd. I, however, use HUMANE traps. Humane as in I don’t feel bad about transporting meece to a Happy Land Near To Someone Else’s House (where they might then die a Horrible Death, judging by other comments posted above!)

    “In baiting a mousetrap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.”

    That’s a Greek proverb, that is. I would have written it in Greek but…

    This is the score today. Mice 1 – Caroline 0

    The thing is, I DID catch a mouse – or rather, the humane trap did, carefully baited with honey-roasted cashew nuts. Nothing but the best for my mice.

    I went into the larder and the trap was shut. Result! I picked it up and rocked it gently back and forth. Certainly no cashew nuts in there but it didn’t seem as though there was a mouse in there either. How on earth could that be? (Little did I know that the mouse was bracing itself against the sides to prevent motion-sickness.)

    I had a brainwave then. I would open the mousetrap inside an empty dog-food bin – a plastic container about 18 inches deep. I did this – and out popped a little mouse, its tummy bulging with several cashew nuts. I was just saying ‘Aaaaaaaaaah! How sweeeeet!’ when the mouse, from a standing start, jumped vertically two feet into the air, over the side of the bin and disappeared behind the fridge.

    Curses! Or should I say ‘Rats!’? (No, I won’t say ‘Rats!’ because, as much as I love little meece, I DO draw the line at their bigger, scarier relatives.)

    The trap is set again with more cashew nuts. The mouse is no doubt chuckling behind the fridge, saying to herself ‘if you think I’m going to fall for THAT again, you’re going soft in the head, Mrs. Cashew-Nut-Provider!’

    We shall see…

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Hilarious! I don’t think I can cope with cashews and humane traps and acrobat rodents. I’m going to try the £1.50 old fashioned micetraps and hope Douglas Adams was wrong about mice being the creatures running a vast experiment on earth with humans.

  9. Sharon Creech 8 years ago

    Thank you for a most entertaining visit. I love to laff in the morning.

  10. Tudor M. 8 years ago

    First things first.

    Though you might not be a believer in its foxiness, the humane trap works. A testament to that is my own experience with over 5 mice under my belt and no inquisition episodes to be mentioned in The Mouse Book of the Dead:).
    The main thing is you have to bite the bullet and take them elsewhere, on other grounds at least a mile away. This appears to be scientifically tested, as it seems they won’t be able to trace their own smell back.
    Another small inconvenient is that you have to wash it after heavy usage as the ones captured leave a trail of misery and despair and other comrades in hunger do not follow. And where there is one there is all the reason to believe there is also the “socialist” undercover chapter ready to spread its manifesto: “feed the many! feed the poor! take from the rich imperialist and give it to the classes!” and so on….

    True, the battle never ends unless you buy a cat, but that’s another story and quite difficult one to handle, particularly for dog friends:)

    This is what I suggest you should look for: (that and some smelly peanut butter and cheese) and hopefully you’ll be rid of them in a couple of days:)

    God, I sound like the Rat catcher in Roald Dahl’s story:)
    Truth is I don’t like mice or rats either!

    Hope it helps!

  11. Rhubarb 8 years ago

    The humane traps work, and yes, you are supposed to take them far away to let them go.

    That is unless the ground is covered in snow and you have a field full of hawks nearby, in which case you can just let them go there. But then you can’t really say ‘humane trap’ anymore, more like ‘hawk take out container’….

    Peppermint oil is supposed to repel them. Ratcatchers used to flush out rats by blocking their escape routes with peppermint soaked rags and setting weasels after them.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Must nip down to the weasel shop this morning.

    2. Rhubarb 8 years ago

      don’t forget the peppermint oil: the good weasel shops all carry it.

  12. Kitty 8 years ago

    Get a cat?

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      If we got a cat, it wouldn’t last long. We have two lurchers.

  13. MaryWitzl 8 years ago

    We have two cats I’d be delighted to lend you. Believe me, dogs are no obstacle.

  14. Shelley Souza 8 years ago

    Send the dogs on holiday to Mary Witzl, she’ll lend you her cats, et, voila.

  15. Shelley Souza 8 years ago

    BTW, this was one of the funniest posts and comments I’ve read in a long time. Thank you. I really needed the laugh.

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