There was a mouse – where?
When I was a child my father found a family of field mice in the rabbit’s spare hay stash. They looked so sweet all cossied up in the straw that we begged him to spare them which, to our surprise, he did. Of course very soon we were overrun by mice and they started to come into the conservatory attached to the house. As far as my Dad was concerned this was the invisible line that they shouldn’t have scampered over. For several days, after the decision to kill them had been made, the snapping traps broke at least 100 little necks. It took a long time to forgive my father for his decision to decimate. Now whenever I suspect a mouse has come in from the cold I use humane traps.
When I first started using these traps I couldn’t work out why my intruders, when released, returned to the scene of their capture.
“Ahh” said a friend knowledgeably when I confided in her ( A rodent invasion in not something you advertise unless you are fed up with people dropping in for lunch). “You need to release them at least 2 km away otherwise they’ll come back.”
Thus I found myself driving into the snow-covered Yorkshire countryside, in freezing weather, to release a mouse that had ventured into my living space. As I drove I agonised about the family life I’d just broken up. As it happened the ’family’ came looking for their lost brethren and ended up in the same spot. Hopefully they were reunited.
On one such cold day, I was in the shower, when I felt a familiar feeling – I was not alone. This time it wasn’t a tree frog, or a private detective, but a rather fat and healthy looking field mouse sitting on the bathroom floor watching me. We regarded each other for some moments, each trying to decide what the best course of action was. I was in a quandary. The bathroom was small, I was wet, in the buff, the mouse was between me and the door. If I got out of the shower and the mouse panicked it would most likely it run towards me. Being naked in front of a voyeuristic mouse was making me feel uncomfortable so I modestly reached out for a towel to cover myself. The mouse made it’s move, ran across the floor and disappeared behind the wash basin. Grasping the moment I jumped out of the bath, raced through the door and slammed it shut. The mouse was trapped.
A little later, fully clothed, calmer and armed with a portable hoover (I had a cold, was not rational and couldn’t find the trap), I entered the bathroom only to find it mouseless. I concluded that either my headcold had made me delirious or Houdini had been reincarnated. I looked behind the basin and found a tiny hole in the skirting board. Bunging it up with loo paper until I could do a better job I exited the bathroom. Imagine my surprise when I saw said rodent scampering down the hallway towards me. The wily magician was definitely on form. Desperate to get back to bed and nurse my cold I switched the hoover on and chased the mouse around the house and down the stairs. I caught up with it in the kitchen and Houdini vanished up the hover element into the depths of the machine. “Ha ha. No escaping from this one” I thought. Then felt awful for what I’d done. Taking the hoover outside to dismantled it, I pulled out the bag and prepared to empty stomach churning contents into the bin.
With the panache of a man who’d had just carried off the death-defying water chamber trick, the little escapologist popped its head up, looked at me through the hoover bag’s hole, sneezed and started to wash its whiskers nonchalantly. Apparently it had been a soft landing.
Feeling a little in awe I carried the mouse in its new home to the end of the garden and left it there. I was sure that we would meet again. I made a mental note to buy some more live traps and fill the car up with petrol.