Monday, January 3, 2011

Snap Goes the Mouse?

One of the questionable joys of living in the country is our constant stream of unwanted guests. Key word here is “unwanted,” which I rush to define as uninvited guests who have more than two legs.

We’re pretty much tired at this point of collecting our daily 10 to 15 visiting brown marmorated stink bugs in our sudsy collecting jar. And Sunday morning I found a bit of evidence on the kitchen floor that a mouse has made its way into our house, even though we make determined efforts to seal every possible entry point. I will not bore you with a detailed description of the evidence other than to say it was about a quarter-inch long, dark brown-black, less than an eighth of an inch thick, and slighted pointed or rounded at both ends.

The mouse population here at Meadow Glenn seems to fluctuate greatly from winter to winter. Two winters ago we caught eight or 10, last year zero. One year I caught one live and released it outside—at a respectable distance from our house. I hope I made it back inside before it did.

But most mice don’t cooperate with my “take-em’-outside-alive” strategy, so I trap them. Mouse traps these days come in a variety of designs.  I prefer old-fashioned, effective snap traps. I prefer snaps because I think they are humane—snap = death.

I’ve looked at a common alternative, glue traps. If I were a mouse, hey, Bob, set out a snap trap for me. Don’t use a new-fangled glue trap. Can you imagine a giant mouse setting a glue trap for humans? You walk on it and stick fast. You can barely move a muscle. You scream for help, but there is no help. You die of fright or you starve to death. No, Bob, be humane. Kill me with a snap trap.

I got out a packet of four new Victor snap traps in a plastic bag featuring a huge red V cleverly converted into a modernistic mouse face plus “Kills!” and “Easy Set,” “non-poisonous,” “disposable,” and “Made in USA” under a drawing of Old Glory. Wow, a genuine, patriotic, killing machine.

And to the left of the V, a drawing of a chunk of Swiss cheese in a red circle with a red slash across and the convenient reminder, “Never Needs Baiting.” At this point I was just a little skeptical because, really, we’re dealing with very intelligent American, not imported Swiss, mice. Wouldn’t it be better to show a slice of plastic-wrapped Velveeta? European readers, please don’t laugh. We Americans consider Velveeta to be cheese.

I have to compliment the Victor makers on the improvements they’ve made in their traps since I was a kid.

Gone is the little trigger to be spread with peanut butter. Replaced is a large, square, yellow plastic trigger, now called a pedal, designed to look like, yes, you guessed it, Swiss cheese. I suppose a mouse is supposed to see the pedal, think “exercise machine,” and hop aboard for a workout.

And Victor has added another improvement. When I engage the locking bar, I can put its end to either the left or right side of the slot where it engages with the pedal, depending on how much pressure the pedal requires before it releases the bow. Left is “Firm” and right is “Sensitive.” Since I consider myself sensitive when dealing with critters, “Sensitive” it will be.

Now it’s time to set the snap trap, but first I’ll bait it. Yes, the package says “Never Needs Baiting,” but there’s a small groove built into the pedal obviously designed for traditionalists like me to add just a dab of peanut butter.

I’ve applied the peanut butter. I’ve set the trap. I’ve just put it by the tiny space between the kitchen cabinet and the dish washer, likely the mouse’s Interstate getaway.

Good night.

P.S. If you want to see the ultimate in mouse traps, go online and check out Victor’s Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap and the 1:18 minute video showing how it works. Mouse enters via “staircase” into Shock N’ Drop Chamber andd then walks onto three electrically charged plates that electrocute mouse “in less than 3 seconds.” Shock N’ Drop Chamber rotates and deposits mouse in collection drawer, which holds up to 10 mice. Only $99.99, batteries included. CLICK HERE.


  1. Hey, Bob! Happy New Year to ya!!
    You know, I failed to comment, but I LOVED your link to the New Year's video, and I am not just saying that. Really exceptional.
    Now, about micey critters... I have some experience, since I once took home a live cedar tree for Christmas which had mice family aboard in a nest, and they unloaded right into my house. After the mass killing ended, I became more vigilent. In addition to avoiding live trees from the woods, I found steel wool to block all mice entrance ramps in my home. Today I use a poison pellet (forget the name) which causes quick and deadly hemorrhage, and the critters bleed out, dehydrate in the walls with no odor. It's true. And as a nurse, I know hemorrhage is anothe humane way to die, as the victim loses consciousness and all sensation quickly. On that high note, many blessings for the New year, Bob! Love your posts.

  2. So where are all your other blog fans, asleep, like Rip Van Winkle?? Maybe reading and not posting??? Shame on them.

  3. I know I'm out of step with the tone of your blog, but I go the humane route. I serve my little visitors peanut butter on some type of cracker, and then when I hear them rattling around in the trap, I walk 1/4 mile to let them go....far away from my house, and across a stream. I have been known to take this little re-location walk LATE at night and EARLy in the morning. We've had plenty of 3-mouse days, but for the moment (actually the past month or so) we've been un-wanted-visitor-free.

  4. Gladys: Hey, you can be my consultant on mice! The bait you use probably is warfarin based. It always amazes me that we medicate people with warfarin (Coumadin, and similar) in small doses as an anticoagulant to prevent thrombosis and embolism and we kill mice and rats with too-large doses (in such products as d-Con). I've also read that your tip about using steel wool to plug entry ways is two-thumbs up.

  5. Susan: You're never out of step here. Just march along to your own drummer! Actually, I consider humaneness as a positive attribute! As I mentioned in the posting, I sometimes catch the mice and release them outside. The first photo is of a white-footed mouse that explored our hallway while Ellen and I were watching. I caught it in a plastic trash can, took the photo, and released it about 75 yards from our front door. I hope I got back inside before it did. This summer I removed a brick that was covering one of the two hollow sections of a cement block and found a mouse with nest and babies inside. I just put the brick back inplace and moved on. I suppose the mouse squeaked about that to her babes for days.

  6. Gladys has raised a question that echoes all the time around blogland. Why aren't readers commenting? I'm guessing there are several reasons.

    First, the comments don't automatically appear when readers go to the blog. They have to click on Comments, and then the Comments, if any, appear. Many readers don't take time to do that, and I suppose some have never imagined they must click on Comments to see them.

    Second, I get many more comments on my Facebook page, where I post short announcements of my major blog postings, than I do there. I think the reason is that it is so simple on Facebook. Here readers are confronted by "Comment as" and then a box with an arrow. Click on the arrow and a list drops down with several strange words: LiveJournal, Word Press, TypePad, AIM, and OpenID. They mean nothing to most readers, who've never heard of those blogging organizations. If readers continue down the list, they see Name/URL and then Anonymous. Why Name/URL are joined I don't know, but if readers click on that line, they then can add a name (such as Gladys and Susan did) or their own website address and then add their comments. And if readers doesn't want to add a name, they can just click on Anonymous and then comment.

    The procedure to comment is really quite simple, but the software makes it intimidating for readers who don't know blogging jargon--and most readers don't.

    Gladys, thanks for raising this issue--and commenting. Thanks, Susan, too.

    And other readers, please try adding a comment! It's really not difficult. Speak your mind! Or I'll ask Gladys to bring you a Christmas tree with a hidden nest of mice.

  7. You make me chuckle... again. A nice way to begin a day.

    Yes, the process of adding a comment is more difficult and more steps than it should be here. I joined on Google, and still I have to jump a few hoops to say hello. That's fine.

    Have a good day, and happy mousing around.

  8. Oh, bye the by... I wasn't meaning to infer I'm an axe murderer by using the words "mass killing" of rodents above. Actually I used traps with peanut butter and caught maybe three, that's all. No I didn't turn them loose to return into my house, for mice carry deadly hanta virus and other diseases, and I had an allergic child on top of those concerns. Mice with their flat skulls can enter a hole about the thickness of a dime. If birds of prey have rights to thin rodents, I think we do to. How can humans "subdue" and "have dominion" if we allow deadly critters into our beds? We would not be here today if the early pilgrims never killed a bear, cougar or snake. Hey, I also kill scorpions that wander into my house, fifteen last summer. Sometimes I feel folks are more concerned about the animals than poor vulnerable humankind, like let's save a rat and put a family at risk. Oh well.

  9. The thought never crossed my mind, Gladys, that you might be an axe murderer. I didn't even know you had an axe. :-) I just wish local foxes, owls, and hawks, and other mouse predators, guarded the permimeter of our house just a bit better--and caught all the mice that try to enter. By the way, when I do catch a mouse in a snap trap, I put it outside in a special place and the next morning the dead mouse is always gone. I call that natural recycling.

  10. Oh, n'er mind me... I go on and on sometime on a subject. No, I don't own an axe. LOL.

    Yes, to the recycling of varmints. Probably a cat found yours. Cats are great mousers, if they're not fed too much, and get fat.

  11. I hadn't thought of cats, Gladys. We DO have feral cats out here in the country, so wild we seldom get closer than 100 yards to them. I hate to imagine the numbers of birds and small mammals they eat per year. Is that two-thumbs up or two-thumbs down?

  12. Hmmm... I suppose that's determined by whether you're a cat or a mouse or a bird. Tee hee...
    Balance in nature, that's the thing we strive for, until all is made new and there is no more death, nor pain, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor any dratted thing.
    Have a great day!!

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  14. The fastest, easiest way to get rid of mice is to buy a cat. Works every time!