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.
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.