‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Of mice and more mice

If at some point in the future you are listening to NPR and hear a story about how the Cape Cod fishing industry was destroyed by mice, please deny having read this post.

We have a seasonal mouse problem here at the Towers. We've closed down most of the mouse super highway, but old habits die hard and some (mice, not habits) are still finding their way in. Generational memory. We are pacifists (read: squeamish), so the trap we use catches mice live instead of smashing their brains out their ears.

It has occurred to me that smashing their brains out their ears may be the more humane route, but I'll get to that.

I asked google how far you have to take a mouse so it doesn't find its way home, and the general consensus is pretty far. A couple miles far. In my favorite comment stream (which is completely worth reading), one person noted: "They will find their way back unless you sing "Born Free" while releasing them."

I was doing that already. They also say to paint their nails so you can see if the mice you're catching are repeat clients. But we live in a pretty tony neighborhood (look at us), so chances are the mice in the other houses also have had pedicures.

From the sound of things, I should be taking them about 2 miles. The harbor is about a mile, but the route involves mouse obstacles (ponds, etc) so we're hoping it does the trick. It also seems like a nice place for mice to live. For bonus points, there's a church at the harbor so I think the mice are a tax deduction.

I've been getting some strange looks in the parking lot when I arrive with a mouse to release, so I've taken to driving down the other side - the untouristy side. It's a little scrappier over there. When I go at night, I can't help but think of On the Waterfront.

They are reluctant to get out of the trap, but once they do, they all go running off in the same direction - which makes me worry that I've created a non-indigenous mouse colony where the fishing boats will be. I imagine all the buoys sinking because they've been hollowed out by mice and filled with... whatever it is that mice like that doesn't float. I haven't completely thought this through. When you hear about it on NPR, let me know what it is they put in there.

It has also occurred to me that the distance you need to drive the mouse is less about how far away it needs to go before it decides to relocate, and more about increasing the odds of getting eaten. Now that I think of it, if a mouse shows up with our particular shade of nail polish, we should throw it a party.

Furthermore, I fear that one day we will find ourselves tied up, Gulliver-style, and relocated to the harbor by an angry horde of mice. They were here first and have indigenous rights.

I hope they at least paint our nails.


Anonymous said...

Maybe I sound heartless, but I leave the mice around our house to Babet, the cat who generously lets us use her house as well. I think it´s a sort of natural thing (Babet eating mice, not her letting us share the house).
It also goes for any birds in the neighbourhood, any fish in the neigbour´s pond, any frogs and toads moving about. Babet is not picky on other animals she can hunt.

By the way, Babet doesn´t ask for much. We gladly are her servants. 'Meow' means 'feed me'. 'Meow' means 'open the door'. 'Meow' means 'pet me'. Etcetera.


glenderella said...

We had a mouse in our apartment in Michigan who would JUMP into the garbage can under the sink, and jump back out. We wondered why our cat would sit in the kitchen doorway and stare at the sink, until we encountered the mouse in the garbage one night. There was also a memorable evening of mouse chasing after we had gone to bed (and were mostly unclothed) - I think the cat had the mouse cornered somewhere. Once we got involved, the mouse escaped. You never saw such a dirty look from a cat. THEN we got the humane trap, and took the mouse to the wooded area across the road. Uh huh, we should have painted his little toenails. Eventually we plugged up all of the possible holes under the sink with steel wool and were mouse-free.

Susan said...

George, we have a cat who kills pretty much everything - except the mice inside the house.

Glenderella, you win for "Knitting, crocheting and burning down the kitchen." Nicely put.