I wrote this article a good ten years ago. And now, after catching another NINE mice in our garage (not all at once I have to say), I thought it might be a good time to publish it…
If you happen to be driving through the quiet lanes of north Roscommon and you spot a mouse trying to hitch a lift, please ignore him. Even if he’s in smart shorts and t-shirt and looks like Stuart Little, harden your heart and look the other way. It’ll be one of ours trying to get back home after I’ve evicted him for unreasonable behaviour at four in the morning and I really don’t want him back.
When we first moved into our house, we discovered that mice had eaten their way into a sofa stored for a few months in the garage. We’re of the ‘live and let live’ persuasion (although I draw the line at fleas, nits and tapeworms), so we weren’t worried about the tell-tale evidence of rodent incontinence.
We were philosophical. Sure, it was only a field mouse come in from the cold, who could blame him? It was an old sofa anyway. And what mouse couldn’t resist my son’s collection of crisp packets and sweet wrappers stuffed down the sides of the cushions? The poor little mouse would surely be gone by the time we moved into the house. Ha!
Attempts to buy a humane mouse trap (bet you didn’t know there was such a thing) were met with snorts of derision from local shopkeepers. So we devised home-made contraptions that anyone of a certain age and Blue Peter inclination would have been proud of. They captured the creature, but they weren’t escape-proof. Mr. Mouse would eat his bait of raisins and biscuits, sit and wash his whiskers appreciatively, then proceed to wriggle free.
I know what you’re thinking: get a cat. Actually we have three cats, but each of them was a tad too full of Felix meaty chunks to be useful here. Worse, they saw an invitation to go house mousing as an opportunity to sleep on a comfortable bed for the night, stretched out in the lap of luxury, oblivious to nocturnal rustlings in the cupboards.
Then, just as I was considering grisly deeds involving spikes or poison, we discovered probably the only humane mouse trap in the county, and we snapped it up (to coin a phrase). A lure of peanut butter proved successful and the trap snapped shut with Mr Mouse inside, whole and un-spiked, if a little loose-bowelled. But what to do with him? I couldn’t bring myself to throw him to the cats, what with him being such a soft target and covered in peanut butter.
So we chose to relocate him in a distant derelict cottage, at least a week’s hike away. If the stoat or the owl had him for breakfast, well that’s part of the great scheme of things – the circle of life (yes, I’ve seen that film. No mice in it). But at least he’d have a sporting chance.
I’m happy to report that it took only four nocturnal car trips down the road to rid our house of mice, but mouseless we now are. And I’d like to keep it that way, so as I said, please don’t go listening to any sob story from Mr Mouse and whatever you do, don’t offer him a lift home!