Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.



So as I was saying, we shouldn't have congratulated ourselves on getting rid of the feral cats.

Because just weeks after the cats left, the mice arrived. One ran across the floor in the kitchen late one night. It tried to run in an arc but lost its grip on the lino and kind of scrabbled sideways with its rear end out of control like a Mini Cooper in the Monte Carlo rally, before disappearing under the cupboard on the bathroom side of the kitchen.

Next day I was talking to our veterinarian friend down the street - the one who had helped de-feralise the neighbourhood. Mice had invaded her house as well, despite having several - domesticated - cats and dogs in residence. (Her house has a cat cage along the entire side and back so her cats can roam in relative freedom without killing local fauna.) She told me that, despite handling all manner of small animals at work, a mouse running across her floor totally freaks her out.

So there are mice everywhere. Blame it on the drought. Blame everything on the drought. Anyway, I needed a mousetrap.

So I beat a path to the doorway of my local supermarket.

There was one mousetrap left. All the others had been snapped up, which will be my last bad pun for several paragraphs.

Personally, I don’t mind mice. The house I grew up in always had them. In the sixties, Essendon was an outer suburb. There was the aerodrome to the north and a few cream bricks houses to the west and beyond all of that there was scotch thistle and then a volcanic basalt plain and then Mt Macdeon. Plenty of country mice made their way to the city and stopped by at Essendon and feasted on scraps of macaroni bake and Kraft cheddar and Brockhoff Thin Captains and Guests Teddy Bears and Baker Boy bread and Noon pies.

So I felt a bit guilty, especially since Wikipedia states that mice live commensally with humans, meaning kind of together in the same house without acknowledging each other; like when your mother-in-law comes to stay and isn’t saying when she is going again. But then that last thought got me in the mood to setting the trap. So I found an old piece of King Island Blue in the fridge and that went onto the trap and the trap went under the cupboard out of the way of little hands and I went to bed.

Next morning, the cheese was gone and the trap was still set. I depressed the lever. It didn’t spring. The trap hadn't worked. I reset it and checked the mechanism and still it didn’t work and then when I wasn't looking the bastard went off and my fingers were in it and I got mad and threw it in the trash and went to the hardware store and bought another one, a different brand.

Why are things that you really need to work don't, because they're so ludicrously cheap (even though you'd be prepared to pay more than the 68 cents I paid for the mousetrap); while things that don't have an actual function often cost a bomb? I don't know.

We’ll see if the second brand is as bad as the first brand.


jo said...

We get an annual invasion, small in the fall, large in the Spring and the brown rice found around the draining board and in the drawers is usually my clue that they have arrived.
Because I don't want to encounter any mice with their necks snapped off in a trap or find a leg stuck on a glue trap where one had tried to escape, we bought a different kind of trap.
A battery powered, peanut butter baited box. Mousie goes in, a small Zzzzzzzzz sound can sometimes be heard if one is nearby and husband assumes his husbandly role of opening the trap up behind our garage and disposing of the contents.
One would hope that the pile of bones and little skulls behind our garage would be a deterrent to all other mice, a sort of warning of what lies within...but alas, they still come.
The trap though I can highly recommend.

Terry Oglesby said...

Peanut butter does work better than cheese, because the meeces can't just grab it and go, they have to sit there and try to eat it and it's more likely they'll trigger the trap. If it's not defective.

We've had to battle mice before, and we've tried everything. The thing that has worked best are glue traps along with a child- and pet-safe corn-oil based rodenticide. There are several brands available here in the States, but I'm certain there's something like it down there. Apparently pretty nasty stuff for mice and rats. I figure what the glue traps don't get the corn-oil will. As I said, so far it's worked well. After we got rid of the initial invasion (and cleaned out the garage) we haven't seen any more in the house.

Anonymous said...

from Steevil:

Baltimore mice can get peanut butter off traps without setting them off. I've found that a combination of flour&water paste with peanut butter sets up hard enough so that their gnawing triggers the trap.

How'bout Marmite?

Anonymous said...

from Steevil again:

Whoops! Shoulda been Vegomite!

kitchen hand said...

Jo, they had ones like that in the supermarket but at one mouse per trap times seventeen thousand mice (slight exaggeration) it could have gotten expensive.

Terry, I'll try peanut butter - crunchy or smooth? If that doesn't work, I'll try setting up William's red owl in an intimidating position in the kitchen ...

... unless they are Baltimore-standard peanut butter-removing mice, in which case I will go one better than Steevil and add actual concrete cement to the peanut butter.

Steevil, no-one's getting their hands - or teeth - on my Vegemite. (I did cross to the dark side once and tried Marmite. It was OK.)