Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Mouse tale

This was years ago.  I was getting the wellies out of the garage for a trip to the caravan.  We kept one set of industrial socks in the wellies in those days, another in the yomping boots.  This mouse had found a nice cosy nesting place, with a plentiful supply of bedding which only required a small amount of shredding, in one of V's Hunters.  I don't know which of us was more surprised, me or the mouse - I'll never forget the expression on its face.  It certainly had the quicker reactions, though.  V was in the kitchen doorway just in time to see it scuttle away under the cooker.

By the time we got to Wales, there'd been some embellishment.
"The place is infested with voles," our friends were informed. 
"Mice, I think," I added sotto voce.
"Voles!"  Her voice dropped.  "It was not a mouse.  It was a vole.  Wasn't it."

When we got back home, there were skirmishes.  I didn't really want to murder the poor little beasties, but I didn't particularly want them crapping underneath the cooker either.  I got some of those humane traps, the ones where the quarry crawls in after the bait and it tips up so it can't get out again, and bought peanut butter specially.  Friends were generous with advice.
"You need to take them quite a long way away.  They have a range of about a quarter of a mile, like wasps."
"Well, why don't the sodding wasps sting the sodding mice to death, or the sodding mice eat the sodding wasps?"  I enquired.  (We had wasps as well at the time.)

Eventually I came down one morning and one of the traps was clattering around.  Aha.  I put it in the boot (not the welly, silly, the car) and drove it up to Prospect Park.  I opened the trap and gave it a shake, and sure enough something dropped out and scarpered into the undergrowth.
What still preys on my mind (though not in my kitchen) is that, as I watched it run, it didn't seem to have a tail.  I hadn't even opened the drawer where I keep the carving knife.  I didn't look inside the trap either.  I threw it into the bushes after the vole and went home.


  1. Humane traps are for wimps, dear heart. A true pioneer catches mice (or voles) in his (or her) bare hand.

  2. I'll remember that tip next time. (I'm obviously a true wimp. But I'd like to see a pioneer get his/her hand under my cooker.)

  3. Broom handle or bamboo cane. Have a cushion ready. Drop over fleeing mouse, reach under cushion, take firm hold. The mouse will bite, but its little teeth hardly pierce the skin, so nothing to worry about.

  4. Sounds like a good party game ...

  5. Having Voles sound so much more Waitrose but mice are really quite Aldi or Morrisons.

  6. I'm also a wimp. Several years ago, when we were living in Cornwall, I set a humane trap and baited it with some pork crackling. Within an hour, the trap was sprung by a small rodent. I ended up yomping across the fields to the rear of our cottage, setting the little fella free, before trashing the trap.

  7. The important thing about using the humane trap is remembering to check it.
    Important for the trapee anyway.

  8. No tail? Did it also have dark glasses and a little white stick?

  9. OK, now can anyone source me an inhumane squirrel trap? Pref with built-in guillotine. The bastards are starving my birds and costing me a fortune in seed.

  10. I've taken note of the party game idea. Thank you.

    Shooting squirrels is a good way to deter them, I find.

  11. I usually use a dustpan and brush.

    We had a mouse in the bathroom, years ago. It ran along the pipes, watched us bathing for a bit and then disappeared. We put down a trap which caught the mouse by one leg. Barney put it outside in the garden. A couple of days later, a mouse limped along the pipes in the bathroom, gave me a dirty look and disappeared.

  12. So I had rats, Rog. What are they? Costco?