Friday, January 14, 2011

135/365 Mouse in the house

I've reached a milestone that I didn't realize existed: I've encountered my first mouse inside the house.

I'd rather have continued living in peace without reaching this milestone, but I suppose it's bound to happen, right?

I found the evidence first in the drawer under my oven where I store baking pans, of all places. I went to pull out a baking sheet and found scraps of shredded paper towel that I knew hadn't been there a few days earlier!

So, after a thorough washing of all those pans, the hunt was on! First task: buy traps. I chose the old-fashioned spring-trap method primarily because I didn't want it to eat poison then curl up and die somewhere where I couldn't remove it -- which inevitably would have made the entire house smell for days. Yuck.

Bait: peanut butter.

I set two traps to start, hoping that I was hunting just one mouse and not multiples. [I know from personal experience, having had pet mice as a kid, that when girl mouse meets boy mouse and they fall in love, babies come by the dozen -- and very quickly!]

After the first night, I checked the traps and soon learned that I had a crafty mouse on my hands: the traps were licked clean, peanut butter gone, and the traps still set.

Darn it!

I reloaded the bait, set a third trap, went to work, and found a repeat of the same scene when I got home. Three clean traps, all still set.

Darn it again!

This continued through the next morning. At this point, I felt as though I was just giving the mouse a nice meal of high-quality protein. What I hoped was that he'd start getting sloppy. Get lazy, don't be so careful, and be a little less gentle when prying that peanut butter off the bait paddle. After work on the third day, I stopped at Lowe's and got two new kinds of traps. Perhaps it just required a different weapon? Perhaps my cheap traps from Dollar General weren't sensitive enough?

What happened next was exactly what I expected: I got home from my Lowe's run, and wouldn't you know it but one of my original traps had finally worked. He got sloppy. Success!

I've left some baited traps set in the kitchen just to make sure there wasn't more than one, and the coast looks clear. I now have seven mouse traps -- of three different designs -- ready to go for the next time.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/4 at ISO 320

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