Friday, December 03, 2004

Rodent blog.

A field mouse took up residence in our minivan not long ago. We knew that because he left behind his dung, or spoor, or whatever rodent turds are called, mostly near Ann’s car seat. Which sealed his fate. Mouse turds I might ignore in various places, maybe an obscure corner of the garage, but not near my baby daughter.

How it got into the car, I’m not sure. Climbed up the wheel and into some impossibly small hole that leads to the passenger compartment, maybe. Our kids are less than fastidious when it comes to eating in the car, so that must have provided its food, though I can’t say where the mouse found water. From other evidence, it looked like it spent most of its time burrowed in the cushy foam of the middle car seat. Food, warmth: such simple needs. I prepared a simple death for the creature.

Rather than put out some poison, or a snapping trap, either of which little hands might want to touch, I first set a couple of sticky traps. These are cruel devices, set for the purpose of immobilizing the rodent till it dies of shock or dehydration or something. But wherever I entertain such PETAish thoughts, I remember that we’re talking about disease-carrying, crop-eating vermin. Besides, that kind of trap worked pretty well on the mice that invaded our basement in Westmont.

This mouse was made of stronger stuff. The next morning I found the sticky trap had been moved around, and some grey fur stuck to it, but no dead mouse. Plan B involved an actual snapping mouse trap, not the traditional kind of Tom and Jerry cartoons, but a plastic setup that snaps with ruthless efficiency—and placed far enough under the seat to keep Ann’s busy hands away, I hoped. We’d used that kind of trap in Westmont, too, on the little buggers that invaded the attic (it sounds we had mice all the time in Westmont, but we really had only two invasions in five years).

The next morning, there he was, his little skull dashed against the hard plastic reality of human technology. I haven’t ruled out a visit from his cousins, or maybe from unrelated field mice on the loose. But so far no more spoor.


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