Sunday, March 27, 2011

Running the urban trapline

My house in Ottawa had been rented out for the past 7 years, and when I took it back this past month, I found it some of the previous residents were still living there, and had no intention of leaving.

These occupants were very cute, but very tenacious... this house has always attracted the occasional mouse, but I had more than one this time.

I actually like rodents.  If it wasn't for their incontinence, I'm sure we could work something out to their benefit.  Heck, if they'd agree to poop outside, I'd probably even agree to feed them out there.

Rodents, however, are very stubborn, and unreceptive to logic.  They had to go.  Luckily, someone has invented, or at least improved the availability of, some better mousetraps since I was last in the market for them.

I had some luck with these:

I caught five mice with the plastic snap trap shown above.  (I also caught myself several times... the neighbors to my semi-detached house probably wonder why the otherwise quiet lady next door lets out intermittent blood-curdling screams.)  If the mouse chucks himself in head first, it looks like it's an instant kill as well, which is important- I want to exterminate them, but not hurt them.

Unfortunately for both him and me, mouse #5 did not position himself correctly and was not yet deceased when I found him the next morning.  I decided I couldn't do this any more, but was still unwilling to share the house with a still undetermined number of rodent poop factories.  I needed a more certain and just as instant kill.  I found this at the hardware store:

It's electronic.  There is a little maze that they follow to get at the bait (peanut butter... organic even!), and then when they get there they get instantly electrocuted.  I haven't caught any yet.  I haven't seen any trace of new mice, so it's possible that mouse #5 was the last of the current infestation, or that the mice are too smart for this expensive and humane trap I have laid for them.  We'll see.

A friend might lend me a live trap too- I am a bit skeptical about these, as the research I've done indicates that a released mouse will probably just die in the wild, as house mice are treated harshly by wood mice when they try to live outdoors.  So my mice would either be moving into someone else's house, or dying a more natural death at the hands of rodent relatives.  Not a great solution, although I haven't ruled it out.

I also bought four of these:

These are ultrasonic mouse repellant devices- they supposedly emit a loud high-decibel noise that rodents (but not other animals) can hear but can't stand, so once you have them under control, these can be used to repel new occupants, as well as herd existing mice towards traps.

So, we'll see how it goes with these new devices.  I hope it keeps the local mice away, and that they all live long and prosperous lives, with gentle, natural deaths, surrounded by their closest friends and family.

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