Our Mice Go to Disney World, How About Yours?

My wife is a gentle soul and in some other world I’m sure she was a Buddhist with utmost respect for life. Insects, rodents, spiders, and other creatures finding their way into our home don’t get sprayed, batted, or stepped on. They get gently enclosed in a piece of tissue paper and taken on a trip to the outdoors where nature intended them to live out their lives.

She especially has a fondness for anything furry. Living in the country we have occasional infestations of field mice. Couple of decades ago, during one such invasion, she purchased a humane mechanical mouse trap. This was a metal box divided into two sections. One contained a tunnel or tube where there was a spring wound paddle wheel and a trigger device on which one spread some peanut butter. A mouse would enter the tunnel seeking the PB and when it tripped a trigger the paddle would swoop around and gently toss the mouse into the other half which was a holding area.

Every morning she would go to the basement, check the contents of the holding room and if it contained any overnight guests she’d carry the trap up the driveway and release its contents into the neighbor’s corn field.

This went on for long enough that I became convinced the damned mice were gleefully following her back down the driveway wanting more. I remain convinced they saw this trap as a kind of thrill ride at Disney World and couldn’t wait to get back in line for another airborne toss by the whirling paddle.

Over the years the trap got a little rusty and quitting working properly so we tried several other brands. None worked as well as the first but we’ve been able to keep the population mainly in check.

One exception was a flying squirrel that took up residence under the kitchen cabinets one winter. We would hear noises coming from the kitchen in the evening and would occasionally catch a glimpse of movement when walking into the room. Janet though it was a flying squirrel and not a mouse but it was sometime before we finally got a good look at it. It was a squirrel and as soon as it heard or saw us would run under the apron of the cabinets and disappear. We’ve had flying squirrels living in the walls of our home before and decided to just let this one do its thing. So every evening Janet would set out a little lettuce or a couple of baby carrots for our house guest. Come spring nature took its course and the squirrel went looking for its own kind. We keep checking the mail for a thank you note but nothing so far.

This respect for life extends to my daughters as well. Recently one of them frantically called her mom wanting her to drop a humane mouse trap at her place of employment. Someone in an adjoining office had reported a mouse problem to the maintenance department and they were scheduled to show up and bait the area with poison. The kid wanted to get there first with her mom’s trap and get the furry little buggers out of the building before the big ugly maintenance man arrived.

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