Monday 27 November 2023

Our First Night With A Live Trap

    It was in the late summer of 1987 that we started to see the odd mouse (and signs of mice) in our house.  I love wildlife, and like to see them thrive, but not in our house.  I didn’t want to kill mice with a regular mouse trap, so I bought a live trap, similar to the one in the photo, except that our older model didn’t have the “skylight” in the lid.  

    I figured if I caught a mouse in the trap, I would carry the trap (with mouse) out into the woods and free the critter in the morning when I woke up.  However, things didn’t really work out the way I had imagined.

    Before I went to bed, I put a little pile of rolled oats in the trap, closed the lid, and set it beneath a table in the kitchen.  I was just on the verge of falling asleep, when I heard a metal sounding, “Ch, Ch, Ch” sound, then realized that there was already a mouse in the trap.  I figured the sound I had heard was the mouse, realizing it was trapped, scratching on the metal trap trying to get out.  I got out of bed, turned on the kitchen light and peered through the holes at the end of the trap, and did see the little beast.  

    I put on a pair of boots, and carried the trap across our yard, through the gate, down our property line, until I got to our neighbor’s garden, which was surrounded by woods.  Then I lowered the trap to the ground, and opened the lid to free the poor captive.  I expected it to immediately leap out and quickly scamper away, but the mouse seemed to feel more secure hunkered down trying to hide in the trap, so I had to poke at it with my finger before it finally decided to flee.

    I walked back to the house, took off my boots, I checked to see that the mouse hadn’t really eaten many of the oats, so I just closed the lid and set the trap back down, then climbed back in bed.  My outdoor activity with the mouse had interrupted my sleep cycle, so I couldn’t immediately fall back to sleep.  As I was approaching Slumberland, again I heard the “Ch, Ch, Ch” sound of another trapped mouse in the live trap, so once again I got up and repeated all of the actions that I had just gone through with that first mouse.

    It was not a very restful night, because after that second mouse episode, I experienced another three and had to deal with them the same way.  They made too much noise with there scratching, just to let them carry on through the night, until morning.  Those last three happened later in the night, so in addition to carrying the trap and it’s captives, I also had to also carry a flashlight, because it was then dark outside.

    After catching five mice that first night, I realized our mice problem was a bit more serious than I had suspected.  Eventually over several nights, there finally arrived a time when no more mice scratched in the trap, I had caught them all, and I was able to sleep through the night.

    While I was happy not to kill the mice, knowing that they could take their chances in the great outdoors with the owls and coyotes, I did begin to realize that my heroic actions in keeping them alive, did have a personal cost to my sleep.

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