Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hopeless cause

I got up this morning to find one of our mouse traps had been tripped. Strangely one of them was in the middle of the kitchen floor. I wasn't sure why, as we have had them on either side of the fridge for weeks with no takers (which was quite a relief). I remember seeing them both last night and thinking it was time to get rid of them as it was clear we do not have a mouse problem.

I wondered if Alex, home from college and a summer mission trip, saw them and decided to set one out, or if he or my husband, Steve, had seen a mouse last night and reset the traps.

In any case, I was upset because they had gotten up and left me with a dead mouse to take care of. I don't do rodents and I don't do dead. If it were up to me, we would simply have safe traps and I would release them far out in unpopulated fields. The deal has always been that if you use these kid of traps I won't argue, but you check them and get rid of the evidence before I can see it.

I didn't want to traipse around the thing all day, so I approached the trap to try to release the corpse for an ignominious burial in the trash. The instant I touched the trap it began to move. I shrieked and jumped halfway across the room as the critter dance the trap around in a wild circle with his back feet.

I know I should have clobbered him (or her, how can you tell?) but I couldn't do it, it was struggling so to survive. I decided that if this little guy would fight so for his life that I would release him outside and give him a chance, slight though it might be. I carefully approached the trapped mouse with a small stack of papers rescued from the trash to use to carefully sweep the mouse, trap and all into my red smiley face dustpan. He struggled a bit, but it was fairly easy. Grabbing a table knife to use to release the bar holding him in the trap, I carried him to the back yard. I released him near the woodpile, so he would have a place to hide either to recover or to die.

Surprisingly, he did not head for the woodpile, but made a very small journey, inches only, in the opposite direction. Still thinking that not providing him a swift death was probably the cruel thing to do, I could not help but feel pity for this creature struggling to live. I put a few peanuts near him and then went to view him from above on the deck.

When I checked him a few minutes later he had gotten himself into a small depression in the dirt about the size of a mango. "Poor thing." I thought. "There is no way you are going to be able to get out of there, injured as you are." I figured what I had done is probably just left him there as easy prey for a bird passing overhead. I sighed and went inside.

I could not stay away, but checked on him about ten minutes later. The hole was empty. Sure he had been lunch, I was surprised to find him a few inches to the side of the hole. Sadly, he was clearly dead, so I went to toss the body. Surprise, he moved.

Okay. That's enough. I grabbed a shoe box, lined with shredded newspaper and placed him inside, pulling some newspaper over him to give him the feeling of protection. Then I placed a cap full of water and a few peanuts in the box. He just lay there, so I dripped a couple of drops of water over his mouth. He greedily drank them down, so I gave him some more.

I don't know if the poor thing can or should survive, but last I checked he was still holding his own, unlike his poor buddy I found in the other trap.

Mice don't belong in the house, unless they are in a cage or in a children's storybook, but I can't stand these traps. If he survives, how am I going to keep him out of the house? Will he survive only to be left in the middle of some vacant field out in the country? Time will tell.

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