Monday, April 07, 2008


Amynah and I have a houseguest. This, in itself, is not unusual, as we’ve had houseguests every two months on average, since our arrival. On the other hand, most of our houseguests have been invited. And bipedal.

Our current guest is smaller, by a considerable margin, than any of our previous guests. We are assuming it is a mouse, though as we’ve yet to lay eyes on the critter we can’t say for certain. Given that we live on the fifth floor, it may be some native-to-France mouse-monkey hybrid that scaled the outside wall of our building and burrowed through the walls in order to raid my only-from-Canada stores of peanut butter.

The mouse has been making its presence felt for a while now, but, as with all unpleasant household chores , we ignored it for as long as possible, electing to pretend that the scrabbling we heard behind our bedroom wall was merely the sounds of the rodent on his way to visiting other apartments, not attempting to gain entry to ours.

Our delusion was spoiled, this weekend, when we returned from a movie to discover that the mouse had gained entry to our sanctuary, and shat on our bed. It was hard not to feel that there was some malice behind this.

In any case, despite being known in rodent circles as The White-Coated She Goddess of Destruction, Amynah was remarkably shaken by our fecal friend’s visit and so, the next day, we ventured forth to arm ourselves against his trespasses.

Sadly, while I’d have been happy to buy some variety of humane trap, our local hyper-marché only sold poison.* Desperate, we bought it, and now our apartment is replete with a proliferation of paper plates bearing pink poison.

It’s now been two days, none of the “rat cereal” (as our store receipt called it) has been touched, and it still sounds like there’s a pint-sized turnpike behind our walls. The Goddess of Destruction is sleeping in the living room, and I find myself sitting on my bed in the dark, clutching a frying pan, staring at the baseboards.

There's been no sign of him near our food, with is a relief, though disquieting. What is it living on? Is it some kind of zombie mouse, gnawing through insulation and plaster in order to unleash its wrath on his human overlords?

* The attendant refused to tell us where in France we might purchase a regular trap, or any other kind, on the grounds that he’d be giving business to the competition. If you aren’t selling the product, how are they competition?


Shannon said...

WE lived with mice at the place we used to rent. One day I opened the garbage, and it was sitting on top munching away. Our landlord brought in the poison stuff too. It also had something in it that made the carcass not stink when the mouse died. Who knows how many non-stinky mouse skeletons were in the walls, as we're sure we weren't the first tenants to have seen a mouse.

Travis said...

Two cats, you'd think we'd have no problem with mice, right? The last time the little fellows showed up, they watched it scamper around the furniture and then went back to sleep. Once we hadn't fed them for three days they came round, though.

Travis said...

PETA members: Mark has never performed any of the below procedures or encouraged me to do so.

Ways in which I have inflicted death on mice:

1) Cervical dislocation: that is, popping their heads off their spines. Practice mice used in this technique often end up losing their tails the first pass. With practice this can be done without drugging the mouse first.
2) Cardiac puncture: heavily doped-up mice have their abdomens opened, and a needle is carefully inserted into the still-beating heart. Done properly, you get a nice quick 2-3mL gush of blood. Properly or improperly, they must be cervically dislocated afterwards.
3) Frying pan, applied twice at high velocity.
4) High-speed impact: once a mouse I was handling bit me, and my resulting spazz slammed it into the table. I thought it was just stunned, but the next morning it was obvious it had sustained serious injuries and I had it culled (see #5). I felt really bad about this one.
5) Inserting a file card marked "CULL" into the cage card holders of many, many mice. (They ended up being gassed with CO2.)

1, 2 and 5 are considered humane means of ending a mouse's life, my subtle implications to the contrary notwithstanding.

Mark Reynolds said...

Shannon: that's my concern as well - the mouse doesn't seem to have any interest in the poison, but it is still trying to get into our room, chewing though the makeshift plug I used to block his entry point. I'm hoping he'll get tired and move on.

Travis1): We had rats in our garage, years ago. Scout would jump up on his bed and yelp at them until I came out to shoo them away. Fierce creature, he was.

Travis 2): I wandered into Amynah's lab once when she was performing a procedure similar to (2). I learned to never look into that corner of her lab again. I'm too gentle a soul for science.

carol said...

I went for catch and release. We had a mouse in our apartment in St. Catharines. I discovered this one night when Pneumie shot across the room after it (surprising, eh, Travis? And this was before he was put on his diabetic diet!). Unfortunately, Pneumie chased him into my bedroom closet, and I could not find him... By luck I heard a clang later that night when he ended up getting into the tub and couldn't get out, at which point I captured him in a Tupperware container and took him outside, walked for a few blocks and let him go, along with the container. Afterward I read up on mouse-proofing and found that you should find any holes along your baseboards (behind the stove being a favourite place) and stuff steel wool into them. Apparently it's one of the few things mice won't chew through. We never had another rodentious visitor, other than our landlord.

shannon said...

Adam once caught a mouse in a tupperware container too. He tried to release it humanely, but instead of tossing it over the back fence, he tossed it into the fence. Perhaps at a bit higher speed than a toss...

Victor said...

In case the mice come back, here is the method my uncle swears by for de-mousing his cottage.

Bend a wire coat-hanger straight. Use it to impale an aluminum pop or beer can through the top and bottom. Wiggle the can a bit so that it (the cylinder) is free to spin. Decorate the outside of the cylinder with a tiny bit of peanut butter to lure the mice. Use the coat-hanger-wire to suspend the can over an open toilet. The mouse will jump or walk onto the can to get the peanut butter and then slip into the toilet. My uncle and aunt then just flush that mouse right out of their lair. However, given the vagaries of your toilet gods you may wish to consider an alternate disposal method.