Nut Job

Published August 11, 2012 by Sandee

I bought a “humane” mouse trap a couple of weeks ago, a metal box with holes on either side and a handle.  You slide the top open to put food in.   The mouse goes in and triggers a mechanism that traps him.  For each of the three days prior to my purchase three baby mice visited.  I trapped each of them in a shoe box and let them loose in the woods.  Years ago I trapped a mouse on a glue trap.  He was on there bleeding, squeaking — I cried all day, swearing never to kill another mouse.  The next one who came I fed.

After that third baby mouse a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to get the trap, I didn’t see any more.  The contraption made me  nervous.  I feared hearing the clacking noise caused by the mouse getting trapped inside.  I checked, peering into the holes every day — or I’d kick it.  Days went by and and no mice.

Last night at 4am I heard skittering, clacking, scraping.  It was a mouse in the box.  It frantically scratched, scraped and clacked, desperately trying to get out.  I let it go on.  I wasn’t going to the woods at 4am to let it out.  It disturbed me emotionally so when I slept, I dreamed of holding the mousetrap, a larger version, with a dog inside, frantically butting at the top of the box.  I could see its head.  I was on the train taking it somewhere to release it.   There was another dream with two mice and some other kind of creature in the box.

I woke up preparing to free the mouse.  I sank inside, thinking of it in that small space with the bits of bread with peanut butter I had put in there.  (I tear up typing this part.)  He was hungry, so it was a logical place for him to be.  He had no idea he’d be trapped.  I shook the box lightly to make sure he was in there.  He poked his nose into one of the holes.  He was in there.

Across the street I placed the metal box on the dirt, turned the box sideways and slid the top off.  After a couple of seconds, I  told it to go, go, be free, run.  Finally it scampered up the hill through the dirt, its tail trailing behind.  I breathed out and headed back, thinking that the trap was not humane at all as the thing is in there terrified.

Should I just let the little bastards run around here until they die in the walls or find their way to another apartment?  After work I came home and looked out the window at the woods.  Where is the mouse now, I wondered.  What is he eating?

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42 comments on “Nut Job

    • Haha! My coworker said I should tag its ear so I could see if it’s the same one coming back.

      Yeah the mouse that I let go tells its brethren, that’s a nice lady up there. she gives out peanut butter samiches, then lets us go running free in the woods!

  • I’m sure he found some nice edible plants to chow down on. While I know it had to be awful to let him stay in there so long, you did the right thing. Mice deserve to live, and you gave that one a chance. Remember, if they keep living in your building, eventually someone not as humane is going to come in and kill them.

    Of course, there’s thousands of them around all of us all the time. We just don’t see the sneaky little suckers most of the time.

    • I couldn’t remember whether they’re omnivores or canivores, or whatever.

      My feelings for mice is making me wonder about other animals — should I eat them — at this late age I wondered yesterday if I should be a vegetarian or a vegan — bah!

      They are all around. It’s funny because I didn’t see any here for the first eight or nine years. But every so often I’d smell dead ones in the walls. Maybe they’re appearing now because they know I’m an ally — haha!

  • My grandfather has always lived in “the city” so he hasn’t really come face to face with too many mice. I think it was around the time that I graduated from High School that he and my grandmother came to visit us. We lived out in the country, sort of in a farm house. Well, we were all sitting there eating dinner one day, and a mouse came out and kind of just stopped on the counter top in the kitchen. My mom flipped out, as she usually does, but my grandfathers reaction was priceless. If I remember right it went something like this. “Aww, look at the little mouse. He’s so cute. You want to play? Aww, you’re just hungry, aren’t you?” It’s funny how you can live in the country and take stuff like this for granted.

  • I grew up in the woods… we always had mice in the walls, the attic etc…. while I find it disconcerting to find their droppings where I cook my food… (thank fully this hasn’t happened in a long while)

    I try very hard to let them go on co-existing with me and the Howler…. I think they are cute… ~shrug~

    You did a good thing letting them go in the woods… they will have plenty to eat there 🙂

    • I know how you feel! While I think they’re cute, I don’t want them just hanging out in my apartment either. There are these poisoned pellets that kill them, but then they die in the walls or where ever, swell up and smell up your house!

  • Honestly Sandee, I have let a rat run around in my house because I couldn’t stand the thought of hurting or scaring him. He was no bother. Sometimes while me and the kids would be watching TV, we would see him scurry under the stove or something. I never saw droppings or anything. Eventually, he must have just moved on. I guess that is a bit insane. I had (my daughter took him to her house) a “Fancy” (bred to be domestic) rat for a while that my daughter had bought. He was full of personality as much as a cat or dog is. They are precious animals too. I understand your feelings completely.

  • Dear Sandee,
    You know what? It’s weird that you posted this. Yesterday, on the interestate I passed a large truck full of turkeys. One of them had stuck it’s head out the side, and as I looked closer, I could see it was dead. The same thing happened one day as my daughter and I were driving down the same interestate…except this time it was baby pigs. O Sandee. They were adorable.

    My family eats meat. But, my daughter was nearly in tears after seeing those pigs. We live in South Dakota, you know? It’s not uncommon to see this, but it hurts me down to my soul.

    I don’t have a solution, but I keep praying for one. To me, the mouse in your house, is no different than the tukey stuffed in a truck. We are all one. Some of us can feel that…others harden their hearts.

    I love your soft heart.

    Love, Lis
    xoxoxo

    • I tell you Lisa, I wondered if I should stop eating meat because of my feelings about this little creature. I thought, if I feel this way about a mouse, imagine what cows, chickens and pigs go through. Baby pigs are the cutest things.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and for appreciating my soft heart! Maybe I need to harden it a little — just kidding! I’ll continue being who I am I suppose…

  • You did great, Sandee! The little one got fed and then released with a full belly to seek out its adventures! Keep the humane trap – even though the little creatures are confused and frightened while in there, it’s for a relatively short time.

    My husband became a vegetarian when he was eight years old. He went on a salt delivery with his dad who was a truck driver. When they arrived at the stockyards and he heard the mournful cry of the animals there, he gave up eating any kind of meat. We do our best in our house not to contribute to the misery of living creatures.

    Also, I’m loving the cake pictures! xoxoM

  • Oh these ethical dilemmas. They trouble me every day! In a perfect world I think every living thing would be equal and could live where it wanted.
    I think the box, although causing distress, is a good short term solution when the other option is to be dead. The mouse probably forgot about being locked up soon after it was released. I’m glad you let it go, I would’ve been sad if it had gone to mouse heaven xox

  • field mice are very common in my area as well. You are a kind soft soul. I hate hearing them in the walls.. my husband runs around trying to fill every darn hole in our very old house. It is funny– our house looks like shit because he doesn’t care HOW the holes look from the outside.. he sprays the expandable filler stuff in the foundation. Our house looks like it is melting and oozing disgusting orange stuff. he drives me nuts. BUT no mice and no killing

    • I wonder if that expandable filler substance your husband uses would work for the holes in this apartment, in the closets and under the sinks. My ex always said to use, interesting, steel wool with glass in it. It’s great I’ve gotten so many ideas and so much support from this post! Thanks!

  • You are a good person. Someone who is related to me (I won’t say who or how) has been known drown kittens in a bathtub. It’s horrific. Don’t be that person. Keep doing what you’re doing.

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