As anyone who has read my cats (they are just waiting for their owners to die so they can eat their kidneys) blog will know – I am not quite at one with nature. So the (v amusing) yelp of fear that came out of my husband the other night when he saw a mouse did not fill me with joy. It was wandering around the kitchen floor and appearing to have a one mouse party in the kitchen detritus that is fermenting under our fridge.
I am not the most confident person around small animals – rodents in general are just a bit scampery and toothy. I like animals when heightwise they comfortably come over my knee, they just seem more predictable somehow. As I’ve also banged on about before, I have bit of a thing against monkeys as well. It’s the small hands – I can always imagine them scrabbling into my room at night to strangle me in my sleep. What really no one else?
So what do you do when you have a mouse – obviously Google! And it would appear there are many options of mouse removal. But not all of them work with kids.
- Poison – Not an option for us. Not only because of the children who will eat anything, literally anything. I worry about owls eating the dead mice and also dying (I realise this is a stretch in South West London). Plus if they die in your walls they stink for days.
- Mouse traps – We have nowhere safe to put them as the gap under the fridge is too small. And though mice like cheese so do both my toddlers. Plus I’m not that keen on the idea of disposing of a dead mouse or indeed having to despatch an injured one. I have lived this long without killing anything larger than a mosquito and I hope to continue to do so.
- Sonic repellers – Heard v good things from friends about these but reviews online are a bit patchy. Bit of a risk for something that’s quite expensive.
- Humane traps – we went for these and chose these ones from Rentokill. Designed like a little box with a lid that closes when they tip the balance of the box.
The first night it tripped but no mouse. The next morning it had tripped again. Now my big learning about this whole affair – is that though mice are obviously really small, like really, really, really small – they appear to weigh nothing at all. They also make no noise or even move despite being picked up and wiggled around. I know this because both my husband and I picked up the box to check it this morning we both did not realise there was a mouse inside. This meant that when I decided to reset it with both my kids in the kitchen it was quite a surprise when a mouse covered in what can only be described as its own urine and excrement leapt out of it at waist height and scampered across the worktop.
The oldest child thought this was the most exciting thing to have ever happened to him. The littlest went absolutely ballistic. The mouse did what I want to do in the face of toddler tantrums and hid in the smallest darkest place there is – behind the radio in the corner of the worktop. There are not many things in my life I’m completely proud of (children aside who are obv just perfect enough without being irritatingly so), but my actions in the face of what will now forever be known as ‘Mouse Crisis’ were genuinely fucking awesome.
Step one – Remove extremely emotional children to a chair off the floor.
Step two – Grab a towel (previous google research had indicated a towel thrown on a mouse will keep it still and then you can place a suitable mouse trapping vessel over it) and have the towel to one side while you..
Step three – Create funnel of things within grabbing distance creating a path back into the trap. Wiggle something in at the other end of the radio until they run back into the trap.
Step four – Have congratulatory dance of joy with older toddler whilst simultaneously comforting still sobbing ‘ma-ha-ha-ouuuuse’ small toddler.
Step five – Pack up family in car go to local park. Find a rough(ish) area. Arrange children a safe distance away and then let it run free. Do not release it into your garden – I am not a naturalist but I’d give a fair stab that that’s where it came from in the first place.
Step six – Remove mouse excrement from kitchen.
Yes I grant you that a mouse in unfamiliar territory, covered in its own fragrant combination of urine, poo and peanut butter (bait) will probably last about two minutes. But it will at least be two minutes with the scent of wilderness (oh ok and urine, poo and peanut butter) in its nostrils.
I have surprised myself by how I dealt with everything. In the past my considered response to that situation would have been a fair amount of shrieking, calling for back up and letting the mouse run off while I ran in the other direction. But that’s one of the good thing about kids is that they push you to be stronger and braver than you really are. And the best thing about it, the thing that makes me really happy is that my children now basically see me like this..