Kate and I both moved to the country, in part, because of a love for animals, so it’s kind of ironic to double-post about removing them. But thus is a part of life out here.
I don’t think I ever kill a mouse without thinking about the Robert Burns poem To a Mouse… – but not in a poetic way. Translated, it is Burns’ true account of the pain he felt upon turning over a mouse nests with his plow – knowing the little thing would perish as a result.
After two years out here – I’m not sure I understand his heartache. Mice, like coons, earn a lot of cuteness points, but in practice, – they’re little bastards. They’ve ruined the CD player and dash lights in one car, nearly ruined the lawnmower and that’s nothing compared to what they do in the house.
There are many reasons our house has a problem with mice – which I’ll detail in a later post, but the biggest contributor is simply the location in a rural area that backs up to woods. If you have similar property, I’ll present to you the best thing you’ll ever build.
You can put water in the bottom to drown them, but they also die quickly of hypothermia. And I mean quick, even without the water they’re usually dead by the next evening when I check it. However, if you’ve the heart of Mr. Burns, you can get to them early and release them a distance from your house. I imagine they’ll be hawk food a short time later or die from the elements – but if it helps you sleep, go for it!
The design is obvious and simple. Take a 5-gallon bucket and drill two holes across from one another on the top of it. Clip a coat hanger longer than the diameter and place a can on it. A soup can, pop can, beer can – anything works. I chose beer so I could drink it first. Place it through the coat hanger and then thread the hanger through the holes, bend down the excess and you’re basically done.
The last thing to do is add ramps, which I did with some scrap wood. I screwed them in, but I imagine you could just lean them up against the side and they’d work fine. To bait the trap, just smear peanut butter on it. Go all the way around or else the can doesn’t spin correctly.
In the basement and the attic I’ve had upwards of five a day in this trap, after which mouse activity in the house drops off substantially. As with the coons, it’s true the most humane way to deal with them would be to prevent them from ever entering your house. Comfortably allowing all to live and let live. But considering mice can get through a penny-size hole with ease, it’s unlikely you’ll ever mouse-proof your house, especially if it’s 110-years old.
While I consider snap traps to be the most humane option, I’m limited where I can place them with our indoor pets and found that the mice often grow trap wise. My most recent minefield of traps in the basement were all licked clean without one rodent in the trap.
We do have two more weapons that help with the mice problem:
In the picture Kale has the kill, but Plum is the true mouser. After she catches them Kale usually takes over and Plum is too cool to give a shit (as you can tell in the photo). She just let’s her take the credit and climbs back on the cat tree while the true game of “cat and mouse” begins.
What sucks, is sometimes Kale loses it again or loses interest herself before it’s “all the way dead.”
So, the best methods for getting rid of mice
- Bucket Trap -A must have
- Cats – Fairly effective when mice leave the walls and ceiling
- Traditional Snap Trap – Just the good old wooden ones. If you get them in the right spot, they work pretty well.