Of Mice and Men*

So…which do you think is worse: finding an empty mousetrap, or one which has done what it was designed to do?

It probably depends on whether you’re viewing the situation with or without a Y chromosome. I was glad to see that little mousy corpse splayed out under the sink this morning, while MLB was disgusted. To me, the successful baiting (a piece of dog food secured with a blob of peanut butter [Jif extra crunchy, if you must know]) and planting of the trap reinforced my status as the hunter-protector of the household, although perhaps in MLB’s eyes, I should never have allowed the verminary presence in our home to begin with. But she didn’t dare say anything, because there still remained the Disposal Of The Body.

Face it, women are endowed by their Creator with the ability to do certain things that men can’t fathom, like seeing dirty socks on the floor, for example. Tossing dead rodents isn’t one of those things, generally speaking.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t really looking forward to it myself. I briefly contemplated whether I could rent a hazmat suit for the occasion, but decided that the plague was probably easily combated by the avoidance of mouth-breathing during the disposal.

And, as I held the little dead guy over the trash, I felt a little tinge of emotion, and a song popped into my head, unbidden, that seemed to capture the full schadenfreude of the situation:

“Hey, Mickey, you’re so pretty
Don’t you understand…
You take me by the heart
When you take me by the hand?”

And I saw very clearly an image of Toni Basil prancing about in that cute little cheerleader’s outfit, pigtails waving in time to the dead mouse’s tail that I was unconsciously dancing over the trashcan…

Ahem. That’s not really the point, is it? The point is, we’ve rid ourselves of one bad guy, and I’ve set a second trap just to make sure he didn’t bring a second. I can’t wait to peek under the sink in the morning.

[*Oh, don’t you claim that you wouldn’t have stooped to the same title in a similar circumstance. I know you better than that!]

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  1. Grandpa always said ‘they travel in pairs’. I recently stepped on a dead one as I was walking thru the garage on my way to the truck one morning. Luckly I hadn’t had any coffee which null and voided the ‘YUK’ factor.
    BTW – The dog caught the other one. Is Abbye a mouser??

  2. Thank goodness for that! Some dogs are almost as bad as cats in eating things they shouldn’t.
    If you experience any future twinges of guilt they should be easily dispelled by recalling the hazards Mickey & Friends pose.
    I don’t just mean health hazards either. Rats and mice have tons of charming qualities! Here’s some Fun Science Facts to brighten your day.
    Interestingly, from your posts on the subject, the food left in Abbye’s bowl overnight might have encouraged to the initial infestation.

  3. Well, this guy was wearing little short pants with suspenders, and had these goofy gloves.
    I’m sure Abbye’s food held some attraction, but the six foot wide hole in the wall of our house was probably all the invitation the little vermin needed.
    “Guilt” is not a feeling that’s at all relevant to this episode. There’s no redeeming social value anywhere to be found in this particular variety of mouse, and I won’t stop until they’re all dead. Dead, I tell you…DEAD!
    (Or at least annoyed to the point where they move next door.)

  4. I had a similar experience with a young robin last week. As I sat for dawn-time coffee and devotion I noticed the little one hopping in the grass, periodically checked on by one or the other parent robin. Leaving nature to itself I went my (selfish?) way. Later that evening I found the corpse of the young robin as I watered flower pots. It lay about 12 feet from where it had been seen early in the morning. I picked it up by the tiny feet to carry it around to the dumpster, feeling partly guilty for not trying to rescue it when first seen, and partly disgusted for having to deal with the carion-trash. A thorough washing of hands and forearms was the next act, followed soon by supper and forgetting the whole tragic affair. Until I read about your mouse kill. House management can be a nasty thing, eh?

  5. Rob, you’ve touched on a particularly tricky subject…the rescue of Really Stupid Animals. Birds make up the majority of the inhabitants of this category, owing primarily to their illogical criteria for picking out nesting locations. Dove, in particular, have no common sense in this area.
    But, whether they’re stupid or just victims of circumstances, the question remains: how do you rescue a young bird? I wouldn’t know the first thing about taking care of it. We once had a local bird rescue/rehabilitation endeavor, but it was found to be in violation of most of the zoning ordinances in town and was forced to go elsewhere. It’s just easier to let nature take its course; if the bird makes it, then it will perhaps strengthen the gene pool.

  6. “the question remains: how do you rescue a young bird?”
    That depends on how young the bird is. It can be done. I know that for a fact because I’ve done it myself. I was still in high school at the time, no less! A lot of the young birds found walking around aren’t actually injured. They usually tried flying a little too soon, sort of fluttered down, and are now earthbound.
    In my neighborhood that means they’re going to end up as a cat “toy” before the day is over. The cats in the neighborhood are all well-fed domestic pets which means all they’re going to do is torture the bird for the whole afternoon and then kill it. Horrible, sadistic, wicked little creatures.
    To be honest, I didn’t know that much about taking care of birds myself. But, considering the ugly fate the local cat population would love to inflict, I tried to give the bird a better chance. So, I got a pair of heavy work gloves to protect myself and the bird, scooted after the bird and very gently picked it up. I brought the bird into the garage and put it into a very large cardboard box. I added in a dish of bread, a small bowl of water, and a whole bunch of clean, soft rags.
    Now, I knew the bird wasn’t going to get any exercise in a cardboard box. Every day when I came home from school, I took the bird out and sort-of walked it around the back yard for an hour or so. Granted, the bird was still scared of me and would run as fast as it could away. Even better, it started trying to fly away, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
    After about a week of this, the bird was taking these huge, flying hops that would take it half way across the back yard. About half a week later, it took one huge flying hop that got it over the fence and into the branches of the neighbor’s tree.
    I never saw it again but at least it left my care with a better chance in life than if I’d just left it to die a slow, ugly death.
    “It’s just easier to let nature take its course; if the bird makes it, then it will perhaps strengthen the gene pool.”
    Many people would find that logic utterly heartless if applied to our own young. When it comes to Really Stupid Animals, human children have no equal for self-destructive idiocy.

  7. “Really Stupid Animals” applies to the parents, not the young uns. They’re not responsible for their actions, whether human or non-, and shouldn’t be judged accordingly.
    I admire your diligence in protecting that which cannot protect itself. It’s a quality in which the world is sadly lacking.
    At the same time, I’ve never been one to equate the value of a human life with a non-, and I find it impossible to tolerate the idiocy of those who do.

  8. I found a dead blue jay, standing erect in my front yard, when I was in high school. My mother encouraged me to take it to my biology class. (This was remarkable, considering every stranded baby bird we ever found she refused to allow us to get near for fear we’d bring mites in the house.)
    My best friend and I decided to seek extra credit in the class by stuffing this cadaver with formaldehyde-soaked cotton balls. Mr. Ginsbach, our soft spoken and compliant teacher, agreed we could try. Our endeavor began that afternoon after school, which happened to be a Friday. After 45 minutes, the school prepared to close. So we left the partially disembowled fowl in a shoe box on the lab countertop, removed our rubber gloves, and left Mr. Ginsbach, who had gone home, a note stating our intention to finish our project the following Monday after school. (Being an honor student had earned me privileges of working unsupervised in several classes – at least until this escapade.)
    Monday morning came and the entire wing of the school where the science lab was located could not be occupied by the student body because of the intensity of the stench of rotting meat. Naively, Mary Jane and I asked Mr. Ginsbach, as we stood with our classmates in the parking lot, what had caused the terrible odor.
    Neither of us pursued taxidermy any further.

  9. Of Mice and Birds???
    Somehow we have strayed from the subject of germ infested, nasty, dog-food stealing, swimming pool drowning rodents
    A wonderful creature that reminds you of freedom, beauty and what nature is all about. (Except for that darn mocking bird that starts singing outside my bedroom window at 5:30 am every morning)

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