Some time ago I discovered, much to my dismay, that an invading force has been encroaching on my home. They are surprisingly evasive, nimble, and difficult to capture or kill. They elude my traps, evade my defenses, and mock my frustrations. I am of course referring to mice, the terrorists of the rodent world. These insurgents have been giving me trouble for about two months now.
I started out thinking there were only a few mice. So I put out a few snap traps with peanut butter on them. I caught nothing. I checked the traps several times each day, and they were untouched. So I changed the locations of the traps. I changed the bait. I threw them all away, bought new ones, and completely baited and set the new ones wearing gloves so my scent would not be on them. Still I caught nothing.
So I bought a rolling log mouse trap as seen on YouTube. They guy claims to have caught 11 mice in one night. Granted, that was in a barn with a huge mouse population. It’s a target rich environment. I set up that trap, and got nothing for a couple of weeks, even after moving it around and changing bait. I finally did catch one mouse with this trap. That is the only mouse I have managed to catch to date.
After the failure of the rolling log trap, I in frustration went and bought twenty snap traps and set them throughout the house. I called it my Shock and Awe campaign, and is when I formally declared war on the furry little minions.
They only member of this household to have any success is the cat. He has caught three that I am aware of. Personally, I will never take a mouse away from a cat. I figure, he worked for it, he gets to keep his toy. If I want a mouse I should go catch my own. It’s only fair, right? Well, the roommate’s girlfriend doesn’t share my opinion. She took one away from him, put it in a glass jar, and presented it to me when I got home. He is so tiny, about the size of my thumb, not counting his tail. I call him Stuart. So there I was, with a wounded mouse in a glass jar. HE wasn’t moving at all. He was breathing quite fast, but mice have a high metabolism, so it might have been fine. But he was definitely not alert. I thought about finishing Stuart off. I mean, he was injured, wasn’t moving around much, and looked to be in pain. I almost went and flushed him down the toilet. There are worse ways to die than drowning, right?
Then I realized, much to my dismay, that the situation was more complicated than I had considered. Articles 13 to 16 of the Geneva Convention state, “…prisoners of war must be treated humanely without any adverse discrimination and that their medical needs must be met.” So, I waited, and little Stuart lived. Why? So I put some shredded up paper towel in the bottom of the five gallon bucket I had been using for the rolling log trap. Then I put a little cup of water and some peanut butter on a paper towel in the bottom, and waited until morning the next day to see if Stuart was still alive. He was. Damn it!
That brings us up to today. Stuart is much more lively today. He was difficult to catch when I took him out of the bucket to change out the shredded paper towel for some proper bedding I got from the pet store. The pet store provided me with a few nuggets of rodent food for Stuart to see if he makes it through the week. I say a few nuggets of food, but bear in mind, these nuggets are bigger than Stuart’s head.
Stuart is still favoring one of his rear legs. He isn’t using it at all. I don’t know if it’s broken bones, soft tissue damage, nerve damage, or a combination of those. I may never know. I do know that without the use of that leg, he will never survive long in the wild. So in a week, provided Stuart is still alive, I will try to gauge his health, and chances of survival if released (many miles away from my house) in the wild. If he never starts using that leg, I may have a Prisoner of Way for the rest of his natural life. Grrr
UPDATE: I released Stuart in to the wild (ten miles away from my house) on Saturday morning. He was well recovered and had full use of all four legs. When I tipped the bucket up and he ran out the end, he was just a grey streak that disappeared into the underbrush and into the woods. I wish him well, and a long and pleasant life, away from my house.