Potted Mouse

(A.K.A. my version of the proverbial better mousetrap)

1 heavy saucepan
popsicle sticks
duct tape
long macaroni (or linguini, or other long sturdy pasta)
peanut butter
small container of water
1 mouse

A few years ago, when I was speaking to my mother prior to coming to Ottawa for the holidays, she told me that she had a job for me. "Oh yes?" I said warily. Mom's "little jobs" have a tendency to be not that little...

Apparently, she had a mouse, or something like that, in the house. Something seemed to have been gnawing on the guest soap under the sink in the second bathroom, and leaving little black droppings. Sounded like a mouse, all right. So when I got into town, and checked the situation, I set up my usual mouse trap.

I set up a heavy-lidded saucepan, with its lid propped open by a few inches with the long pasta. Some popsicle sticks are duct-taped to the sides of the pot, pointing upwards and projecting higher than the lid, to guide the lid as it falls. More popsicle sticks and tape are used to make a small ramp up to the rim of the saucepan and a smaller ramp down into it. The piece of long macaroni is stuffed with peanut butter. (Peanut butter can be sucked slowly up the macaroni as if it were a straw. If you're using non-tubular pasta, just smear peanut butter on it.) It's a good idea to put a small container of water in the pot as well, preferably something which can't be tipped over easily by a small frightened animal.

The contraption is left wherever the rodent has been spending time. It smells the peanut butter and I don't think there's any bait quite so attractive! and climbs the ramps to get into the pot. Nibbles away at the macaroni which is holding the lid up, and the lid comes down with a noise loud enough to signal a catch. The critter is securely and safely held until it can be carted off to a field somewhere.

I have caught some eighteen or twenty mice this way. Dad had quite a mouse problem a couple of years ago, see I ended up catching two complete generations of them.

This time 'round, it took about three or four days before the Small Grey Presence* got around to checking out the peanut butter. (The only places it could get to anything edible in the house were under a couple of the sinks, and then only soap; I don't think it was doing a lot of exploring.) The lid banged down just after 11 p.m., and when I told Mom that we had her mouse, she decided that it was going outside right away. She drove me out a nearby park for the disposal. She didn't want to see it, didn't come along as I released it into the bush and watched it bounce away. She was just happy that it was gone...

I'm quite aware that a mouse released into the bush from a warm human environment hasn't got much of a chance. But there IS a chance for it, and this way I at least don't have to deal with a revolting bloody mess stuck in a mousetrap.

* The "Small Grey Presence" alludes to Allan McFee's old CBC Radio show Eclectic Circus; McFee would regularly have conversations with the mouse who lived in his pocket. Gone but by no means forgotten.

Copyright (C) 1997 by Joel Polowin. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this material in any non-profit medium provided that its content is not altered and that this notice is appended. I would appreciate receiving a copy of any publication in which it appears: Joel Polowin / 18 Norice St. / Nepean, Ont. / CANADA / K2G 2X5

jpolowinXYZZy@sympatico.ca but remove the XYZZy it's a little magic to baffle the spambots.

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