Most are familiar with the nursery song, "Three Blind Mice". Recently, I think I may have saved their lives. Well, one generation at least. :)
I've had a mouse problem in my kitchen cabinet for a couple months ago. They are sneaky little creatures. Able to crawl between the tiny crack between my stove and dishwasher and maneuver like some undercover agent though the tiny hole that allows the dishwasher hose to connect to the sink plumbing. Although their acrobatic skills are interesting to ponder, I find no curiosity in the smell or sight of their foul urine and feces.
I'm an animal lover. Nature lover. I believe in environmental protection and the right to live naturally. So of course, the mice must go, but not via death or cruelty. Typically, my cats catch them and I then catch my cats and capture the mouse in a jar to release outside. Effective and yet, not foolproof. If the cats eat the mouse, obviously that's death. The cats also have a risk of catching diseases or enduring the parasitic attack of worms. If the mouse escapes or I capture it for release, they've often been crushed or poisoned by the cat's teeth.
Rather than utilize the feline exterminators, I reached for a humane trap. It's designed so the mouse can enter, but can't leave. There is a hole for the mouse to enter and from there it walks on a metal path something like a see-saw. The weight of the mouse drops the path and once they reach their 'treat' (I used peanut butter) the path raises back up and blocks the exit.
I have always hated the cruelty of the traps that snap over a mouse. I've seen them cut in half, suffering while being crushed alive. So I was eager to try the humane trap as I am already used to releasing the unwanted visitors elsewhere. I was skeptical if it would work, but had hope for the trap.
The first morning after I set the trap, there was nothing inside. I was discouraged, but patient. By the next night, suddenly I was triumphant! Upon lifting the box, I heard the movement of a mouse. I held the trap up to the light and saw not one, but two tails! I was impressed. I had my husband grab a flashlight and join me in the woods out front of my house so that I could release them. I never expected what came next.
Inside the box was two mice. As far as I knew. I had my iPhone set to record video of their release for my blog. I cautiously slid open the lid. (I'll upload the video here as soon as I can!)
Two mice streaked away deeper into the woods with precision. Then, as I reached down for the box, one more mouse cautiously peeked from under the see-saw path. It looked at me for a moment before streaking off in the opposite direction. The whole event was exciting for me and spooked me a bit. However, I was so thankful that the trap worked. Although I was nervous at the thought of an infestation since I had caught three, I'm hoping that's the last of the invading army for now. We shall see.
Update: Within a week after this post, I had caught and released 10 mice before finally having an empty trap! Unfortunately, I must also carry the guilt that I later forgot to re-check the trap in time and two days later, lost two mice. :( Since then, I've yet to catch or see signs of additional mice...so can only sadly assume the smell of their distant relatives demise discouraged further cohabitation in our home.