Saturday, October 29, 2005

This Time It's Personal

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I was having a problem with mice in my house, which I thought I would solve by setting some traps. I'm happy to report that within a week of setting those traps, two mice fell victim to them. The first was a full-sized mouse, who even in death still managed to look cute somehow. Maybe that means its death came quickly and it didn't have to suffer. And a few days later, another trap took the life of an even cuter mouse -- a little baby this time, perhaps the orphaned child of the trap's first victim.

Before I go any further, I have to say that I don't enjoy killing things. I get no pleasure from the death of other living creatures, and if there were another way of getting the mice out of my house, I would eagerly try it. If I could have explained to the mice that I consider it an invasion of my personal space when they enter my house without permission, I would have. But as you probably already know, mice (and all other rodents, for that matter) are notorious for not listening to reason. Hence, the mouse traps.

After the two initial deaths, there were no others. Still, just to be safe, I left the traps baited and set, but more than a month has gone by since the last mouse was killed, so I assumed that my mouse problem was over.

Until now.

I haven't caught any more mice -- I haven't even seen any more mice -- but I have seen evidence that they're still in my house. And if you don't know what sort of evidence I'm talking about, let's just say that anything that's capable of eating and digesting food is capable of leaving evidence behind.

And for some reason, my little mouse likes to leave its evidence on one of the kitchen counters, which strikes me as sort of odd. There's no food up there -- it's basically an island (well, actually a peninsula) with nothing to offer a mouse. That's the first thing. The second thing is, I'm assuming that the mouse spends most of its time on the floor, which means it would have to go out of its way to get to the counter top. I don't know about you, but if I were a mouse and I felt the need to relieve myself, I wouldn't scurry up to the kitchen counter first. That wouldn't make any sense. So, I've reached the only possible conclusion: The mouse is trying to taunt me.

The first time it happened, I moved one of the traps to the counter top, right next to where I found the evidence. But the next time, the mouse simply went to the other end of the counter.

That was a disappointment. I really thought I'd catch him the next time he was up there. But the mouse completely ignored the trap. Could it be that he wasn't hungry? Or could he have lost his taste for peanut butter? That didn't seem likely. Perhaps the problem was that the peanut butter was old and stale. It was a month old, after all, so maybe it had turned rancid. I couldn't smell anything, but I don't have a rodent's acute sense of smell.

In any event, I loaded up the traps with fresh peanut butter (crunchy style, this time) and put two of them on the counter -- one at either end. I hoped that would do the trick, even though I knew better than to be too optimistic. And as it turned out, my skepticism was justified: To date, I have yet to catch another mouse.

It doesn't seem likely that a mouse would scamper up to the counter top, deposit its evidence, and then go back down to the floor, without once venturing near the traps. But that's exactly what happened. Several times. I don't understand it. Would a mouse pass up a free meal of delicious crunchy organic peanut butter without a good reason? I know I wouldn't, but I'm not a mouse. And like I said before, mice aren't known for being reasonable.