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Our mouse in the house

Posted by on Thursday 19 January 2012 in house | 16 comments

We have a mouse in the house. Or rather a couple of mice who either hate each other or like each other very much according to the squeals we heard between the floorboards last night.

We live next to woodland and we first heard the scratching/squeaks when it suddenly got cold last weekend so we’re not exactly surprised when we have rodent guests. I’m calling them mice but they’re probably actually something else – we had a single vole-ish thing nibbling on our spare bags of chicken feed in the garage last year and we had a family of shrews living in the back of our woodpile the summer before last — living there, dying in our dining room courtesy of Carla-cat’s late developing hunting skills. Carla-cat was 12 then and in a fortnight racked up more hunting “triumphs” than the whole of the feline team had racked up in the previous decade put together — when we had four cats in the old house, their hunting “success” list was: a mouse, two birds, an already dead very frozen magpie, a chipolta sausage and a piece of KFC chicken.

The cats – just Boron (who is ninety-hundred years old & toothless but was once a semi-feral stray) and Carla now – are being less than effective regarding our current rodent-adjacent situation. They’ve had a couple of “ooh sniff sniff sniff” moments but don’t react at all when the sound of under-floorboard mouse fighting/sex echoes around our empty living room. Lily-dog – who is also ninety-hundred years old – raises her ear slightly but doesn’t bother opening her eyes from her blissfully slumber. A crack team, ready to leap into action at any minute.

But because of the cats & the Lily-dog, we’ll have to be careful about how we deal with the current situation – no poisons (in case the mice die somewhere they can be eaten/sucked on) or traditional traps where the cats/dog could get caught. We’ll try to get a humane mouse trap (essentially just a one way box) but I’ve heard more people complaining about those than have had success with them.

Have you had any unwanted rodent visitors to your house this winter? If so, how did you deal with them? What would you recommend? Can I use this as an excuse to get a new cat (or five) with teeth and energy? ;)


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  1. strowger

    “Humane” mouse-trap loaded with chocolate works really well for me to catch mice, but there are problems –

    1 – Once rodent is caught, you have to kill it. If you put it outside again, even quite a long way away, it will come straight back in.

    2 – It’s only “humane” if you check the trap quite frequently – say every 6hrs minimum – and then take action.

    3 – They’re made of plastic, and rodents can chew their way out. So frequent checks – and you will probably find they don’t last many “catch”es before being nibbled away.

    I decided in the end that it was more humane to use a traditional trap than to go through the imprison mouse – free mouse – kill mouse business.

  2. Rosemarie

    We use the humane traps. Yes, they are plastic and yes they need checking fairly frequently otherwise little terrors either die (extreme sadness in our house) or chew their way out. Having said that they work fine for us and the mice seem to enjoy the car ride on their way to freedom :)

  3. Deb

    We had noisy mice too (which somehow got named Micetallica) which came in with the first cold spell of the season. We tried for about a week with humane traps but didn’t have any luck so we ended up getting a couple of these: http://goo.gl/5tyq2 which worked almost instantly and we caught about 6. We’ve since stuffed any holes in the external walls with wire wool and not seen any since then…

    Thought about training Lily to chase them out? :)

  4. Sharon

    We have suffered very badly from a mouse invasion this year and it really was getting out of hand. We started several years ago with a humane trap but that turned into an expensive disaster. We have finally got the situation under control with a combination of electronic traps, plug-in devices and non toxic pellets. I would recommend that you take action before they start breeding and you are overrun. You can read about what we did on our blog http://www.smithycraft.co.uk/smithyblog/?p=648

    Good luck.

  5. datacreata

    We got well and truly infested after building our logs stores. We used the old fashioned traps with chocolate but more and more kept coming in. In the end, we got an electronic detector (you plug it in and it sends sonic signals through every wire in your house). They disappeared within 2 days and touch wood, haven’t come in since. This was about 3 years ago.

  6. Attila

    Thankfully the only mice round here are those caught and played with (and at some point killed and sometimes eaten) by our 4 year old Mighty Hunter tabby. Our Old Lady cat used to be an occasional mouser but has now retired, content merely to threaten birds she can see from the back of the armchair and watch “entertainment for cats” videos on youtube. So yes, I’d say, get a younger cat!

  7. Nikki

    we had a nightmare with mice (despite three cats who are excellent hunters) but my husband got a plug in device at B&Q that emits a sonic noise that humans can’t hear but mice can. Anyway, not heard a peep from the mice since…

  8. Fay

    Before we got cats we used traditional traps baited with peanut butter which worked fairly well at keeping them down. We also went round the house filling in all the big gaps where the buggers were getting in.

    Since getting two kittens we haven’t had any mouse activity inside our house at all. Which is a miracle really as all my neighbours have them. I think it’s possibly the kitties mixed in with the somewhat over the top hole filling. The mice can probably get under the floor boards but they appear to have no access into the living areas of my house which is fine by me!

  9. Alison

    We used the humane traps and caught 1 mouse and 1 vole. Took them a few miles down the road to set them free and then worried that I had re-moved them from their family! We had signs of activity a few weeks ago under the sink in the utility, OH was convinved it was a rat from th amount of chewed up bin liner and stuff, we blocked up a hole, the traps stay in situ all the time but nothing has been caught recently and no more signs of ativity for now!

  10. john b

    I agree with strowger on the humane traps- waste of time and effort. we tried dealing with them a couple of years ago by getting a cat but he peed everywhere then got run over leaving us with a house full of fleas (which were worse than the mice to be honest). now we use traditional traps and either peanut butter or chocolate. at the allotment we use rat traps and poison in the areas the chickens cant get to but have a number for a bloke with stock trained jack russles for if it gets really ratty.

  11. louisa

    Thanks guys, so much really useful advice. I am rather disappointed that only Attila supported my “get more cats” idea though – Strowger, I’m very surprised you didn’t try pushing that agenda ;)

    Aside from my blatant wanting of more cats, I think we’ll try the traps Deb suggests first — our fingers are very precious to us :) I like the idea of the sonic emitter thing but would worry about it bugging the other animals too (did anyone notice any problems with that?).

    I would prefer really to go down the humane traps route but I think I’d be like Alison, worrying about splitting up families or worried about them returning, and I suspect that the cats/dog would probably, finally, leap into action when the mouse was trapped, and it probably wouldn’t be very humane for the little thing – essentially becoming a plastic encased plaything until we spotted the situation and intervened.

    Again though, thanks for all your excellent advice – I’m very glad I asked :)

  12. john

    I found some old ginger cake that I’d thrown away had been dragged out the bin and nibbled. So I put a trap down the next night with some cake on it but it was ignored.

    I replaced it with some cheese the next night, but they took the cheese without setting off the trap! I’ll set it again tonight a bit more sensitively, but it’s a huge big traditional one and is a bit scary (gone off a couple of times whilst I was holding it!).

    Suppose we just have to persist. I cemented up the holes in the garage last year and I’m pretty sure they stopped getting in there. I’ll do the same where I can see in the kitchen too.

  13. Clare

    No advice, but during the mouse infestation of my uni years, I was served a bacon sandwich by a housemate. I was just about to take a delicious bacony bite when I noticed the tail hanging out of one end and the nose and paws at the other…. EEEEEEKKKKK!

    • louisa

      Oh good god. Did the housemate do it on purpose? Did you ever eat a bacon butty in that house ever again? Was it alive and wriggling? I’m not one to overly squeal about this type of things but I think I’m going to have nightmares about that! :)

      • Clare

        Mouse was dead, and yes, it was on purpose. They were from Cumbria, so one allows them some leeway of course ;-)

        Sorry in advance for the nightmares. Don’t ever read The Pie and The Patty Pan by Beatrix Potter, will you.

  14. clody

    Please let me know what you all think.

    We live in a rural setting and as stated come the autumn the mice
    enter our house seeking refuge from the elements. This year we
    have been inundated and to date my Hubby has caught 15 mice using
    humane traps plus Kitty the cat has caught 4, bringing the total to date 19. Is this an infestation? My Hubby brings the mice down
    the lane about 100 yards from the house but maybe they are coming back, who knows. Its very upsetting and being an urban chic I’m seriously considering moving back to the smoke.

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