Whats an animal lover to do when a wild animal decides to latch on?
We thought we had an opossum or some other urban bandit under the house. At night there would be scratching and this strange sputtering sound under the bathtub, almost like a sneeze.
On the outside of the house is one of those entrances to the foundation that you could only enter if you were an anorexic Peking acrobat.
Tommy covered the entrance with part of a screen and some duct tape. We had those days of high winds and the covering was removed. We know now that the wind had nothing to do with it.
A few weeks later, I noticed that the outside pocket of my lunch cooler was torn. Its one of those little pliable coolers you can sling over your shoulder. I put dry snacks in the outside pocket, most notably sunflower seeds.
One day when I slung it over my shoulder, the sunflower seeds made a trail similar to one spread by Hansel and Gretel.
The determination was that it was a mouse.
We recently watched the movie The Green Mile,? with Tom Hanks, about death-row prisoners. The editorial comment in the film is about the sanctity of life and how even in the seemingly most heinous of creatures, there is some good.
One of the characters? is Mr. Jingles, a little mouse that becomes tame and does circus tricks.
One can also get sappy about not killing rodents after watching any of the movies involving the cartoon character Fievel.
When we saw the sunflower seeds all over the kitchen we paused, thinking, should we be so cruel as to kill it? But Tommy and I looked at each other and mutually acknowledged our mouse is not Mr. Jingles. ?
We borrowed a mouse trap from my best friend next door and baited it with peanut butter.
It was a humane trap that theoretically would catch the mouse alive. We were instructed that if we caught the trespasser, we had to take the varmint to the spooky woods,? an area near Lindo Channel.
Bonnie said to set the trap right by the edge of the wall where a mouse would skirmish.
One night we heard it snap shut and jumped out of bed gleefully, but were not rewarded with our captive.
Apparently this mouse was as crafty as a cat burglar.
Clues continued to grotesquely appear. We already knew the visitor loved sunflower seeds. Then Tommy found a huge pile of empty seed shells behind the stove. We decided it was a she, because clearly we could envision the rodent reproducing and having four, 18, 200, 1,000 mice babies scampering across the linoleum.
The mouse would make its brood peanut butter sandwiches on the cutting board, wearing a Mardi Gras hat and stringing up a sunflower-seed-filled piata for the little ones.
Why wouldnt it just go somewhere else to have that party?
We discovered the mouse also liked cashews, chocolate chips and granola.
She was really getting brazen now obviously eating for six.
The mouse trap stayed silent, but the animal did not.
I had a hard time sleeping a couple nights last week. Tommy was snoring, the sink was dripping, I could hear the train whistle two miles away. Something was tap dancing on my dishes in the cupboard. I woke up as grumpy as Archie Bunker and growled, If thats a mouse in the kitchen, its practicing for an audition to a Broadway musical.?
A strange hole appeared in the bathroom, and we placed pieces of steel wool in the opening.
After several days, Tommy said he saw it skittering into the storage room and it was a rat a big, fat, brown, grotesque, electrical-wire-eating, foundation-burrowing, disease-carrying, lice-infested, behind-the-stove-defecating, cupboard-invading, procreating, RAT.
This meant war, of course.
We spared no expense, especially since we are going to send the bill to the landlord.
We bought two large rat traps and the dreaded D-Con.
But then the ethical debate consumed me and I went ahead and called the Glenn County Cooperative Extension Office and even went to the PETA Web site. Ouch.
Most rat poison contains an anticoagulant that kills the animal through internal bleed. They die a slow death.
I know a lot of people have rats as pets. My sister had one named Merlin and he loved to nuzzle in the crook of your arm. But I cant have a rat dancing through my cupboard at 4 a.m.
According to a fax requested from the Glenn County Cooperative Extension Office, ultrasound devices dont work, unless youre broadcasting the type of undetectable decibels available at a rock concert.
We tried to make pizza in the oven and smelled rat urine warming up on the linoleum behind the stove.
I guess were not going to have a dinner party anytime soon.
So we set out the snap traps, thinking that was a medium-humane thing to do. At least it would be a quick death if the gal is lucky enough to have a clean snap of the trap.
In the meantime, Id welcome any readers advice with the similar problem.
My research on the Internet turned up a guys Web site with instructions for how to make a trap that catches rodents: www.smithsax.btinternet.co.uk/products.htm.