The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The mouse intruder


Photo: Balinese cat

Photo: Balinese cat

We have caught loads of mice over the past three months but there is one that has survived all attempts to trap him. He is living behind the cooker. Clearly a highly trained mouse survival expert, he scoffs at our humane mouse traps and evades the killer traps. Danny has become obsessed with this interloper. It’s war but as yet there is just a lot of muttering about poison and sterilising the worktops several times a day. Dispatching vermin is my department.

If we leave the kitchen for a few minutes the mouse is back – with a trail of mouse poo to prove it. Just join up the elongated dots to see where he has travelled.

I have some poison to hand but decided that I’d try the killer traps just one more time – the end is quick. In the middle of a wonderful meal – Bong. Lights out and mouse heaven beckons.

Let me share a secret with you. Observing the mice caught in the humane mouse traps has made me a bit of a softy.  A few weeks ago I discovered that I’d lured three mice into one of these traps. A big mouse and two smaller ones. When I peered through the top of the trap the three mice clung together – upright with their front legs wrapped around each other. Teeny pink paws stretched out like stars. Seeing them comforting each other was a shock. I felt awful and was pleased that I was relocating them. These three had a slim chance of survival.

Danny cleaned the surface of the oven at brunch yesterday and disappeared for an afternoon of conference calls in The Rat Room. I decided to put this cat on the top of the oven. More to amuse D than terrify the mouse. Then I went out to town for a few hours.

Strangely, when I returned the oven top was clean. The surfaces were spotless. Perhaps finally this cat has come into its own – and frightened that plucky, pesky mouse. Maybe he is now lurking in his nest feeling peckish?

Last night I set a killer trap anointed with peanut butter, bacon, chocolate and chicken feed. Incidentally the first three are favourites with D too. Luckily he’s too chunky to squeeze behind the cooker in search of a midnight treat.

Despite the mice clinging episode we have to get rid of this mouse. However cute, mice can spread disease and cause enormous damage in your home.

Bingo – just went downstairs to make a mug of tea this and the mouse trap lure has worked. But the rustling in the carrier bag of bird food indicates that we have more. Grrrr.

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  1. Bird seed in a carrier bag??!! Those mice must think it’s Christmas! We keep ours in a small metal dustbin – the sort you find on a barge, with a lid that swings off. The only things that find their way in are earwigs.
    Even a toaster tray with crumbs in is enough to lure a mouse to your home, and keeping flour and sweet stuff in plastic containers etc is the only way to make them unwelcome.
    The scene of cuddling mice is like something out of Disney: it sounds very cute! But mice breed like, er, mice, and 2 soon become 200 and so on…
    Gotta be cruel, I’m afraid!

  2. OUR Ecovillage

    I am in agreement with cutting off the food supply. This also works for 20 something year olds still living at home, or unwanted boyfriends. Just sayin.


  3. My folks had mouse trouble last winter, but only in their shed. They couldn’t figure out why they were going through bird food so quickly, until Dad came face-to-face with a well-fed mouse on a shelf.

    They packed all the bird food and plant seeds into plastic storage boxes and thought that was it. Until a few days later when they discovered a ragged hole chewed in the corners of a few boxes.

    Good luck with the mouse hunt, F!

  4. markfromireleand

    I have to agree with Keth above. All your campaigning will come to naught so long as the mice have access to anything edible.

    Another thing to do is to reduce the access points to your home (and inside it too).

    Carefully investigate and stop up with rockwool and gaps around pipes etc. Stop up any internal mouseholes while your at it. Mice hate rockwool because it cuts them if they try push or gnaw through it.

    If you feel squeamish about the rockwool … well it’s them or you … one incontinent mouse is one hell of an infection spreader and it’s not just their excrement it’s their urine too.

    Hope this helps.

  5. If all else fails you could try wishing them away, a basic spell to get rid of people or things you don’t like is.
    An onion/ clove/black ground pepper/piece of paper/ tin foil.

    Cut and chunk out of the onion and put it to one side you will need this as a ‘stopper’. On the piece of paper draw a picture or write the name or the thing you want to leave. fold the paper into a tiny square and put it into the hole you have cut into the onion securing it there by stabbing thru the paper with the clove stem sprinkle on a pinch of black ground pepper. Replace the the ‘stopper’ of onion you cut out to make the hole lossing the inner layers of the stopper to make the stopper fit back into the hole as perfectly as possible so the onion looks as if its untouched. wrap the onion tightly in the tin foil. All the time you do this imagine the person or thing leaving your life ( in your case fiona imagine all the little mice running off out of your garden gate into the fields etc) then take the tin foil covered onion far away from where you live and leave it there. ( You can just put it in a wheely bin so it goes to the tip)
    Always remember when attempting a wish or magic you are asking of nature a favour and should pay her back, but i think in your case fiona with your garden and animals you have a few credits already so she should be ok. 🙂

  6. Fiona – from years of battling mice myself (they return, periodically), you absolutely HAVE to remove everything that they can possibly eat from being accessible. That means anything in packets, whether cardboard or plastic, needs to be either lifted up out of reach or put into a large plastic box with a secure lid. The way to drive them out is to cut off food supplies: not just trapping them, but to actually deprive them of food. If you’ve still got carrier bags of – for example; bird food – then you’re just tempting more and more mice into the kitchen. get the bird food into a plastic box with a lid, or hang it up out of reach…

    good luck!

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