Sunday, 3 July 2011


We keep the garden bird food tubs in the shed and a couple of weeks ago the lid of the seed tub wasn't tightly resealed after refilling the bird feeders. This evidently tempted a harvest or wood mouse in through the ventilation gap between the walls and roof for a snack. My position on mice is: in the garden, "Hello Mickey" , but in the shed, garage or house "Exterminate".  The garden covers a much larger area than the house and the back of the borders are virtually undisturbed from year to year.  That's fair. Mice are nice to look at but they are incontinent, leave droppings, their hair smudges walls when they brush past (and mice like to stay close to walls) and they carry a nasty flu-like virus. So wear rubber gloves and disinfect surfaces well if handling them.

So to battle with my rodent foe. A rule of thumb is if one is caught there are two about, if two are caught in two days there's four etc. So I decided to invest in a humane mouse trap that could catch up to ten at a time. The PoW squeakers could then be released in a nature reserve a mile away or quickly neck-stretched.*

Here's the galvanised metal humane trap with clear plastic panel on the lid and ample ventilation holes. There are two entrances and mice walk up a pivoted flap into the bait area. When they put their feet on the flap to leave its outside end pushes up pushing up a metal door which prevents exit. The trap resets itself.

(Yes the shed is carpeted for insulation and also has net curtains for security)

Unfortunately, the mice didn't read the instructions or perhaps we have very clever mice in Coventry. Result is night after night of trap empty of bait and mice. It works with some mice but not others according to the reviews on Amazon. I will use it as a storage tin for my new traps.

So I bought three proper mouse traps from Ebay. Baited with slivers of fig roll (to stick well on the bait spike) they have caught two mice in one night.  I secure them on old ice cream carton lids so they don't spring around when triggered and also because it's easier to place them without accidently setting them off.  I shall continue setting them out in the shed against the wall along the mouse run until I have two free nights without catching anything. I'll be glad of that because I don't like killing them even when necessary.

Don't read  below if you don't want to know how to humanely despatch a mouse.

*To do that, quietly calmly quickly pick the mouse up by its tail with one gloved hand and gently grasp the mouse's head with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, simultaneously pulling down and twisting slightly. The mouse's back legs will judder momentarily but it's already dead. Double-plastic bag it in and bin it straight away.


Richard said...

The Rescue Cat keeps bringing mice into the house. Anna is OK with them outside (just) but in the house she panics. I am now a better mouse-catcher than the cat, who plays with them and then goes off to do something else more interesting. I catch them and let them go down in the woods. I won't kill them unless there is an infestation, in which case it's game on, but I quite like the little critters and wouldn't harm them unless I had to. I'm sure I have seen some of them more than once - they seem to know their way around quite well. Perhaps I should release them further away.

I have a humane trap, baited with a smear of Nutella, and it's awesome.

Brian said...

I think the local mice think my humane trap is awesome as well - free food. The annoying thing is that I've tried to mimic their entrance/exit routine and cannot puzzle it out. I wish they would just stay in the humane trap until I inspect it (at least twice a day) so I could translocate them to a lovely hedgerow a mile away. Even a male wood mouse won't travel more than a quarter of a mile at night and most mice live within a 200 yard diameter territory or less if it's rich in food.
The good news is that none of my traps, humane or snappy was touched last night. I do hope the mice have retreated to their territory.
Nutella sounds an interesting bait: I've used choccy biccy and fig roll successfully. Apparently tuna is a mouse magnet in Birmingham.