Thursday, August 6, 2009


I have two weeks off before the new semester, and I've been taking advantage of the free time by staying at home and relaxing. Two days ago I was enjoying the quietness of my kitchen in the middle of the morning, when all of a sudden I saw a mouse scurry along the front of our kitchen cabinets! I was almost too slow to see him disappear between the wall and the stove. I figured he must have been hanging out behind the fridge, and that perhaps there was a hole in one of the walls leading to the inside of the building or the rest of the world.

My first thought was, "Well, this explains the clicking noises I thought our fridge was making." I didn't see him again that day, and was starting to wonder if he'd realized that his location had been compromised and high-tailed it out of our apartment. Ha. Wishful thinking. By the way, if you don't like seeing pictures of mice, now is the time to go.

He was back yesterday, this time making the trip back from stove to fridge. Time for me to take action. I decided to move the stove and the fridge away from the walls a bit, so I could get a better look. I didn't see a mouse hole, so I figured the chances of catching him were pretty good. Plus, if he's shown himself twice in two days he might be stuck in the apartment with no way out. I put up two "traps," neither of which I expected to work. Here's the first one:

Poor 1st attempt

Yup, cheese slices in a paper bag. The Fiance pointed out that mice can chew through paper. Not sure why I thought that one would work. Here's the second one, it's pretty unassuming:

Ingenious tube!

I'd moved the stove about a foot away from the back wall to look for a mouse hole, and in the meantime I decided to push the stove so it would lie flush with the cabinets and block the mouse's normal route. I also put a cardboard tube (leftover from wrapping paper) along the path I'd seen him take. Both times I'd seen the mouse so far had been between 9:30 and 11 AM. I figured maybe, if I was home at the right time, I could trap him in the tube. The idea was that he'd go into the tube rather than run around the outside and expose himself more, and by the time he reached the end and figured out his normal entrance was blocked, I'd have time to to close off the entrance and trap him.

That's exactly what happened, but I wasn't expecting it to work! I know, I know. I'm surprised to discover that I'm smarter than a mouse. I came home from running an errand this morning (around 9:30) and saw him go into the tube. I quickly grabbed a plate to close off the other end, then picked up the tube and folded the other end over. I managed to fold both ends over and keep them closed with clothespins:

Temporary holding for the mouse

Once he was secured in the tube, I realized I needed an easier way to carry him around. My plan is to walk into the park this afternoon and release him there, and I wanted something better than a cardboard tube and clothespins. So I prepared a little holding cell for him to stay in using a tupperware container with holes punched in the lid. This may be far more sympathy than the mouse deserves, but I gave him a toilet paper tube to hide in, some fleece bits, and a piece of bread to munch on.

Mouse holding area

The scary part was opening the lid, sticking the end of the tube in there, and then shaking it gently until the mouse popped out. He didn't come out right away, and I was a little worried that he'd died of a little mousie heart attack in the tube and my efforts to get him out of my apartment humanely would be wasted. But then he did fall out, and I got a nervous adrenaline rush. He was freaking out too, running around and around, crawling over the fleece and trying to find a way out. I got the lid on, and put a rubber band around the whole thing just in case he turned out to be strong enough to push the lid up.


He's a very small mouse, compared to the pet mice I'm used to seeing.


I'm glad he is not free to run around my kitchen anymore, and I'm even more glad that my trap worked as well as it did. I can't have guys like him poking around, acting like they own the place. Besides, he could get into my fleece stash and then there'd be a really huge problem.

ETA: While I was composing this post, another mouse appeared from under the fridge! I set the cardboard tube trap again, and this time baited it using an almond with nutella spread on it. Worked like a charm, and now I have two passengers to take with me to the park this afternoon. On the other hand, I will have to have a serious talk with our building manager when I get back.

Mouse Apartments


Tracey said...

i can't believe how easily you were able to trap them! although, there isn't much that i wouldn't do for almonds and nutella.

Janice said...

Great story! You are so brave. I admit that mice make me screech. I'm not proud of that, but that's how it is.
But I'm with you, I escort spiders and such out of my home alive.
Have fun at the park. Hope two evacuees are all you have!

Anonymous said...

Your trap was so clever!!! I'd be soooo eeeeek-y.... I have to confess though, that I think the wee mousy silhouette is kinda cute.

wildtomato said...

You're so clever! Those mice are lucky that they were in your apartment, where they dine on almonds and Nutella.