Mouse Patrol

Him Behind The Wheel became the Mouse Patrol Officer this morning. That meant getting the ladder out of the garage through the snow and climbing into the loft to check the poison. (Sorry, No way can I cope with human traps.) Count today – 3 dead mice, poison still intact but needed filled up a little bit.

Musophobia is the word for me – I learnt it on someone’s blog. Something deep inside me just cannot cope with the poor little creatures indoors. If they are outside I have tolerable coping strategies, though I don’t like them running over my feet. A site dedicated to musophobia – which kindly does not show any pictures of the little animals – says this about phobias:

Phobias are believed to be developed by heredity, genetics and brain-chemistry combine with life-experiences.

As a child I used to be able to handle white mice, there was a craze of them as pets at my primary school. The boys used to bring their pets to school then produce them from their pockets in the middle of lessons; interestingly, most small girls screamed whereas I was bold enough to handle the said white mice. In secondary school I made myself handle the white rats. Perhaps I could do this because they were white, they were clearly pets, and didn’t come under the general heading of vermin.

When I am in the garden I can look at a cute little field mouse and feel OK, but a mouse running across the kitchen floor, or jumping out of a cupboard sends me spare. The one time I managed to stay in control (ie not jump on top of a chair) was whilst taking a church service. I was busy up the front when all of a sudden a mouse ran out from underneath my long robe (horrors to think of it sheltering there) and ran away to seek refuge under one of the pews. The Elders being ordained at the time gawped, and I managed to carry on with only a laughing comment as interruption.

As you have no doubt gathered, my experiences with mice over the years has been chequered. I first remember them being hunted in the post-war prefab where I grew up in London. (These were the forerunners of timber-framed houses nowadays and were badly needed to replace areas that had been bombed out in the blitz of WWII.) The cat was duly sent into the nether regions where the boiler connected with the hot cupboard and mice came running out in all directions with Mother shouting like a banshee and Father wielding a shovel. There was no alternative but to hop about or jump on a chair. Aha! So that’s where the urge comes from.

In later years, HBTW and I plus an ever-increasing family moved from house to house and every time there was the worry of whether there would be mice or not. An old Manse (Church house) was one of the worst. The little loves used to creep out at night and raid the dogs’ biscuits, leaving their traces in amongst the little dog’s covers. (Yes – she was a cairn, in case you’re interested.) My wonderful helper, Joyce, used to shake the covers disgustedly, say “Yeuch!” before she threw them all in the washing machine yet again.

Nowadays, we live in a 25yr old bungalow and to date, mouse activity has only been in the loft and the garage, where the boiler is. Oc course, when the cat was alive he would bring in specimens from time to time – not helpful – I thought cats were supposed to eat the mice. However, he liked to be the bringer of gifts. One place I do treat with caution though is the compost bin corner. I am reliably informed that mice are attracted to the heat and even HBTW has been known to nearly jump out of his skin on occasion.

So – no pictures of house-mice in the comments please; I am simply grateful that Mouse Patrol is over for another few weeks.

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9 Responses to Mouse Patrol

  1. Marcia Mayo says:

    I feel your pain. Just yesterday, I had a large rat in my classroom at school. Thank goodness for our very brave custodian who trapped him and took him away. I didn’t ask, but I’m assuming he took him to live at a farm with a little crippled child. That’s what I used to tell my children when a pet mysteriously disappeared.

  2. freda says:

    Oh gosh – a rat! When I got the pest controller out to one of our houses – an old Smithy – he left poison for mice and for rats. I asked him what he meant and he pointed over to the old stables and hen-house. “Those are rat-runs,” he grinned. I was not grinning.

  3. Lyn says:

    I’m not afraid of mice (rats, yes!), but they repulse me. Cute little critters, but I don’t like them. Living in the mountains, as I do, the field mice love the storage space under the house for it’s warmth and shelter. I, too, set out little boxes of poison bait, and I rarely see the product, but yesterday I went to retrieve a storage tub and found a carcass. Shudder. I’d rather not find them, thank you very much!

    Last year I had an unusual experience. Pack rats were apparently taking the poison bait and leaving little pebbles and sticks in their place! This went on for a couple months, then stopped. I’ve heard that they are immune to that poison, so I don’t know why it stopped. But it was funny to go down there and find little piles of “gifts”!!

  4. Oh what a hairy subject. We live in the city so we fight those awful city rats. Furthermore, our sewer system is connected to the Washington DC sewer sytem, and we all know about the rats there.

  5. Linda Hillin says:

    My mother once opened a cabinet door to find a mouse looking her in the face. Quick as a wink she grabbed a pointed shish kabob and stabbed the mouse, bringing it to its death.

    I’m not that fast nor that brave.

  6. LC says:

    The first home we owned was invaded by mice when the weather turned cool. My reaction to the critters was inelegant screeching and doing the icky bug — or in this case — icky mouse dance. We were early in our marriage and on a tight budget. The exterminator was a necessary expense. I had no qualms about the deaths among the mouse population. It was them or me! It’s funny now, but not so much then. Thanks for the walk down memory lane, both yours and mine!

  7. No mouse patrol was ever as traumatic as the discovery of the baby starlings.

  8. RevRuth says:

    Pity the weather is so bad, or I could have brought Lucy Pussy for a visit. So far she has dispatched 2 mice in this rectory. (At the last one she brought one in from outdoors which is really not the point, I felt.)

    Like you, I loathe and detest them. I once sat on my bed for hours in the dark terrified to get up because there was a mouse on the floor between me and the door. (Turned out to be a paper hankie!)

  9. freda says:

    I love all the stories and it helps me not to feel quite so bad. I try to switch off from the horrors of the rats in city sewers, but it looks like I’m going to be a musophobe to the end. As to the starlings, it was the shock of opening a cupboard and a whole nest demanding to be fed. Linda, my father-in-law was once confronted by a mouse when he opened a cupboard, the mouse jumped onto the floor and brave f-i-l stomped it dead. Shudders!

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