Thursday, May 17, 2007

Unwanted houseguests


I've known I've got clothing moths in my wardrobe for a couple of weeks now. They've been fluttering around for a while (everytime they flutter too near to me I crush them into dust in a karate kid manouevere) and I ordered some stuff on the net a week or so ago which I plan to use this weekend. Fumigate the hell out of them, and me in the process no doubt.

However, last night I discovered I had another unwanted guest.

Whilst I was sat on the sofa watching The Apprentice (the advertising agency episode - couldn't miss all the pretentiousness being lampooned by Alan Sugar) a small house mouse ran across the floorboards, had a sniff of the Scrabble board and then scampered out down the hall towards the kitchen.



He's either JUST moved in or has suddenly taken a big bravery pill, because despite me obviously being in situ on the sofa he repeated this move at least three times, bold as brass, his little nose twitching away.

After the initial heart skipping moment when I thought "There's a mouse. In my house. Should I be tucking my feet up and screaming at this point?", I realised I thought he was quite cute and my heart sank as I thought about how I would have to 'do something about him'.

Humane live trap and then drive him to Clapham Common and release him into the wild where he will curse me roundly until he gets eaten by a fox or dies of exposure. Or kill him with poison or a mechanical trap? Or get a cat round and let someone else do the killing for me?

Crushing clothing moths in my hands seems acceptable but its amazing what a cute sniffly nose will do for an animal's survival rate in my house...

Maybe I can keep him?

The other hideous realisation that all of this brings on is that I need to clean my flat, more often.

Dammit, life's too short for housework.

6 comments:

Marie said...

Just don't use the glue traps... the mice go "eep" "eep" while starving to death with their feet stuck. Gross.

dk said...

Aww wee hoose moose!
He might have come to say hello, offer you some moral support, mice are full of suprises...

Don't use poison, that's horrible, their insides dissolve - yuk. And don't use a mechanical trap either unless you have a very strong stomach. Not only is picking up a trap with a limp mouse a bit feechy, but often it smashes their skulls and splatters then around a bit. But worse, they often get winged and escape... that's when it gets really grim. You still reading?

They might limp off and die slowly, but twice in my experience when living in a little studio so i had no-where to run and nor did they... they actually came out to be finished off. I kid you not... one dragged itself all the way across the floor to the front door to await my return. But another sat by the trap... and when i came back at first it shuffled behind the cooker, but when i nipped to the lav it came out and sat in the middle of the floor and looked at me with complete understanding. I looked at it, it shuffled forward a bit more and sat waiting for the hammer blow... (One of a pair of timberlands actually)

I suggest a humane trap - give him a fighting chance. Or why not get a cage and keep him as a pet? they don't live very long - just don't handle him or you might catch something.
Trouble is... where there's one, there's usually more.. they tend to get brave and come out more... right after they've given birth and need the food... he might be she might be mummy! Eeek eek!

xox

Anne-Marie Weeden said...

ooh...very graphic.

I am horribly familiar with rodent guts. When about 14 I remember coming back from a ride and finding that my sister's guinea pigs (who lived in a cage by the stables) were squeaking in a horrified way. Looking into their cage, which was suspended on bricks to try and avoid just this sort of thing happening, I could see not one but two rat bodies clambering around, guzzling their food, with the poor little guineas cowering in the back, shaking and squeaking in fear. We'd discovered a hole in the back of their cage - which we'd stupidly blocked up with these bricks thinking this would prevent their entry. Apparently these were rats with superrodent strength.

I am not a natural with rodents, yet nor am I someone who will jump on the nearest chair and scream, but seeing how scared the guinea pigs were make me so angry I whipped open the cage door, plunged in my arm and grabbed one of them by the tail before he scarpered down the rathole at the back.

I dragged him out and then thought, what now? I was standing in our back garden, holding a teenage sized rat at the end of my arm, the damn thing threatening to climb up its own tail (that was freaking me out i can tell you - kept having to shake it loose so it wouldn't succeed and then be able to climb up my hand... yuck) and what was worse, we had the family dog with us who was getting incredibly over excited about it all and kept jumping up to try and catch the rat.

So what to do? I couldn't let it go. It had been terrorising the guinea pigs. If I did, the dog would go for it, and if he caught it, he might pick up some disease. I decided I had to kill it and dispose of it. I was grateful that I'd just jumped off a horse and was wearing gloves (they would go straight in a hotwash) and long boots. (Try to contain yourself with that image, I know its difficult...)

So I took a shovel and bashed the things brains out. I then went inside to get some old newspaper and plastic bags and picked up the pieces of teh rat and put it in the rubbish bin.

My stomach turned. The dog had to be held back in its excitement. And when my mother served up choped bacon and cheese baked potatoes for dinner that night, I couldn't bear to eat the bacon. It looked too much like the rat guts I'd spilled on the ground earlier.

So I don't have that strong a stomach, unless guinea pigs are under threat. And then I suddenly turn into their unlikely superhero.

But yes, I'd really rather go the humane route. But I should probably take it out for release somewhere like on old barn. I think it would die of exposure if I released it on Clapham Common of an evening. Poor thing is only a hoose moose after all....

Amanda Castleman said...

When my Buddhist tenant sunk the houseboat, I found a drowned rat in the wall and loads of gnawed wiring.

Never thought I'd say this, but: kill, kill, KILL!

Anne-Marie Weeden said...

"When your buddhist tenant sank the houseboat..."

Sounds intriguing. Am going to have to back scan your blog to find that entry....

Been meaning to email you re PDC and old banger rallies this week. Am feeling groggy with lack of sleep this morning but hope to have some time later on today. I will get the info to you - v excited about your interest. You should definitely do it. And although I'd love to accompany you, R and I have vague plans to drive a car to India, or Enfield bikes back from India, or both.... Not quite sure when or how we'll do it but we're looking into it....

But there are plenty of people in the UK who end up pairing up with others from wherever to do the PDC - Julian (the "dis-organiser") will probably be able to hook you up with someone. R himself was a single driver looking for a partner and scored a ride in a 1951 Minor.

You never know, your partner might even know how to fix a car.

dk said...

haha - boots and gloves...

you're lucky you didn't get bitten - my friend was bitten by one of hos pet rats and got terrible blood poisoning - and the doctor wouldn't believe his story and thought he was a heroin addict...

must go sink my landlord's houseboat...