With the temperature falling into the teens last week, critters all over these Carolina Hills are re-doubling their efforts to prepare for winter. Staying warm is a definite priority for mammals so you can’t blame a little field mouse for squeezing himself into the warmth of an aging double-wide with lots of little gaps and holes.
I first noticed mouse droppings about three weeks ago. They seemed confined to the kitchen sink area so, taking advice from my neighbor, I plugged all the holes I could find with steel wool. The problem is that field mice are tiny and can squeeze through openings that are unbelievably small, so small that humans do not even see them sometimes. Ridding my home of mice could be a challenge and a trauma. The mechanical and chemical means of eliminating such creatures are not for the faint of heart. Remember, dear readers, this is a woman who has owned and loved gerbils.
Two nights ago I heard rustling in the cabinet where I store things like crackers and egg noodles. Tango Dog and Rainbow Cat, sat transfixed in front of the cabinet, looking up as if watching a big screen TV on the wall. I opened the door and there he was, nestled happily in the new, and previously unopened, bag of egg noddles. The clear plastic packaging made for perfect viewing. We made eye contact and then he was off like a shot.
I reapplied steel wool, moved the dry goods to plastic tubs, cleaned up and hoped for the best.
The next night, at about 3 a.m., I awoke to a ruckus in the living room. It was the cat and I knew immediately what was going on. Switching on the light I found the cat by the hall cupboard, peering intently behind it. The mouse was cornered. Tango quickly joined in the fun. Realizing there was nothing I could do, I wished the mouse well and went back to bed. I suspect Rainbow was there most of the night, waiting for the rodent to make a misstep. Tango, being no fool, came back to bed with me.
This morning the mouse was still cornered. As I came out of the bedroom I looked behind the cupboard and there he was. His little head emerged from an opening in the back of the cupboard. It quickly pulled back when he saw me. Tango saw all this too and he was back in the hunt.
Thankfully it was a wonderfully mild and sunny morning. I propped open the front door and hoped the mouse was smart enough to make a dash for freedom. It took a while for the coast to clear. The cat lost interest and went for her pre-nap nap. Tango stayed on the case but eventually his interest flagged as well. The mouse, I think, made his escape. There was a brief skirmish by the door and Tango went running to the deck and down into the hedge. I’ve seen no further signs of the mouse today. Guess we’ll learn more tonight. Of course there is never just one mouse … ❧