Article from “Ins & Outs” local paper – “Julie’s Corner”

Julie McCullough

Well, it’s that time of the year again when furry little rodents scurry from the bush and wherever else they live when food is plentiful, to our homes, sheds and all other areas of OUR domain.

I know some people find mice rather cute but, sorry, I don’t. To me, they are smelly, annoying little buggers that make a big mess when seizing the chance, not to mention the spoiled food if they gnaw a hole in the packet or grain that is lost once they chew into a bag.

Most people probably have a good mouser cat to keep the rodent population under control. We have two cats. Notice I left out the ‘good mouser’ part? Our dog, Chevy, would catch more rodents than both cats put together.

It’s always handy to have a resident carpet snake living in your shed. We’ve had a few, but unfortunately, have had to move them on because some have tasted chicken… I can handle the smaller ones, but Terry comes and takes the big ones. We have two spoilt cats.

Of course you can put out baits. But you have to be careful nothing else eats it, or eats the poisoned mice. Most rodents head for water after eating the poison, so check chook water bowls for them and even your tank strainers. Someone found a dead rat right beside their tank inlet. Phew…imagine if it had’ve made it into the strainer and they didn’t find it until their water was ruined.

I try not to use baits too much, but they are necessary at times. I keep the opened box on a high shelf in the laundry, which is downstairs. Last year when the mice were bad, I went into the laundry early one morning to get the box of ratsak. I brought it down and nearly sprung off my feet when a mouse jumped out of the opened box and kamikazied into the laundry sink. I watched it and then saw his mate already in the sink. The end of a tail was also sticking out of the plug hole – the one with 6 small holes around another middle hole. SMALL holes! The tail disappeared and, I have no idea how, the other two rascals followed their mate, squeezing through and down the plughole. I couldn’t resist!  I turned on the hot water tap and sent them on their merry way with hot little bums. Our grey water (most is bucketed to gardens) comes out down the paddock a little bit, so I guess a hungry kookaburra would have grabbed them. Did I mention we have two spoilt, starving-when-let-in-at-dawn cats?

Then there are traps. The little cage traps are a bit mean. I dropped one containing four mice into a bucket of water once, but felt bad knowing they drowned. These days I let them out for Chevy to catch and crunch in two seconds flat. More efficient than our two spoilt, starving-when-let-in-at-dawn and sleep-all-day cats!

Our spring mouse traps are so well used they barely work anymore. My favourite bait is peanut paste. They can’t just take it and run if the trigger sticks.

About 13 years ago, mice were in plague proportions in the area. We were catching around 10 a night in traps in and around the house. Sometimes they’d all go off before bed, so we’d take out the luckless mice and reset the traps.

One night, the trap beside the stove went off just after we went to bed. I thought I’d take care of it in the morning. A few minutes later, ‘rattle, rattle, rattle’. I was just through the wall from the kitchen, so it was quite loud.  Two minutes later another, ‘rattle, rattle, rattle’. And again! It was too  much. Thinking the caught mouse must need putting out of its misery, I got up to investigate.  Shining my torch toward it, another mouse took off from the trapped one.  I put the kitchen light on to a horrifying sight.  The trapped one was being eaten by the other one. It now had a big chunk out of its side.  Not sure I’d have believed it if I hadn’t been a witness.

Years earlier they were bad as well. Where I lived had a feed room beneath the house. With about six traps set, I had to empty and reset them several times a day. So thick were the mice that I even found two caught in the same trap.  Later on, I went in and frowned. One dead mouse lay not far from one caught in a trap. I picked it up by the tail. Fresh blood covered its nose and mouth. The trap had flipped over. I can only conclude that as the trap flipped with one mouse caught firmly in its grasp, it hit this other unlucky one fair and square in the head and killed it stone dead!  True story!

We didn’t have a cat then. But that wouldn’t have mattered. Cheers, Julie.



Share Post: