Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mouse Relocation

Last winter, Paul and I had our first experience with a mouse in our apartment. We never actually saw the thing, but someone was clearly chowing down on the food in our cabinets and leaving little droppings everywhere -- not really something we wanted happening in our house. We decided, eventually, that we didn't want to kill the creature, but we did need it removed -- besides the destruction of our food, mice can carry diseases dangerous to humans, which is a little scary -- so we settled on a humane mouse trap that came highly recommended to us*, prepared our bait, and waited for the little monster to fall for it.

The next morning, we heard scurrying sounds coming from the trap and were almost afraid to look, because we didn't want to see the dirty, grimy creature that we imagined would be inside. But we did look, and it wasn't a monster, but a little puffball with big round eyes and ears, a rusty red back and shining white belly, and as soon as we saw it both Paul and I immediately exclaimed: "Awwww!"

The little mouse turned out to be a White-footed Mouse**, which is a native species, and not the introduced (European) House Mouse that most frequently causes problems in human homes. We dubbed our new friend "Cracker", and released him/her in a park a few minutes drive away.

So now that we are experienced mouse relocators, we were all ready to deal with the little house guest that made its presence known in our cupboard last night. Again, we set our trap, and were greeted this morning by another adorable White-footed Mouse face. Paul had a hard time letting this one go (they really are cute, and this one seemed curious and friendly), but we drove "Cracker II" out to the woods and gave him/her a chance at a new life -- there won't be any crunchy granola bars out there, but there also (hopefully) won't be poisons or baited death traps, so maybe it's a good trade.

Cracker II paused for a picture before bounding off, with astonishingly high leaps, over the dry leaves and into the woods:

Goodbye, little fellow, and good luck!

Two mice in two years doesn't seem too bad, so we're just hoping that we don't start to see an increase in numbers. From what I've read, White-footed Mice don't tend to nest in people's homes, so maybe we'll be OK. You're welcome to keep living, pretty little creatures, we just don't want you in our pantry. :)

*If anyone's curious, the trap we use is the Smart Mouse Trap, and it's worked perfectly right away, both times we've put it out.
**It's also possible that this could be a Deer Mouse, which looks almost exactly the same as the White-footed Mouse. However, most of the sources I've seen don't extend the Deer Mouse's range into Southern Connecticut, so White-footed Mouse is my best guess.


  1. So cool! We used to live-trap Peromyscus in stone walls all around southern CT for Lyme disease surveys that summer I worked for the tick lab. We'd pop the little guy (or gal) into a Ziploc bag with ether-treated cotton balls and, once sleepy, pick off any ticks. Then we'd let the mouse wake up and send him/her back off into the stone wall.

    They're very beautiful, aren't they? I think it's very interesting that you've had Peromyscus twice, but none of the little beady-eyed "house mice" that my mom and dad would get over the mountain in Cheshire. Country mice/city mice, perhaps?

  2. Shall I tell you the tale of the mice that ate holes in all the the natural fiber garments in one of our closets? Didn't touch anything synthetic, microfiber, etc. Discriminating taste?!

    Then there was the morning that one was throwing spaghetti at us out of the kitchen cabinet - well, actually knocking it out in its desperate attempt to flee from the invasive people, but the first makes a better story :-).

    I'm told - and I want to believe - if you live at all near woods, and you have an older home - they are inevitable. Your 'portrait' as she bounded off into the woods was quite wonderful! Good luck!

  3. Megan: Aw, I bet the little guys were grateful for the free tick-removal! :P I'm also quite surprised that we haven't gotten house mice yet, and I feel like your parents aren't much more in the city than we are, so I'm not sure what the reason might be for the difference. Maybe our recently-relocated friend will find an old stone wall to live in... That sounds cozy and fun!

    hikeagiant2: Yikes! The mice haven't made it into our closets yet, thank goodness! Yeah, it sounds like we're bound to have mousey visitors in our house -- and it's fine with me as long as they keep coming one at a time and not too often! :P