House Mouse 3, Humans 0

I like rodents.  Rodents are cool.  From the rat* to the capybara to the extinct giant guinea pigs of South America, rodents are probably my favourite mammal group.

Daemonelix, the fossilized burrow of an extinct beaver.

This is lucky, then, as we now have a rodent of our own.  And it is steadfastly resisting our efforts to re-house it.

I was away for a couple of nights when Hen first spotted it, a tiny grey blur dashing across the living room floor.  She texted me in surprise, saying it was cute but had scared the bejeezus out of her.

She saw it again the following night, and speculated I wouldn't believe her.  However, on my first evening back, it materialized from under the sofa and moved towards my plate on the floor, only dashing away again when I turned to look at it.  It was a house mouse, and it was grey, rather like this:

It was also now in possession of a name, as Hen had called it Cecil.  I asked if this was short for Cecil B. DeMouse, but apparently not.  It was just Cecil, because that was his name.

Experts told us that there is never just one mouse, and that you must strike fast to get rid of a potential infestation.  Unfortunately, there is difficulty in killing an animal with a name, so rather than simply buying poison or a trap, we decided to begin by trying out humane methods.

At the DIY store, we purchased a Rentokil ultrasonic mouse repellent and installed it.  The idea is that the device emits a frequency that humans can't hear, but which drives mice and rats out of the property.

That night, we waited and watched, and what happened?  Nothing.  Cecil just carried on regardless, scurrying around the room in complete freedom.  Giving the device a second chance we left it in place for the following evening, but our murine friend was not deterred.  Clearly he liked the sounds being pumped out:

Do you find this repellent?

So, the mouse having taken an early lead, we decided it was time to crank up our efforts, and try live capture.  Off into town I went, and purchased a ZeroIn Live Catch Mouse Trap for a fiver.

The best bait to use was apparently peanut butter (it wouldn't work on Hen, as she hates the stuff) so I bought some.  That night, we put some in the bait tray and set up the trap.  Would it succeed?

Next morning we came downstairs to find our answer.  No, it hadn't.  The bait had gone, but only one of the two trapdoors had closed, so the mouse had gone too.  He probably thought it was a lovely treat; he'd certainly licked up every last drop of peanut butter.

Now reeling from going 2-0 down, we gave the trap the same treatment as the ultrasonic repellent, and a second chance.  More peanut butter was spread on the tray, and the doors set to open.  And another night passed.

Morning came, as it often does, and I walked downstairs into the trap room.  The trap was there, and - hurrah! - both the doors were closed.  There was a lot of debris around it though, and no sign of a mouse inside.  And then I picked it up and looked at it.

A gnawed hole above the bait tray, just big enough for a mouse to escape through.

Cecil had won again.  The larger portion of peanut butter clearly gave him the energy to chew his way to freedom.  It was 3-0, and humanity was not faring well.

Soon, we should receive a second type of humane trap in the post.  This is a donation from an expert mouse-catcher, who assures us it will work.  Cecil had better hope it works too, for this is his last chance.  A fourth success for him and the big guns come out.

*World Rat Day is coming up on April 4th, apparently.