Having recently given column space to cats, it seems I must now give some equal time to its archenemy, the mouse — but only because recent mouse tales made me holler with laughter.Around here mice are something of a rarity. Rats are our bigger concern but now and again, the smaller, almost cute mouse will turn up and, we now have evidence that, just like people, some are brighter than others. My biologist brother used to scold me for anthropomorphizing wild things, giving them human-like qualities, names and such. He had no sense of whimsy but then scientists rarely do. And he apparently had not met the mice that inhabited my friend’s pantry down near Ponto Beach.
Not having had mice problems farther inland, she continued to store her dog’s food in its original bag. One evening, she saw the critter dash across the kitchen floor and tracked it to a hole in the dog food bag.
“It seems I had a clever mouse and a not-so-smart mouse,” she reported. Once she spotted her new tenant, she put out a mousetrap baited with peanut butter. The very next day, the careless mouse was found caught in the trap. For good measure, she put out another, again with peanut butter. This time the trap was found un-sprung but missing its bait. This happened twice more and she could envision this crafty rodent with either a long, agile tongue or the toes of a safecracker. My friend was stalking a dexterous and careful creature.
Next, she loaded the trap with Romano cheese, sprinkled in and around it. The next day, just the cheese surrounding the trap was gone. She was impressed but determined. It does nothing for one’s self-esteem to be outsmarted by a mouse.
This time two traps with Romano went down, with hopes of simply overwhelming the little peanut butter, cheese and dog food thief. Bingo…The next morning, the clever, but now too smug, mouse was caught.
She shared her victory with me and sounded pretty certain her mouse troubles were over, until I reminded her that word had probably gone out now that her place served peanut butter and Romano cheese.
Let’s hope they don’t have restaurant critics.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who wants the wild things to stay in the wild. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.