Zhaba Zhournal
Tuesday, September 28, 2004 
Wee, sleekit, not very timorous 
In addition to the nine spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus) in cages upstairs, we have an unsanctioned regular mouse (Mus musculus) in the house, and a very bold one, at that. I know it's a bad habit, but we've been keeping the bird food in a box on the floor near her cage, and haven't always reclosed all the bags; yes, that's basically a neon sign saying "All-Nite All-U-Can-Eat Mouse Buffet." But we haven't actually had any mice before; at least not that we could prove. So this morning I'm sitting on the couch next to the birdcage, and I hear a distinct plastic-bag-rustling noise from below; I make sure I'm sitting perfectly still, the bird's in her cage, J. is on the other couch—and there's the rustling noise again. There's definitely something in there. (Please let it be a mouse and not a giant bug.) Sure enough, as I lean over to look, a small, sleek brown mouse pokes its head out of the box, assesses the situation, and bolts for cover under the couch. Me, to J. (in a much calmer voice than the one I use to announce cockroaches): "Mouse."

J.: "What?"



"We should do something about it."


"Well, eventually."

(We'll set traps tonight, after the bird is securely locked in her cage; and before we left for work I sealed all the bird food bags and emptied the loose seed from the box.)

Anyway, the reason I said it's a bold mouse is that it didn't leave the box until well after we'd come downstairs, turned on the lights and the TV, uncovered the bird cage, made coffee and breakfast—usually mice disappear, like roaches, as soon as you turn on a light or your footsteps contact the floor anywhere near them. Then again, how much motivation would you need to leave an all-night all-you-can-eat buffet with food portions bigger than your entire body?

(I don't feel especially good about mousetraps, but I certainly don't want loose, unsanctioned mice roaming around the house chewing on things and pooping everywhere. And catch-and-release traps are all very well and good when you live in the suburbs or the country; but in a block of rowhouses, there's nowhere to release anything you caught in your house without looking like you're trying to visit vermin upon your neighbors. [Not that some of them couldn't use a minor plague—especially the people with those awful yappy dogs—but "live, let live, and don't get egged" is our South Philly modus vivendi.])

[ at 4:00 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

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