Prairie Notebook

Mice get me worked up

It snapped while I was driving.

I’ve been riding around with a mousetrap on the rear driver’s floor of my car for about three weeks after a mouse tunneled a hole into a loaf of bread that I bought. I had left the bread overnight on the backseat one extremely cold evening when I had too much to carry into the house. The next day I went out to find a pile of something that looked like someone had emptied a foam pillow onto my back seat after first grinding up the contents.

When I picked up the three loaves of bread, the rustic wheat had a tunnel from the back end into the loaf, the length and circumference of a mouse.

Now, I’ve had a little experience with mice so I was a quick detective in this case.

Several years ago, I swear that a church mouse got a ride to our house in the fluff of the insides of a stuffed polar bear. There was a hole where a bear sits, and the church staff had seen a mouse in the worship house. It’s my best guess that the mouse lived with us for 17 days. I counted.

But first it crawled up my pajama-clad arm when I was resting in the dark on our couch, arm flopped out. I brushed it off, heard a small thump, flipped on a light and saw it run behind a bookcase in the dining room.

I posted a farm cat inside by the piece of furniture, and it looked at me like I was dreaming. But I wasn’t. For the next couple weeks, we heard the mouse in our closet and had several tripped traps. We tried all kinds of methods of catching the mouse, even weaving string in the peanut butter bait hoping it would slow the mouse down because maybe she wanted to put together a nest, if she was a she. We used sticky traps, round traps that close when a rodent runs inside and the conventional snap traps.


So, in desperation and because we were half crazy by that point, we surrounded a conventional trap with four sticky traps and made sure a bunch of string was in the peanut butter.

It worked.

Recently, a friend told me how she and her husband trapped a mouse by the tail last week. She was lucky enough to be able to scoop it up with a fireplace shovel and fling it out the patio door into the snowy yard. That mouse proceeded to run all over the yard pulling the trap as if it were a toboggan.

That mental picture made me giggle several times that day.

With our car mouse, my husband set a trap that night, and we had a dead mouse the next morning. But just in case there was a partner, he reset the trap again. I’ve been riding around with that trap since, but it has remained vacant.

We aren’t sure where this month’s mouse came from. I have a two-year-old car so it should be pretty tight, I did buy some groceries that day, including a big bag of overripe and discounted bananas. But if a mouse was hiding in that sack at the grocery store, it seems like it would have jumped out and ran up my arm because that is not improbable or unrealistic for me.

My husband thinks it hid in my computer bag at the office and crawled out into the car, to which I have responded with an eye roll. My co-workers have NEVER seen evidence of a mouse at the office.

I’m certain it didn’t come from the bread, since I carried the loaves out just like they came off the shelf without an extra sack.

Honestly, I don’t think this mystery will ever be solved.

We never saw signs of any more mice after catching the bread thief. But when I left work Friday, I heard a loud snap behind me, and I flinched. The trap, I thought, immediately thankful no mouse has ever sprinted up my pant leg while I’m driving.

I waited until I got home to check out the back seat. The trap was sprung, certainly. But not to worry.

Somehow, I managed to send my upright computer bag sprawling onto the trap. I think it’s time to take some chances and ditch that mouse reminder.

© 2019-Moody County Enterprise

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