Mouse Mad About The
AWEEK back, I spotted a mouse shinning up the cord that held our bird feeder above the reach of the local grey squirrel.
That mouse was doing a high-wire act of epic proportions in his attempts to reach the peanuts there. He was a woodmouse – the most common of our small mammals, with approximately one for every two people in the UK.
I was full of admiration for his determined effort.
Not so my wife, Maxeen. It was a reminder of the problems we’ve been having with the mouse’s kith and kin over the past few weeks.
“We’re over-run!” she declared.
True, we had been somewhat inundated with the creatures recently. It seemed our abode had become a refuge for the local rodent population.
As the day ends,
Dextrous Dan’s mate wakes from her afternoon sleep and stretches in her nest.
Her stretch wakes her young from a litter born two weeks ago. She touches them and smells them, checking their condition.
Her young will be weaned and completely independent in another two weeks.
sources. Keep such items in tight-fitting containers. Make sure all floors, sinks and counter tops are kept clean and free from food debris.
3. Find any entry points where mice can get in. Mice can squeeze through holes less than ¼ inch wide. Fill in gaps round all pipes in walls, cupboards and along skirting boards.
Dan and his friends seem to be very content with their accommodation. Even a Pied Piper worthy of his tune would have had a hard job to give them their marching orders.
In the past weeks, they’ve led us a merry dance. Having waited most of the day, they set off to patter nightly across the loft and abseil down the wall voids.
I hear squeaks of delight as they drop down to rummage in the kitchen cupboards for a tasty morsel or two.
Camembert, brie and roquefort seem to be particular favourites.
Then there’s the problem of droppings.
“It’s unhygienic,” Maxeen complained as she swept out the piles she found behind some jars of flour.
I had a couple of
Longford traps – the ones used to capture mice alive – but my merry band seemed to sense that scuttling into a steel box after cheese wouldn’t bode well for them. They avoided the traps like the plague.
“Perhaps if I moved things around, it would put them off,” I suggested, the doubt in my voice showing how unconvinced I was.
A mouse likes undisturbed territory, and a box moved is a crisis for him. So maybe shifting things around could put Dextrous Dan and family off their nocturnal wanderings and confuse them into shifting quarters.
The only confusion occurred in Maxeen.
“Where have you put the Shreddies?” she demanded one breakfast time.
“I can’t find the biscuits anywhere,” she moaned on another occasion.
When I swapped the salt container for a similar one that held sugar, she poured salt on her cereal.
Not a sweet moment for her. Or me.
Not content with the kitchen, Dextrous Dan extended his territory.
I’ve got an unsavoury habit of snacking in bed. This means a plate of crumbs and the occasional apple core is left on the bedside cabinet.
Two nights back, just as I was about to turn off my light, a mouse skipped on to the plate, lifted the apple core between his paws, then dashed off.
I wondered if it was Dextrous Dan, the cheeky mouse I’d seen weaving up the cord to the bird hopper. I wouldn’t be surprised.
How sweet. So I decided to take a picture.
Last night, with camera balanced on a chair, I was ready, sprawled across the bed in my underwear.
“What are you up to?” Maxeen queried, coming into the room.
I tried to explain.
“I’m hoping to get a pic of the woodmouse that’s been stealing my apple cores.”
“You’re obsessed,” Maxeen declared, getting into bed and switching her bedside light off.
The mouse appeared.
“Say cheese,” I squeaked as I clicked my camera.
A family of woodmice lead Malcolm D. Welshman a merry dance . . .
Malcolm is the author of “An Armful Of Animals”, available on Amazon. For more information, visit www.malcolmwelshman.co.uk.
Dextrous Dan, the woodmouse.