Tuesday, September 20, 2016

For the love of a mouse...

There was a very funny thread going on in one of our local Facebook groups yesterday.  A woman found a dead mouse in her laundry basket and wanted to know what she could do to get rid of the mouses's buddies, who were bound to be living close.  The woman quickly got answers from the community, including one from yours truly.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a few mouse droppings near our house and went looking for remedies.  I found out that peppermint oil supposedly repels vermin.  We have a big peppermint plant in our backyard, but that's nowhere near where I saw the poop.  Fortunately, I do happen to have some peppermint oil on hand that I bought when I wanted to try out some other faddish claim I found on the Internet.  I sprinkled the peppermint oil liberally near the areas where I've seen mouse crap.  I can't say it's totally eliminated it, but I do see a lot less.  Of course, we also have some pretty good mouser cats living nearby.

This cat is a monster mouser!  She also likes to jump out of hiding places and scare the shit out of our dogs and us!  Fortunately, she's very sweet.

Most of the other suggestions this lady was getting involved more violent methods of dispatching the mice.  Lots of people suggested traps.  Poisons may have been mentioned, although given Germany's strict rules about animal cruelty and toxic substances that may harm the environment, I don't think they were heavily discussed.  Personally, I am for methods of getting rid of pests that don't endanger other creatures.  Poison can easily end up harming cats, birds of prey, dogs, and children.

Anyway... there was one person in our group who was very much against killing the mice.  She left an impassioned plea that those who encounter the creatures simply catch and release them.  I thought that was kind of funny, since where I live, catch and release is no guarantee that a mouse will live out all its allotted days.  Besides the many cats and dogs who live in my neighborhood, there are also farmers working with heavy equipment.  Most days, I come across some dead creature that has been squashed by a tractor or combine.  Actually, my dogs usually discover them before I do.

I have a feeling the person who was commenting is a local who was distressed by the bloodthirsty attitude a number of Americans seem to have toward mice and rats.  Never mind the fact that our local groups mostly consist of people who are in the business of war, as well as their loving spouses, who are often in support of their mates' line of work.  We Americans see mice and rats as disease ridden varmints, but the lone dissenter among us sees them as intelligent, cute, and as deserving to live as protected as any human being is.  This song instantly comes to mind as I write this...

Michael Jackson sings to "Ben", a hapless rodent...

On the other hand, perhaps it was lost on the poster, a young woman who may not be well versed in history, that between 1346 and 1353, many Europeans died when rats infested with Oriental rat fleas came into contact with people of that time.  Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in the history of the human race.  I guess, even though it happened hundreds of years ago, many people are still holding a grudge and see mice and rats as disease carrying pests.  I, for one, also don't like rodents because they are messy and destructive and they can make a lot of noise.  But I grew up in a house with mice as well as in a barn, where mice and rats were forever trying to get into the sweet feed.

The drama that ensued over the dead mouse and the original poster's desire to kill more mice ended when the poster determined the heat had gotten to be too much.  She deleted her post, then issued an apology for "offending" people.  I would say that 99% of the people in our local groups have no sympathy for mice and thought it was crazy that the lady was being handed a ration of shit over her natural desire to be rid of the rodents.  But her apology post has ended up spawning a new post, which is now full of hilarious jokes and memes...  I may or may not have participated in the hijinks.

Sometimes it's fun to sit on my can and hang out on Facebook while watching trashy reality TV.  This is clearly what I spent seven years in college to do.

Incidentally, I recently discovered a trick for getting rid of maggots in my trash, which has been a real problem over the summer.  It turns out all you have to do is put a dryer sheet in the bin.  The flies don't like the scent or something, so they vamoose.  I tried it the other day and sure enough, the maggot population is vastly reduced.  I'm amazed by all the handy household tips I've learned as an Overeducated Housewife, especially since we've been in Germany.  I could write a book!  ;-) 


  1. You're becoming like Hints from Heloise, or whatever was the name of some column my mom remembers from when she was about five.

    I don't think I can live compatibly with a rodent or, even worse, more than one. I certainly wouldn't want to put anything out that would make area pets or even deer (we have a few here; the herbivores I believe, but I don't want to take chances with poison) unsafe. Ashley Madison is supposed to be an inside ct, but she sneaks out every now and then, and as often as not catches a mouse when she's out. If there were a mouse inside the condo, I'm confident that she would find it long before I did.

    That's totally cool about dryer sheets and maggots being incompatible. I'm sure my mom wishes she had known that when Matthew and I were in diapers. We apparently had the grossest trash bin on the block, and maggots bred in there as though it was an Olympic event and they were the consistent gold medalists.

    1. Well, the weather has gotten a lot chillier here in the past few days and that may also have something to do with it. But yes, I do think the dryer sheets help.

      As for mice, I have lived with them and prefer not to. I have seen a lot of dead mice and emptied a lot of mouse traps. Unfortunately, they are a bit like roaches and if you see one, there are a lot more you haven't seen. Ignorance is bliss.


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