Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rat Is Better Fried

No, this is not a food post.

It's 1:57 AM. Do you know where your rat is?

I came across a mouse recently in my apartment. If you live in New York City, you will inevitably encounter some sort of creepy crawler such as a cockroach, a mouse, or even worse, a bed bug. Thankfully, this post is not about bloodsucking inhabitants. It is, however, about a mouse (or shall I call it a rat?) that no longer exists.

I once heard a rumor that vermin outnumber the people in New York City. I wouldn't be surprised if it were true. For every one human being born, a hundred vermin are let loose. Don't quote me on that.

Here are a few things I have learned in the past few weeks from my own mousy visitor(s).

1. You Are Not Alone
Very Scary

No, this is not about Michael Jackson even if the squeaky voice you hear makes you do the moonwalk.

I marched into Home Depot looking for mouse traps. One whole shelf was sold out and every time I returned there was already someone in the aisle buying an armful of poison and traps. I took comfort in knowing that I was not the only one with a vermin problem.

2. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Yes, this is about goals. The goal? Catch the mouse!

There are a variety of traps available to get the job done. I had received an array of advice from friends on how to deal with this problem. Good old fashioned wooden traps are best but if you want to be cruel (so I've heard) glue traps ensure a slow and tortuous death. As I stood in the aisle of Home Depot, I near fainted at the thought of picking up a trapped mouse. I ended up getting a variety of traps- glue, mouse houses, and a slightly upscale plastic trap which my friends describe as looking like a miniature Japanese toilet for Barbie.

3. There will be signs.

Sure enough, the next morning I found my kitchen counter sprinkled with mouse droppings. Mice will also sometimes leave marks from the oil on their feet.

4. Mice are creatures of habit.

I thought back to sophomore year of college. We tried to lead a mouse through a maze in Biology. Mice have poor eyesight. That is why they crawl along walls. They will also scurry away or freeze if they get startled.

I knew my mouse would be afraid of me. For sure it would hide or run away into one of my traps. The complete opposite happened. The mouse ran towards me and darted in a zig zag motion. Eeek! Everything I had learned in school was wrong! This mouse was fearless. It then ran away into the dark and onto the glue trap. I heard it wrestle with the trap. I was relieved that I caught it. I gave it a few minutes before I went to dispose of it. I was so puzzled when I looked and the mouse was nowhere to be found.

Some mice are strong enough to fight off a trap. I gave up on the glue traps and invested in more fancy plastic traps. Ortho makes inexpensive 2-packs of traps that are convenient for disposal. Once a mouse is trapped, you can lift by the trap's tab and never even touch the mouse. I am a big fan of this style of trap.

5. They don't die, they multiply.

Did you think Bebe's Kids were cute? I didn't. I thought they were annoying and I feel the same way about mice. My first catch snowballed into a pattern of catching one mouse daily with a break on the weekends. Where did the mice go? The Hamptons? I pinpointed the origin of the problem. There is construction on the building next door. When the construction stops on the weekends, the mice do not disperse.

I am now in the process of professional extermination. As a renter in New York, this service is provided by my building. I am comforted by the belief that this problem is only temporary.

Mouse or Rat?


  1. Why the hell would you want to be cruel?

    Giving a slow and tortuous death is just wrong on many levels.

    I would like to know how you would "dispose" an animal caught on a glue trap, and by that I hope you don't mean chucking it in the garbage. Which would mean you intentionally leaving it alive to suffer more.

  2. Perhaps my choice of words were a bit strong. I'm sorry. I am also not a vegetarian. Thanks for stopping by.