This is not about anything in particular, it’s just a story.

Years ago, I got mice in my house. It was a cold, wet winter, and I live by a stream, and they discovered a place that was warm and dry. They invited themselves in. They sometimes left tiny packages for me to clean up. I sometimes spied them scurrying around, at night. One startled a woman I was getting to know. She was pretty cute. The mice were becoming annoying.

I’m not into killing things. I bought some Hav-a-Hart traps, and actually caught several of the mice. Whenever I did, I drove out to an open field, and set them free. It didn’t matter. They kept coming in. I think they may have had email or PM capabilities. Anyway, the word was out that my house was warm and dry and that I didn’t kill them. After a while, I started to think I should. But I didn’t.

Eventually, I made a thorough inspection of the outside of my home, and figured out how they were getting in. I plugged the holes. Problem solved. I didn’t kill any of them, and they stopped bothering me.

It was a cold, wet winter, and I don’t know what happened to the mice. I have neighbors. Maybe they invaded their homes. Judging from the number of mice, though, my house wasn’t essential to their survival. It was just easy.

I suppose I could feel badly for not having been more friendly and welcoming to the mice. I don’t.


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    • pico on October 8, 2007 at 21:18

    they asked us to ‘take care’ of a mouse they’d caught in their basement.  To our horror, they’d used a glue trap, which has to be the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen in the arena of pest control.  The mouse gets trapped in the glue, and in its desperation (especially once starvation starts to set in), it rips itself apart trying to escape.  Chunks of flesh and hair mired in glue. 

    Don’t feel bad for plugging the holes in your house; there are much worse things you could have done.

    • oculus on October 8, 2007 at 21:38

    varmits.  American Haul-Away arrived (love that name).  One big black plastic bag was moving from the inside.  Quite a racket.  Crew chief pick up my iron garden rake and bashed the bag into silence.  Some friends sd., why didn’t you relocate them?  Too late now.

    Second personal testimony:  small mice in garage, including in the washing machine if the top was left open; result:  very clean, dead mice. 

    • nocatz on October 8, 2007 at 21:48

    to get a ……..
    never mind.

  1. a mouse problem. I have two fine cat’s who are good huntresses. I could not figure out how the mice got in, and why it looked like the same mouse over and over. I found that my cats bring them in don’t kill them, but love to toy with them. So it’s back on me to either kill them or remove them. The cats they want to keep them as they are entertainment. No metaphor true mouse problem. Rat’s on the other hand both me and the cats are in agreement with, dead and gone. 

  2. … “I hate meeces to pieces!”

    It was a cartoon character, I think.

  3. people had no problem sharing their homes with rodents, but saw cats as a sign of the devil. so rodents, hosting the fleas that infected humans with the plague, were given refuge

    and the cats, who would have kept rodents at bay, were banned

    who ever said there was some grand design to life…


  4. Fellow humans can be equated to vermin.

    The privatization of everything about American existence has driven speech completely out of the public sphere where it has constitutional protections and into the private sphere where it has none but the whims of the owners (“my house”).

    Thank you for thinking about this Turkana and laying out the philosophical basis for your actions so concisely and memorably. Recommended.

  5. It’s them–or us!

    • robodd on October 9, 2007 at 00:05

    Not exactly an endangered species.

    What if they were rats?  Roaches?

  6. me of an experience I had in the Peace Corps in Honduras.

    Everyone who was in training had to go spend a week with a volunteer in his or her site.

    I happened to live in a village on the beach and had a terrible problem with flying roaches. They were making me neurotic. First of all, when I saw them on a wall and would try to kill them, they would just take off and come right at me, buzzing the top of my head. Ick! Then, every day I would have to shake out my clothes before putting them on because they were always in there too, especially folded tshirts. That was the part that would make me the most neurotic.

    They would also leave shit stains on my t-shirts as well as my books. I found that particularly revolting. I even went home with a wonderful wall hanging from Guatemala that had stains that even the dry cleaner couldn’t get out.

    If I had a bottle of soda, if I didn’t rinse it out and left it overnight, it would ALWAYS have a roach in the bottom the next day. One time I had this little tin can that my mother had sent me some candy in. Even though I rinsed it out, I found a roach at the bottom of it one day. I closed it up for a month to see what would happen. Well, as you can imagine, the fucking little thing was JUST FINE in there with a small amount of oxygen and no food. Argh! The only thing that kept the population down were those roach motel kind of traps that I would get from New York on the holidays.

    I was always aware of those things out of the corner of my eye, and it made it hard to totally relax sometimes. I got used to the big cane spiders because I appreciated that they ate mosquitos, but I never adjusted to the roach situation.

    So, the trainee who was assigned to stay with me for a week was a woman from Colorado. She didn’t really like the cockroaches, but she  didn’t want me to kill them either.

    I, on the hand, would stamp them out whenever possible, because they were driving me crazy. She felt so bad for the roaches. She didn’t want to kill sentient beings. I felt no guilt about smashing them to bits, or sympathy for her position. She remained appalled at my willingness to kill them instead of just letting them out of the house.

    After training she lasted three months before she gave up and went home.

    I couldn’t help thinking it had something to do with what happened when it was time for her to confront those cockroaches all by herself.

      • oculus on October 8, 2007 at 22:35
  7. and great point!

    • oculus on October 9, 2007 at 05:31

    in medicine.  Subject:  Mice.
    Nobel winners

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