|Mice! How cute are they?|
It’s great that mice exist, because they occupy an important place in the Food Chain as both bottom-end scavenger and hawk fodder. We know that they serve an important purpose because they have a spot in so many ecosystems. They are quite literally everywhere. And not just in the natural world.
Just look at the TV. Cute little rodents do a fair trade in entertainment imagery, from Mickey and Minnie to Ratatouille, and even Mouserat, Pawnee Indiana’s #1 band.
I myself was deeply affected in my youth by Beverley Cleary’s book Ralph S Mouse. Ralph, a mouse who can talk, rides a tiny toy motorcycle and is befriended by a boy named Ryan. I know, Ryan! I couldn’t believe it! I wanted a friend like Ralph so badly I left food under my bed like a ritual offering or a bribe.
And now, many years on, the mice have finally come to visit; they’re everywhere no longer just a concept. It now includes our walls, nooks and crannies. But I’m not as happy as I thought I’d be all those years ago. In fact – I can’t believe I’m saying this – I’d really prefer we had no mice at all.
I harbour no ill will towards them. They are after all just mice doing their mouse things. Unfortunately those ‘mouse things’ involve so so much tiny defecation under the washing machine. This is even more unfortunate because not only is defecating on the floor of a stranger’s house to which you have not been invited really bad manners, but also because their poop can carry diseases.
And so we’ve been busy with the bleach and disinfectant, rubber gloves and masks, cleaning up after them. And for preventive measure I’ve taken to stuffing every single nook and almost 100% of our kitchen crannies with steel wool to try and cover up the many many entrance holes available to them.
I thought they were getting the message, but the other night we saw eveidence that they had returned.
So now I’ve switched tactics – I no longer am trying to keep them out, I’m trying to lure them in, using a live trap. It’s pretty small, I would’ve preferred a much larger and more complex labyrinth for them to enter. One that would so befuddle and vex them that by the time they found their way to the exit they would’ve left on their own accord, shaking their tiny heads and vowing never to return to our House of Madness.
But the Happy Pound shop was all out of those mazes, so I got this simpler version, pictured above.
Hopefully we can get the mouse (or mice) to come for some delicious snack in our tiny maze, and, finding their exit sealed off to them, they will take a nap. Then I can chance upon them and take them out to the wild. Some sort of rescue and re-habitation, so they can run free again, as they were meant to do, fur and whiskers rustling in the breeze, puffed up with the empowered spirit that comes from knowing that, where they once scurried about in the cracks of a house like fugitives, they now had all the Hackney marshes to run free upon.
Provided they stay out of the eyeline of hawks. Such is the nature of the food chain.