Monday, November 17, 2008

Not a mouse

Lat week, or the week before, we saw a mouse (or so we thought at the time) in the bedroom. Being the proud owners of two fully capable cats, we paid it little mind other than to comment that it was going to be gross when they put it on our pillow.

In reality, our cats are majorly useless. They looked at the tiny dark shape running about the house, but made no real effort to catch it. I couldn't stand the thought of it running all over our stuff and making it's little home in one of our cereal boxes, so once I determined that the cats were not doing their share, I bought a mouse trap. It must have known, because I didn't see or hear it for days. Then, this weekend, the whole situation came to a boil.

It's one brave little stupid thing! You know what it had been eating? Where it had been spending all its little time? Where it had left all of its little presents? THE CAT FOOD. Yes, it was eating out of the cats' bowls. It was on. I baited the trap with peanut butter and left it near the cat food overnight.

In the morning, the trap was askew, but not tripped. I left it there, hoping to get it, when we saw it dashing around Jason's desk. Tabby actually TOUCHED it, but didn't seem to think any further action was neccesary. We lost it.

A while later I heard it, under the stove crunching cat food. That was the last straw. I pulled the drawer out from under the oven. I didn't see the dang thing. So, I pulled the oven away from the wall. It ran under the refridgerator. I pulled the fridge out. HA. It was nowhere to be seen. I was on my hands and knees cleaning out all of the dust from behind there when I saw the little bugger run from under the fridge to the oven where I was.

Let me take a moment to describe how I was feeling. I'm not a bug squisher. If I find a fly in the house, I'll shoo it out before I swat it. I'll trap a spider in a cup and put it on the wood pile. I've had a mouse in the house/library before and they don't scare me. I just didn't particularly want this one in my house. The trap we bought was a humane trap. The mouse runs in and the door shuts. Then you go let him out somewhere else. So, that being said, you must picture this:

Danica and I are both under the stove, because the drawer is pulled out. I have Jason's brand new great big flashlight in my hand. I keep catching glimpses of the "mouse" but can't get it. At this point, my brilliant idea was to put the lid for the crock pot over it and figure out what else to do later. It was by the sink, okay?

Here I am half under a large appliance, with a cat, and I see the thing. It's running toward my face in a little channel under the stove. I say to Jason: "That's not a mouse". It has a looooong pointy nose and no ears to speak of, and doesn't really care when I shine the light in it's face. I try to get it, and so does Jason, but it's off.

It runs across the room in a bold move not seen since the days of the library mouse running from a group of children. I runs... ...toward the trap. I chase it , and herd it into the trap with the flashlight. The trap closes. I pick it up and start saying, get in the truck get in the truck get in the truck, because it is fighting like crazy. No mouse could have made this trap move like it did. If i had not held the lid down, it would have been out in a heartbeat.

We did in fact get in the truck and we drove a few blocks away to an empty place, and sent him on his way. At this point, I thought it was a baby mole. It was no bigger than a mouse, but I didn't know how little moles might be when they first set out into the world. Then I remembered possibly imaginary pictures of tiny pink baby moles, they didn't have hair when they were that size. I thought, could it have been a shrew?

I had never encountered a shrew other than in discussion of owl pellets (you know you dissected one in school too) and the taming of. So, the good librarian I am, I googled it. It was a shrew. A short tailed northern shrew to be specific. Here's what I learned and why I didn't sleep that night:

Shrews are vicious. They will eat mice and take over their burrows. They have red teeth. They are the most common mammal in Indiana and Illinois. They use echolocation, and THEY ARE POISONOUS. Yes, their saliva poisons and paralyzes their prey. It makes me kind of glad that the cats didn't catch it. Because although I'm sure they don't have enough poison to hurt the cats, it might have put up quite the fight.

It's gone, and hopefully for good! Has anyone else had a shrew??


Rachel said...

That is sooooo creepy! I've never heard of someone having one in their house before. Eeeeeew.

However, a friend of mine did have a possum in her house. Not good.

RatsOnParade said...

For some reason I thought a shrew would be much cuter than that - like a mouse maybe, but with a longer nose. That, on the other hand, is disgusting! Glad you caught it!

Operation Pink Herring said...

Our family cat used to WATCH mice eat right out of her bowl with a bored look on her face. Ah, cats! That srew is terrifying, and makes me glad that the only thing I have to deal with here in baltimore is good old fashioned rats.