When it comes to critters — mice, possums, lizards, snakes, spiders and the like — we do not kill, we catch and release.
When it comes to critters — mice, possums, lizards, snakes, spiders and the like — we do not kill, we catch and release.

The perils of humane pest control

THERE'S a mouse in our house.

A diabolically clever mouse, actually. A mouse that, thus far, has eluded all attempts to catch it.

Notice I said "catch" it, not "kill" it. We are big on the whole "Thou shalt not kill" law in our family, at least when it comes to doing the actual deed ourselves. We, will however, chow down on a T-bone with a side of chips with the best of them. We are also big on hypocrisy in our family.

But when it comes to critters - mice, possums, lizards, snakes, spiders and the like - we do not kill, we catch and release.

A mouse in the house may make you rouse but is murdering the furry little guy really the best way? Picture: Supplied
A mouse in the house may make you rouse but is murdering the furry little guy really the best way? Picture: Supplied

I know, ridiculous and futile.

But you try looking into your daughter's eyes when she says, "You're not going to hurt the mouse, are you, mamma?" and answering, "Why, yes, Virginia, I am. I'm going to place a lovely piece of Gouda in a trap so that when our little friend comes along, it will trigger a spring-loaded bar that will swing down and break its neck, or spinal cord, depending on impact".

I can't do it, and not only because of my children. I can't bear the thought either. We are clearly not a farming family.

And so it is, that we have set out some non-killing traps in strategic positions throughout our home, cleverly deducing where to place them by the presence of mouse droppings in the area.

The idea is that the mouse will be happily scurrying around our house, sniff the peanut butter, wander into the trap for a bit of a nibble, and bam!

Down comes the tiny barricade, and he will be trapped - but alive - inside the box so we can take him into the bush, and he can make his way back to our house a week or so later.

They can be crafty little rascals. Picture: Bentley
They can be crafty little rascals. Picture: Bentley

Only he won't go in. Yes, despite the proliferation of strategically placed traps around our home, our mouse, apparently the Ethan Hunt of the rodent world, manages to evade every single one of them.

Our solution is to buy more traps and live in fear that one of us will stand in it.

We have form in this sort of thing. A few years ago, we found a very-near-death possum at our back door that had obviously been attacked.

He was in a very bad way, but instead of doing what all our friends advised, which was to "hit it over the head with a shovel and put it out of its misery", we instead decided to take it to the 24-hour vet to be euthanised at great expense.

So my husband put it in a box, and set off for the 20-minute drive to the emergency vet, whereupon, about halfway through that drive the possum decided to spring miraculously back to life.

Imagine, if you will, a man in a fairly small car with a fairly agitated possum and you may
have some idea of the carnage that followed.

In the meantime, any suggestions on how to get rid of our rodent will be gratefully accepted.

@franceswhiting


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