When we moved into our house that backs onto a public path, we had no idea the mouse problem we were in for. They appear in our house year round, leaving evidence of their presence on our kitchen countertops. Disgusting as it is, I hate killing them. Their little twitchy noses and beady eyes are so endearing. I used to catch them in a humane trap and take them to a park six miles from my house to release them. Then I came to realize that they would probably starve in the snow, get eaten by a predator, or find their way into someone else’s house and be killed there, so why was I bothering? Besides, I got tired of chauffeuring a mouse to the park every few days.
I got cold-hearted and started buying snap traps. But they don’t always work the way they’re supposed to, and I can’t stand causing suffering to any animal. So last weekend I spent $30 on a trap that is supposed to electrocute mice quickly as soon as they walk into it. I set it up on the kitchen counter, loaded it with peanut butter bait, and waited. In the morning, I found evidence of a mouse in the kitchen, but no one in the trap. Sometimes I think they are smarter than me.
Now that’s it’s springtime, the ants are back too, marching two by two into my kitchen. One of my five-year-old twins delights in whacking them with a fly swatter. Borax traps seem to work fairly well. Every summer, bees somehow get into our basement. They die quickly if they can’t escape, but we recognize the value of bees and always trap them as soon as we see them and release them outside.
There are outdoor critters to contend with as well. The racoons are cute when they appear at night and lounge on our deck furniture, but not so cute when they take up residence in the crawlspace above the bathroom, and then fall through the eaves. Or rip through our trash bags and scatter garbage everywhere. We hope we’ve blocked things up well enough this year so they won’t be back.
Meanwhile, rabbits and groundhogs who live under the deck drive me crazy chewing up my garden. If I don’t cover my vegetables with netting, the plants are quickly reduced to stumps.
But what do we expect? We've encroached on their habitat, and we can hardly blame them for taking advantage of a free meal, can we?
What critters do you have invading your house and garden?
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