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Of Mice And Elephants

Mice. They’re so small and cute. Harmless. Oh, sure, I’d heard stories like “The House That Jack Built” where a mouse was evil and got into the grain. But we don’t have any grain silos or barns full of corn so who cares, right?

Then, it happened. One day, I opened my car trunk and found plastic bags with holes obviously made by teeth. Two bathrobes were chewed upon, one to the point of no return. Various other objects with bits shredded out of them.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. Oh, no. The worst of it was the smell.

Urine. Strong urine.

My husband lifted the trunk bottom thingy that sits above the spare tire and there they were. A mother mouse and her babies, lying in a nest of suspiciously familiar materials.

This happened not once, not twice, but – what? Three times? At least twice he found mice inside the nest, and several more times just found nesting material.

At that point, I grew a brain and cleaned out my trunk. Good-bye, emergency supplies.

But it was not only the trunk that reeked of pee and was littered with mouse feces. Those critters like my car so much that they made themselves at home on the floorboards in the front and back, as well.

I will skip the sordid story of how we finally decided to get the car professionally cleaned and how, when the car continued to smell like mouse pee (although not as much) I decided to scrub baking soda paste everywhere…and then it would not vacuum out like I thought it would.

And then it still. Smelled. Like. Pee.

Prevention is the best key, right? So I told J to keep the trunk open on non-rainy nights, and I began setting live traps in the trunk to capture the little buggers. I did so with a prayer that the ants wouldn’t find the peanut butter which I used as bait.

It worked…for about five days. And then the ants came marching. Into my trunk to eat the peanut butter in the trap.

*SIGH.* So I gave up.

But a couple of weeks later, J decided to try the traps again, because something had started to try to build a nest under the hood of my car, with the insulation from under the hood of his car (my ’97 Civic didn’t come with that amenity). More likely this was the work of a rat, but J decided we should go back to trying to capture mice.

The other morning, he opened up my car and here’s what he found:

Sorry about the quality. Bad lighting and foggy inside of the trap.

You would think this capture would have encouraged me. Alas, it did not. “Why did we even bother trying to clean the car?” I asked ($120 down the drain as far as I’m concerned).

Then J said something hilarious. He said, “Well, if we keep putting the traps out, eventually we’ll capture them all.”

For my readers who don’t know, we live on five acres. Five wooded acres. In the middle of a forest.

Yup.

Coincidentally, later that same day J caught sight of a mouse running around in my garden. (A-ha! I knew there’d been a little mammal scuffling around inside the sweet potato vines!) His comment: “Maybe we need to buy twenty more of those little traps.”

And maybe we’d better buy stock in the peanut butter companies.

And then there are the elephants

We recently traveled to an elephant sanctuary in our area. Since I’m talking about mice, and I don’t have a whole lot to say about the elephants, here are a couple of pictures from that outing.

Oh, what do mice have to do with elephants? You know, mice scare elephants, right? Least that’s what they tell you when you’re a kid.

P.S. – Yes, that kid in the top photo – with the long hair – is my son. 

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