Monday, April 13, 2009

Building a better mousetrap

After a previous bout of pest control, I was more confident when another mouse made its presence known.

I baited the trap just as I had before, with no success. No problem, I thought, he just got lucky this time, the odds are in my favor. I've got lots of peanut butter, and he's only got one life. A second failure lead me to inspect my trap a little more closely. Everything seemed to be in order. But by the third failure, I decided there was something wrong.

The problem was twofold. Firstly, the traps I was using were the ones with a fake cheese trigger plate, instead of the usual metal trigger plate with the extremely sensitive side mount for the trigger bar. The fake cheese trigger plate could only be activated with downward pressure. Secondly, this mouse was very adept at licking. Each time, the trigger plate had all the peanut butter carefully removed from every bait-filled hole. Top AND bottom.

Ah, evolution. This particular mouse prefers to carefully lick up non solid foods, instead of biting into the bait, and the trap plate, so it survives the common mouse trap to pass on its genes. Then here I come, wanting to kill it anyways.

Sorry buddy. I respect your struggle to survive and all, but the missus says you've got to go, and quite frankly, I can't have you prancing about my pantry. If you want to argue with me about survival of the fittest, I recommend you switch to meat, grow a bigger brain, and outsmart me.

After a bit of time examining the trap, I realized that instead of trying to work around the trap's deficiency, I should try to work with it. I needed to put the mouse in a position where it would apply downward pressure to the trigger plate. But to do that, I would need to build some kind of enclosure, in order to control the mouse's direction of travel, and I didn't want to make it complicated. I thought about a cardboard box of some kind, but couldn't think of one with the proper dimensions. It would need to be small, yet very tall to allow the trap arm to rotate. What box did I have that was small, yet tall?

The Winchester white box .38 special 100 pack!

After cutting off the flaps, I put some peanut butter all the way in the back of the trap, and sealed the rear flaps with tape to prevent the scent from encouraging it to try to chew through the cardboard in the back. Then I placed the trap in, backwards, so the mouse would have to walk over it in order to get to the bait. Since the box was wide enough to allow the mouse to walk around the trap, I taped one of the flaps back on to funnel the mouse over the trap.

The results speak for themselves.

Caught with damning evidence, still in his mouth.

He got an unceremonious burial in a KFC coleslaw container.

And the trap got replaced, after receiving a meritorious notch for a job well done.

I have to admit, I did feel a little sorry for this guy. Especially considering the manner in which the trap hit him. Breaking the lower back, and pinching the lower, less essential organs for a slow, uneasy death. Because of his position in the trap, it is obvious he entered the box, tripped the trap, then dragged himself forward to chow down on as much peanut butter as he could before he realized his intestines no longer worked. I wonder if he choked on an esophagus full of peanut butter before succumbing to his injuries.

I don't envy him.

Then again, death by peanut butter IS one of my favorite ways to go.


David said...

Best post ever.

Anonymous said...

Great white hunter! I was wondering if you'd show the corpse. Now "Ted" just how are you going to dress and prepare that thing besides marinating it in KFC slaw juice? Nothing quite as sweet as PB fed rodents. Though personally, I am partial to free range rodents.

Helpful hints from REAL mouse hunters/chefs

Anonymous said...

Helpful hints URL, I don't think the orginal took.