It is 10:35 PM. Winter had ensconced itself outside, its frigid grip on Joburg tightening; inside I'm ensconced on the couch with three terrier companions. I can't sleep, somewhere inside me is an endless source of energy. A message from my husband asks me to "come to bed". He is only six metres down the hall. "I'll come to bed now," I shout back. But then another message comes through. "Mouse trapped:)". This time from my tenant.
Mice are only pests when they are in your house and eat your cables, food and clothes, I believe. In my mind, if I can catch the little buggers that have been taking over our house and driving my dogs insane, and release them in a nearby veld, then they are not pests, just cute little animals. Have you ever seen a mouse? Have you seen how tiny and cute they are? How can you kill something like that? I would never forgive myself if I put traps down that lures them in and SNAP! You're dead!
It isn't their fault that they are in my house. If winter hadn't come along, like it should, and took away their food sources; if my house wasn't warmer than outside; if humans didn't feel the need to burn down all the velds in the area when it gets colder (why are there now laws against this?) then I wouldn't be sitting with mice.
Obviously my anti-killing campaign lead me to find more humane ways of apprehending these tiny cute little thieves. Enter Vastrap - a glue that is more sticky and more dangerous than super glue. The idea is to place some of this glue on a pvc pipe or a piece of cardboard with food. The mouse runs for the food and then they get stuck. Easy peasy.
Little did I know that this would almost be worse than a trap that snaps their necks. The glue directions doesn't mention anything about what you are supposed to do after the mouse has been caught. I'm thinking that you are supposed to leave it there and let it starve to death. How cruel is that?
This won't happen either. Next thing I know, I'm prying the poor caught mouse loose from the glue and am bitten in the process. Fuck, that hurts!
I spent the next hour washing the poor mouse. First in warm water, which won't remove the glue. Okay, so it must be petrol soluble - I have turpentine. Have you ever washed a mouse in turpentine? I have. Poor thing. But I can't just leave the turpentine on it. Next up, it gets another bath in warm water, then a towling down. Poor, poor thing.
It's late and I probably should go to sleep. I can't let the mouse go, I didn't just go through this process for nothing. So I grab my rusk jar (a tall one made of glass - no mouse can escape from it), tear up toilet paper, add a toilet roll and throw in some food. I want the mouse to be comfortable, not cold and not dead. He should be fine for the night. Tomorrow, I will release him in the veld.
The next morning I check in on my guest, first thing.
He is gone.
Picture from here