Thursday, 26 June 2014

Longworth Small Mammal Trap 1, Wood Mouse 0

The literature that accompanies the Longworth Trap suggests that you bait the trap and leave it open in situ for a few days so the small mammal gets used to being able to go in, feed, and come back out again, and you therefore have a better chance of catching it.
But I was in no mood to play silly buggers with our mouse after nearly two weeks of him popping in to the old trap like it was a super market, removing all the food I'd placed there and hiding it under the washing machine, while closing the trap door behind him on his way out much as we lock our front door. I stuffed some cheese in the Longworth, set the door and left it.

Three hours later when I went back to check the door was very firmly closed.

Ha! (I thought), if you've managed to remove that cheese and spring the door behind you on your way out, you are the cleverest mouse that ever lived and I will award you a medal and leave you alone forever more.

I cautiously picked up the trap, which has a small hole drilled in one end to allow shrews to escape (shrews are fully protected under UK law, making it an offence to trap and handle them without a license- clearly no one ever told Cleo this as she used to catch lots of them- and they also need to consume the equivalent of their own body weight on a daily basis and therefore have to eat every three to four hours, so trapping them is not a good idea, hence the escape hole). I turned the box round so the hole was pointing towards me and a second later a small whiskery nose stuck itself out and sniffed at me.

Success!

I called L and M over in Great Excitement and we all traipsed up the garden to release Our Mouse (M grumbling that that wasn't far enough away and the our guest would soon be back in the utility room enjoying his pile of contraband beneath the washing machine, only this time doubly aware of the trap which he would never voluntarily step paw in again).

I removed the tunnel part of the trap and peered in.......





Yes. I can see you.

The only problem was, we couldn't work out how to get him out. 

L discovered (by accident) that if you lift the top of the box it opens on a hinge, and, quick as a flash, Mr Mouse seized his opportunity to break for freedom and ran straight towards the next safe tunnel he could see, which was directly in front of him and just happened to be L's shirt sleeve.

He shot up L's sleeve, scurried under his armpit, ran down across his tummy and then sideways round his back, before finally making good his escape under L's shirt tails and out into the long grass that surrounds our pond.

Who knew mice could move so fast? Or nearly-teenagers. All our eyes saw was a dart of brown fur and then L wiggling and jiggling like mad as if he'd sat on an ants' nest.

All credit to him, he didn't squeak or complain or panic. Once the mouse had gone we looked at one another and burst into laughter. He is so used to wildlife sharing his home that I suspect he just considers these kinds of events perfectly normal. When he was very small, only about two, we had a blackbird who used to hop through the patio door and peck at the carpet while we were watching tele. Years ago, we raised ducklings in our spare room and they learnt to swim in the bath. L would go to see them before school and they would all rush over and nibble his toes, or climb up on his lap and snuggle down and go to sleep. He often finds moths in his school bag and we occasionally have to remove birds from the house who've found their way in to the kitchen or the hall. Sometimes the dogs bring small things in that run about like mad until we have caught them and returned them to the garden. When L was 9, the baby blackbird I was raising used to ride everywhere on his head. She would go with me to wake him up for school in the morning and sit on his bed and sing to him and he would come back from school put her on his lap and feed her meal worms. I used to tell him he was likely the only boy in England who had a wild songbird as his personal alarm clock. The summer he was 10 he got very used to carrying swallow chicks who had fallen out of the nest and been abandoned back from the yard in the car; they too would go to sleep cuddled up to him while he watched tele. When he was 11 it was a baby sparrow just hatched and found on the road who came home in his hands, and only a couple of weeks back we came back from Granny's with a baby blue tit who was on L's lap for the journey. He grumbles about having been born to a mother who loves nature, but I think that is for my benefit- when I pointed out the water vole who was paddling across the river at the weekend he oohed and ahhed over it for ages. Animals love him, they come to him and they trust him, which is why, I guess, the little mouse made a bee-line for him.

Anyway, we are now Mouse Free and the Longworth has proved itself :-)

CT x

20 comments:

  1. Apparently you need to transport them at least a mile from point of capture, or they will be back..

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    1. So I have been told. I am conducting this as a rigorous scientific experiment, which will either prove or disprove the theory (and not at all because I couldn't be bothered to walk two miles at the end of a long, hot, busy day).

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    2. Also - unless you want to kill the entire family - best to let them finish feeding the young before you take them a mile away. Just a thought.

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    3. Fortunately, there are no young. Just one, solitary mouse living the high life on the bird seed in the utility room.

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  2. It does work. M kept releasing them a few hundred yards away and telling me it was a different mouse every night until he actually tried moving it the required distance......we haven't seen one for weeks now, even with the Kitkat still in place!

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    1. We shall see Em- so far, no Return Of The Mouse. If he does come back I will concede defeat graciously xx

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  3. I would have passed out, if it had been my shirt sleeve.
    Leanne xx

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    1. I honestly don't know how he remained so calm. A natural, clearly :-) xx

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  4. Fab post, I'm snorting with laughter! I have no doubt in my mind that my youngest would have screamed if it had happened to him.

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    1. I think we were still giggling an hour later, when he rang Gran to tell her :-)

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  5. Lovely post CT - I am still laughing :) We've caught woodmice in the garage in "live" traps in the past and used to take them about half a mile to release them. I now store bird food in a huge plastic dustbin and problem seems to have disappeared.

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    1. A plastic bin is a very good idea- particularly given that the mouse is back this morning :-)

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  6. Great post, and well done to L for keeping calm!! Hope the mouse doesn't come back, although he is kind of cute!!
    xxx

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  7. How funny, you'd think they had the good sense to run in the opposite direction to humans, not up their sleeves. Having a blackbird to sing to you in the morning is so Mary Poppins, I love it.

    Jean x

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    1. I think he just panicked and shot for the nearest dark tunnel :-)

      Apple used to fly in through the bedroom window at dawn, land on my pillow and chirrup to me to wake me up when she wanted her breakfast after she'd fledged out into the garden...She would also come whenever I whistled....magical experience.

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  8. I see from todays post that he is back, little blighter! xx

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  9. Sadly, our cat catches these lovely little wood mice - and brings them into the house, where they lead us a merry dance to try and catch them again to release them.... My husband has had one up his sleeve, too

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    1. They certainly are good at whizzing about- faster than the speed of light :-)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x