R.I.P. Jorge

A good friend who was staying with me recently greeted me one morning with the following devastating news: “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have a new roommate. He’s living under the dishwasher. I named him Jorge.”

That was actually pretty mean, naming the mouse like that, because during the epic battle that we waged I could not think of him as anything but Jorge. Jorge was pretty cute: petite, gray, saucy white patches, and a twitchy curious little nose that seemed to say “Hello world, I’ve come to sniff you!” I was in denial for the first couple of days. She was wrong, she had to have been wrong. My house is clean and pest free. (Well, except for the squirrel debacle of 1995, of which we no longer speak).

I even, for a while, decided that I could live with my houseguest (the furry one, not the human one). People have pets, right? Well, I just have a pet. That’s not crazy, right? Then, my houseguest (the furry one, not the human one) revealed a very bad habit: pooping on my kitchen counter. Pooping, pooping, everywhere. So much mouse poop. And that’s when I realized that my houseguest (the furry one, not the human one) was a pest, and he had to go. I called the pest control people, and they came with their humane glue traps and I waited for Jorge to succumb.

But he didn’t succumb. He kept pooping, and, oddly enough, eating apples. (Note to self and others: do not leave food on the counter when you have a mouse in the house). Then he resorted to the worst form of warcraft: he mocked me. I was sitting on the couch watching t.v. and he ran out from under the basement door and just stopped and looked at me. Twitching nose, beady little eyes, jaunty french accent: ha ha ha I mock you with my nose! Then he ran under the couch I was sitting on. I screamed, I jumped up and down, I MAY have (allegedly) cussed. Jorge stayed there for awhile. My bunker became his bunker. It was diabolical. Then he ran into ground zero, the center of our conflict, my kitchen. (Or at this point, we might as well have called it his kitchen, because he owned me.)

I decided to regroup and visit the armory: aka Home Depot. I stood in the pest control aisle for about an hour quizzing every passer-by. “What kind of mousetrap should I buy?” I ignored their silent looks of condemnation but I knew what they said: “You’re a bad housekeeper! You have a rodent in your house! You are a bad, bad person!” I persevered, because that’s the kind of gal I am. The consensus seemed to be that the old fashioned mouse traps are the best. Technology has not improved the pest-industrial complex. I bought “baitless” traps because they looked less messy. Some nice plastic cheese–no fuss no muss.

I put four traps in front of the fridge. That was Jorge’s base camp. I’d get him where he lived! It was genius. I set the traps and went to bed. Next morning. More poop, no Jorge. The traps just need another day, I told myself. Next morning, more poop, no Jorge. Clearly, plastic cheese does not fool an experienced foe. Finally, in despair, I contacted the guru, the fount of all knowledge trivial and useless: BCC’s own supergenius. His deep voice thundered from the mountains: USE PEANUT BUTTER! (actually, he just typed it into gmail IM–but it resonated in my soul.)

There was faint music playing in the background–sad shy instrumentals, haunting melody. Gracefully, in cinematic slow motion, I baited four traps with peanut butter, creamy. I gently set them in front of the fridge and quietly walked up the stairs to go to bed.

I didn’t sleep well. The next morning I woke up, and came downstairs. It was a horrible battle scene. Peanut butter and mouse poop everywhere. All over the kitchen. Jorge was still alive but barely. I think he died while I picked the trap up with a plastic bag and took it out to the garbage. I cleaned up the kitchen, then got in my car to drive to work. I cried the whole time.

Comments

  1. Mark Brown says:

    You’re a better person than I am. On the occasions when I discover a mouse in the house or garage, I am overcome with a lust for blood that would put Shiz and Coriantumr to shame. I kill the little vermin gleefully, using poison and every trap I can find, and feel no guilt whatsoever.

  2. Nimrod the mighty mouse hunter says:

    I’ve caught and released two mice with this humane and handy tool:

    https://www.petacatalog.org/prodinfo.asp?number=HP200

  3. StillConfused says:

    Great one. I was sitting in my office when I kept hearing a strange sound. At first I thought it was paper russling. But it was coming from inside the wall. The russling would peak and wane but never quite cease. For 5 days. I debated taking my shot gun to it, but my son said that shooting a shotgun inside city limits was slightly frowned upon. However the demon got into the wall, it was clear that it couldn’t get out. After a while the scratching stopped. Then a strange aroma appeared. That has now stopped too. My critter is up in critter heaven with yours I suspect.

    (ps I had a gerbil infestation back in 1995 — NEVER believe the pet store when they say they are giving you two male gerbils. And litters of 6 or more happen every six weeks, with inbreeding among babies starting after 3 months.)

  4. D-Con. It’s wonderful. They eat it, they go away, and (presumably) they die. All you have to do is open a little box and put it on the floor.

  5. Two stories.

    1. I recently live trapped 4 large rats in my backyard for a grade school science project. I then dispatched all 4 with a BB gun. These suckers were huge. Like a young squirel. I think we got all the rats cause the nieghbor and I have had no poisen eaten for a couple of months now. I am sure they will be back. If so I am ready

    2. We had a mouse living behind our fridge a couple of weeks ago. He would lick the PB right off the trap!!!! it would never spring!!! Finally I used a sticky trap on him. Then the BB gun.

  6. I second the D-Con suggestion. Here in the NW we have Norwegian roof rats, about 8 inches long plus a tail. We were mortified when we first discovered that a rat had invaded our attic, and got rid of it with D-Con. The dude was gone in 24 hours.

    However, we found out from our neighbors here that everybody has Norwegian roof rat problems at some point. Some friends in our ward had been troubled with them getting into their food storage in the garage. They would occasionally see it scampering along an exposed copper water pipe in the beams above the garage. To make a long story short, the day that they were hosting their daughter’s wedding reception in their back yard, they posted one of their sons in the garage with a pellet gun to watch for the rat and make sure it didn’t crash the receiving line, or get in the cake. Sure enough, the rat started to scamper across the pipe, the son shot the pellet gun, and hit the pipe and punctured it. Water began to spray all over the garage, which required cutting off all the water to their house the day of the reception. To the best of my knowledge, the rat was still there when they moved a few years ago.

  7. We had a whole host of mice a few months ago. Those stupid new “baitless” mouse traps are totally worthless. The mice would look at them and laugh.

    Then we bought a six-pack of D-Con. Those little buggers ate five packs in about 3 days. And they went away to die. Just one died in a public place.

    Now no more mice. Good riddance. Any weeping was done by mice alone. Tough. Die, you vermin!

  8. One of the places I worked at had those sticky mouse traps. I used to go into the big file room and find dead mice lying in glue.

    ::shudder::

  9. My home teacher’s name is Jorge.

  10. Researcher says:

    Our house came with a mouse.

    We named him Paco.

    He left patches of hair in glue traps.

    Warfarin worked.

  11. Benjamin O says:

    Several stories:
    First off I grew up on a farm with horses. A fact of life of such an establishment is that you ALWAYS have rats and/or mice. ALWAYS. So we always had D-Con on hand. One time we had about 6 packs hung up in a plastic grocery bag in the barn. We noticed that the currently laid packs were empty so we went to lay some more, and found that the pests had saved us the trouble–they had chewed into the plastic bag and then chewed the box open and eaten all the D-Con there as well! We quit bothering to open the boxes after that.

    Second, D-Con is an interesting poison…as it turns out. I know this because we had mice in another house (once I grew up, got married and had kids of my own) and had set out some D-Con in what we thought were kid-safe places. It turns out these places were less kid-safe than supposed and I found my son eating some of it.

    We weren’t certain HOW much he ate, but he clearly didn’t like the flavor. So we called poison control, and they said that unless he had eaten a lot it was unlikely to do any serious damage as it wasn’t a neurological agent. Instead it’s a blood thinner. It works by thinning the rat’s blood out so much that they essentially bleed to death and then dehydrate. This has the added advantage that they will seek out their water source which is often away from the house. That or if they do die, they dry up in such a way that they are less likely to stink. Really pretty smart. The upshot is that in very small quantities it really isn’t very dangerous to humans. Thankfully. But we kept it much better hidden after that.

  12. I’m with Jorge, I’d probably endanger my life for peanut butter too.

  13. I’ve never had a problem eliminating mice by using ordinary mousetraps. Rats, OTOH, are another story. An epic, three-part story, in fact.

  14. Ardis Parshall says:

    Get a housecat. Name him Toby. End of problem.

  15. Forget peanut butter, go with bacon grease.

  16. No, name him Tom, and the mouse Jerry.

  17. Yorkshire terriers are natural rodent killers. Because of her prowess with squirrels, mice, and pet hamsters, we have named our youngest Yorkie “P.J. [for Princess Jasmine] the Destroyer.”

    Hamsters go quietly. Squirrels and mice, not so much.

  18. We had mice, some in the kitchen and some in the garage. mousetraps with peanut butter worked, but they turned my stomach. After we got a cat he moused for a while until they were all gone. No more mouse problems. In our current house we have seen evidence of 2 mice in 12 years, both of which ended in the demise of the rodent without our having to do anything. Catless neighbors on our street report continuing severe mouse problems.

    I recommend a cat.

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    My first married student apartment in Provo was a crappy basement apt. that came with about a half-dozen mice. One day I was sitting on the couch watching TV, and one ran right up my left leg and into the couch I was sitting on. That was the last straw. We used the old fashioned mousetraps, which were very effective, although not fun having to dispose of the bodies.

  20. I agree with the idea of a terrier. My inlaws brought their terrier over and in 2 hours in our backyard killed 2 rabbitts and one rat.

  21. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    Many RMs treasure the pictures taken at baptisms. Rightly so. Among my favorites though, is the photographic evidence of the rat that crashed our hut for a few weeks.

    The little bugger would run along the beam all night long and leave teeth marks in all of our stuff. After several unsucessful attempts to nab him, we noticed teeth marks in our tube of Guatemalan toothpaste. Turned out to be the perfect bait and during the night I was awakened by a satisfying snap, and then all was quiet.

    We took pictures of the carcass the next day. Holding the tail in my fingers, the rodent stretched well past my elbow (BoM sized trap still in place around his neck along with faint toothpaste residue).

  22. Had at least one mouse last year. Found out because I spotted droppings in kitchen drawers. Took everything out of the drawers and washed it in bleach water, then put it inside plastic bags until the problem was solved. Got a cat. Named him Blaze. He did not live up to his name. It is impossible to catch mice in your sleep, even for a cat. Paid an exterminator $125 to kill mice. It was worth it! Anybody want a cat?

  23. Thanks for this.

    I am not against mouse traps and I am not against pest control. I am not against people taking care of their homes.

    But it sure does feel good to read about someone who recognizes that killing an animal (no matter how small or annoying) is not always an easy task (logistically or emotionally).

    I know, I am being cheesy.

  24. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    Karen, I’m sorry you had such a harrowing experience. It’s not easy to have to kill something even when it seems necessary. We found a snake in our backyard a few years ago that my mom was sure was a cottonmouth. We had two cats and a dog and we simply couldn’t risk it. I wanted to call animal control but my mom had pinned it to the ground with some kind of long, forked garden implement and it was too dangerous to try letting it go. I had to whack its head off with a shovel. I tried to make it as quick as I could but… Yeah. I sobbed most of the afternoon after.

  25. Been there, done that, my mouse had a German accent when he pinned me to the couch. RIP Jorge.

  26. squicked out says:

    I’d rather have mice, than roaches. :x

  27. I hate to break it to you, but if you have seen one mouse he/she probably has relatives, a lot more relatives. You might want to keep vigilant awhile longer. Good Luck.

  28. Chunky peanut better is perhaps better than creamy for the purpose. The first kill is, admittedly, painful for both parties. Fortunately, if there is a reinfestation and subsequent kills, the conscience becomes seared as with an hot iron, until the process becomes no more traumatic (except for the recipient)than, say, telling a stray dog to “go home!”

    /s/ Fickle in the Forest (of Lafayette, NY)

  29. Killing house rodents is brutal. It’s a dirty job and the best solution is to get someone else (i.e., husband) to dispose of the bodies.

  30. I killed a mouse with my bare hands once.

  31. I can totally relate. But really, don’t name the pests. It’s a bad idea.

  32. Karen, how awful! We had a HUUUUGE ant infestation around Christmas and I spent a good hour a day for a week just killing ants. The sheer scale of the slaughter often had me feeling quite ill about it. Mostly I was afraid of myself in those moments where I totally stopped caring, or, worse, start feeling some glee about it.

  33. I have mice in the garage – fortunately, they don’t come into the house on their own. Unfortunately, the cat’s getting much better at catching them. I say unfortunately, because he doesn’t know what to do with them once he’s caught them, so he just brings them into the house and let’s them go! Over the past two years I’ve had to catch about 6 mice in the house – I seem to have gotten better at it than the cat! I don’t think I’ll be doing it bare-handed anymore, though: the last one wasn’t sufficiently humbled at being caught – the little bugger bit me four times. I tried seeing if it could fly, (i.e. I threw it out the front door) but it just got up and ran away. I’ll probably see him again in the spring …

    By the way, it’s really embarrassing to call the county health department to report a mouse bite incident. Fortunately, there haven’t been and cases of rabid mice around here.

    Oh, by-the-way, if you’re considering getting a cat to solve you rodent problem, just be aware that cats learn to hunt and kill from their mothers, so many house cats (like mine) have no idea what to do with a mouse if they happen to accidentally catch one! Find a good mouser that’s just had kittens, and don’t take it home until it’s learned how to kill. Interesting how in the animal kingdom it’s usually the mothers that teach the young how to hunt and kill.

  34. We tried glue traps first and this was the result.

    Switched to conventional traps with bacon grease and caught more than we knew we had.

  35. Karen,
    This is a great story of an epic battle. I felt much the same way when I realized that marriage to Mrs. John C. meant that I would be killing a lot of spiders.

  36. Same story here, except I named him Little Chef. My wife didn’t care for that too much, but finally consented to the use of standard traps after the humane ones failed (even with PB).

  37. Bro. Jones says:

    Hated having mice. Felt bad about killing them until 1) they started pooping in the kitchen and 2) I found out that domestic mice are capable of carrying hantavirus.

    Of the five mice I saw:

    1 succumbed to a snap trap
    2 seemed to respond to poison
    1 was accidentally stepped on by me, and I learned that mice pop when you step on them
    1 was killed by my noble dog, who was then dubbed “Dog Champion, Defender of the Household”

    No more after that.

  38. wow, so many gleeful mouse killers here! A few responses:

    Still Confused: Why didn’t you separate the gerbils after the first pregnancy? I would think that’s the first rule of gerbil birth control….

    JA Benson: I actually haven’t seen any more, heard any more, or seen the results of any more, and I’ve been keeping a close eye. I think he snuck in when the movers were brining a bunch of boxes in and had the front door propped open. (At least, I keep praying that is the reason….)

    Thanks to all the cat enthusiasts, but I can’t in good conscience bring a pet in my home that I don’t have time to care for….so I’ll have to do any future killing myself.

    Meems: I tried to order a husband from the pest control people when I called, but they were plumb out.

    MAC: icky, icky, icky. I have no other response. Yikes.

  39. Rameumptom says:

    To avoid future tears, use a live trap with peanut butter. Then you can keep him as a pet in a cage, or release him in your worst friend’s kitchen to handle…..

  40. I live in a student area, and my neighbours don’t seem to be particularly clean. Consequently, I got a rat infestation in the garage. I put down a number of traps, and a bait box, which have worked really well.

    The only problem I have had was the one rat who managed to drag itself to a secluded area of the garage to die. I found it about 6 months later, still in the trap. I don’t want to go near it, so I have put a flower pot over it and chosen to believe it is not really there.

  41. Lulu,
    I love when I hear stories like that, because it confirms to me that I’m not the only person who does stuff like that. Just to support you in your confession….it’s entirely possible that there is a mummified squirrel in my attic. I havent opened the attic door in over four years….

  42. I’m with Ardis! (I have a housecat named Toby, though he hasn’t had the chance to catch a mouse yet)

  43. 28 is right, chunky peanut butter is best, in old-fashioned snap traps. We found with the wily rats in our basement (we think all the holes are plugged now, and in any case we haven’t heard rustling in the walls for quite some time), that they would lick all the creamy peanut butter off the traps, leaving them unsprung. Quite a feat of dexterity. But with the crunchy, they almost never can finish without running into an unsuspected nut, and SNAP! Game over.

    We also tried one of those battery-powered electrocution traps (Rat Zapper I think is the brand name), and it worked fairly well, but not 100% reliably. Snap traps are the best. And we don’t re-use them. The small cost is worth not having to pry them open to release the rodent carcass.

  44. icky, icky, icky. I have no other response. Yikes.

    The picture only tells half the story. I tried to save the snake and almost got it out of the trap before its skin tore and ended up with a handful of squirming, bloody, skinless, snapping snake.

  45. Had a mouse problem in our house.

    Got about a half dozen by simply smashing them in the cupboard (you listen for them, and then violently shove the boxes around – broken necks) and setting up traps in areas I knew the mice would be forced to traverse. You remove them by putting a plastic sandwich bag over your hand and then picking them up and carrying them to the garbage can.

    But after a while, we figured out they were entering the house through the garage – where they had been nesting in a big bag of grass seed we’d stored out there. We chucked the seed bags and started leaving our garage door cracked.

    Our neighbors cat took care of the rest. We’d seen him prowling around our garage intently when it was open and figured – why not indulge him?

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