Bryhanna Greenough builds a better mousetrap.
Now that nights have started leaving frost on the pumpkins, all that is normally outside suddenly wants in, and to be successful here, all it has to do is aim in this general direction.
The membrane separating the inside from the outside is very thin here in this house. Fingers of sunlight reach through the cranny under the back door. Cold air whistles through the fissures mottling the plaster walls. In the cupboards, dark holes going to who-knows-where have been cut to accommodate the plumbing.
Really, it should have come as no surprise the other day when I pulled the coffeemaker forward to find tiny bum pellets scattered on the counter.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with a mouse problem. Last fall I owned a cat but sadly these days no one is on mouse duty. Setting the standard snap traps has always bothered me, for a variety of reasons. Glue traps are no fun for the poor little buggers either, who get stuck and harm themselves trying to escape. Even worse, suppose I found a live one attached? I wouldn’t want the sorry task of terminating a petrified little thing that doesn’t have a chance in hell.
Commercial no-kill traps do exist. But really, I imagine the only mice to get caught in a contraption like that would be daredevils or drunk.
I remember my dad once devised a special mousetrap at his office which involved tipping a ruler into garbage can. I called my mom to ask about it, but she couldn’t remember. She just recalled that one time she reached into the garbage bin and a little grey mouse was hiding in the bottom.
A friend of mine who lived in Yellowknife learned a special way of trapping mice with a device called the “Bush Mousetrap”. It required none other than a salt beef bucket filled with water, and an open-ended tin can, baited and threaded through a straightened coat hanger. Theoretically, the mouse scampers up the side of the bucket and ends up in a lumberjack-style log rolling contest with the can.
You can imagine how it ends.
Not satisfied, I kept asking around. Eventually, a friend explained an ingenious way to catch the mouse alive. It has my favourite elements of good design: It’s cheap, it’s simple, it’s effective, and you can rig it up in less than 5 minutes.
It’s called “The Tube Trap”
First, take a toilet paper tube and cut it open lengthwise.
Parallel to each cut edge, make a fold inward, so the opening of the toilet paper tube now resembles a D, or makes a tunnel with a flat bottom.
To set the trap, bait one end of the tube with a generous, smelly dab of peanut butter and place it perpendicular to the counter’s edge, aligned so the baited end extends clear off the edge and into the open air.
The idea is that the mouse ventures in to get the treat, but the mouse’s weight tips the tunnel like a scale. The mouse, protected by the cardboard, falls ass over teakettle into the tall, empty bucket positioned below.
This way works great for counter crawlers, but for floor creepers, you’d probably have to build some sort of ramp leading up to the top of the bucket maybe.
I haven’t caught a mouse this way yet, but my friend assures me it’s worked for her in the past, so if you see me carrying a bucket up Signal Hill any time soon, you’ll know the Tube Trap was a success.
Built an even better mousetrap? Another project you want to share? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org