Thursday, 18 December 2014

war of the rodents

The electric rat zapper has still not zapped any rats in the shed.  Our Ginger left another in front of the TV a couple of weeks ago, but so far the rat score is technology zero, plump middle aged mog two.  I know that the machine works at least a bit, because it caught a field mouse.  I was mildly sorry about that, since while I object to them living in my greenhouse and eating my plants, I don't have any beef with them going in the shed.  They make pathetic corpses, too, dying with their huge eyes wide open.  The discovery underscored our anxiety that using rat poison is not safe, because too many other things besides rats will eat it as well, which may in turn be eaten by the local owls, or Our Ginger.

I was taken aback the other day to lift up a bag of orchid compost in the garage and find myself face to face with a mouse.  The mouse seemed pretty startled as well, and scuttled off.  On the strength of the success against mice in the shed I decided to invest in a second electric rat zapper, since I haven't taken to the new design of mechanical mousetrap any better than the old one.  They are horribly fiddly to set, going off when you don't expect them to and firing the peanut bait across the room, or refusing to latch and stay set, and I don't trust them to perform a clean kill every time.  Killing rodent pests is one thing, but torturing them is another.

The new rat zapper had only been down a couple of days when yesterday I found the light on top flashing, and a mouse stretched flat out inside.  Victory.  I dropped the body into the back of a flower bed where it can provide plant nutrients over the winter, and re-baited the trap.  When I checked it this morning there was no flashing light, but when I looked more closely I realised that in the excitement of my first kill I had forgotten to switch it on again.  I know we still have at least one mouse in the garage, though, because all the peanuts had gone.

Before declaring martial war on the mice in the garage I did try the softly-softly, deterrent approach, and installed a sonic rodent repeller.  It has now been in place for over a month, and we still have mice in the garage, so I think we can conclude that was twenty pounds down the drain. When I bought it there were a number of favourable reviews on Amazon, but there is only one now, from somebody who gives it one star and says it had no effect on the mice whatsoever.

Our Ginger knows there are mice in the garage, and sometimes goes down there and stares meaningfully at things, but he lacks staying power and five minutes later he's given up.  For now the electronic zapper seems my last and best hope.  If only it would work on the rats under the shed as well, we'd be home and dry.

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