How Olympic Luging Helped Me Get a Mouse out of My House

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mouse in cup
Photo by Mark Fowler

Everyone has a story about finding a mouse in the house. Mine is a little, um, different.

It all started one Saturday morning when I dipped a measuring cup down into my dog’s bag of food and came back up with 1 cup mouse. I think it was more the fact that I wasn’t prepared to see a cup of dog food wriggling in my hand than the actual mouse that made me drop the cup and run screaming through the house. But by the time my houseguests had all rushed out to make sure that I wasn’t being ax-murdered, the mouse had had quite enough of me and promptly scurried under the washing machine.

Now what? I’d procrastinated buying PETA‘s Humane Smart Mousetrap, and I knew enough about kill traps that I wasn’t about to go get one of those. Kill traps and poisons could harm my dog, may not kill the mouse (at least not instantly), and could make a big mess. Especially those awful glue traps. Like most traps, they don’t discriminate: Other animals—and even small children—can be snared by them. Animals caught in glue traps can suffer for days before finally dying of starvation or dehydration. And while they struggle to escape, they can tear off their skin, fur, or feathers.

And anyway, I had enough of a conscience not to want to kill an animal just because he or she came to my house when I didn’t particularly want him or her there. I think if we all lived by that philosophy, there wouldn’t be any mothers-in-law left.

So my houseguests and I hatched a rather unconventional plan. From the laundry room to the back door was a fairly straight shot. All we had to do was fashion a sort of mouse chute that led straight out the door, and then coax the mouse into it. We started shoving all my furniture into two parallel rows, and soon the world’s first mouse luge was ready for the world’s first mouse luger. I leaned over the Whirlpool and nudged the mouse’s backside with my broom. The mouse raced out of the laundry room, straight through the mouse luge, and out the back door like he or she was going for gold. I think the mouse was all too happy to leave my house, with its screaming girl, big curious dog, and inexplicably placed furniture, far behind.

Since then I’ve learned that the best way to keep from having unwanted visitors is to store food in chew-proof plastic containers, keep trash in lidded cans, and seal off any possible entry points. Just focusing on killing a mouse or rat who comes in won’t work because if the area is still appealing and accessible, another animal will simply take the first one’s place.

And I did a little reading on mice. Turns out, they’re a lot like us: They love to learn new things, they’re very social, and they are loving companion animals.

With the weather turning cooler, mice and other wildlife are drawn to our warm, cozy homes that are full of pleasant smells. So based on my experience, I would recommend keeping a Humane Smart Mousetrap handy this fall. Unless you’re planning to train a small animal winter Olympics team.

Written by Michelle Kretzer