I’m going to reveal a dirty secret

Mouse hunt #1, originally uploaded by mcentellas.

I was reading in Washington Post’s Sleuth’s column about a massive surge in the rat population on Capitol Hill as a result of Eastern Market burning down thus causing a rat exodus of massive proportions. Well, it got me thinking about my own little problem in Petworth. Thank God it is not a rat problem but the rat’s slightly less ugly cousin the mouse. I’ve heard, as a result of our close proximity to the Old Soldier’s Home, many houses are afflicted with this plague. I had been in denial for quite a while.

A quick side note. When I lived in an apartment in Cleveland Park, right next to the zoo, I was once visited by a four legged creature. I woke up one night hearing a terrible rustling. It was so loud that it woke me from a dead sleep. When my eyes could finally focus I realized it was a “baby squirrel”. Or at least that is what I told my girlfriend at the time. In fact it was a rat. So I did what any insane person would do. I got dressed in my finest track suit, put on winter gloves and grabbed a huge pot from the kitchen and pursued the vermin. As you can surely guess I had gained a new roomate for the rest of my time in that apartment.

So you can imagine how upset I was at discovering a mouse. I didn’t shriek, fortunately, I simply jumped up on my couch with a golf club ready to attack the intruder. Again, I was unsuccessful. So I laid out a bunch of traps and probably caught about three or four. But damn, these mice get smart. I had continued to see droppings but I couldn’t catch anymore. So what did I do? Fortunately I did not attempt a track suit and cooking pot redux. I called a trapper who charged me about 300 bucks to tell me that they were coming from outside. Gee, thanks.

Now I should mention here that I am a dog person. But, I was pushed to my limit and I adopted a cat from the rescue league. Long story, less long, I haven’t seen any more mice. That it is I haven’t seen anymore mice dead or alive. But I did gain a nice pet. It is almost worth getting made fun of mercilessly by my friends.

So am I the only one who has/had mice? Maybe we can form a support group.

22 Comment

  • My neighbors and I have had mice. I live about a block away from the Old Soldier’s Home and the Churchyard (grave-yard) so I’m used to the mice. It is a ritual to set up traps in the fall/winter when they decide to head indoors. I’ve actually not seen any recently, but we also have several stray cats in the ‘hood who probably help keep the mouse population a bit lower. They are just so darned cute, their little black eyes, so it is hard to be totally grossed out, but I still jump if I see one.

  • I live about a block from Soldier’s Home and we had mice until we got a cat 2 years ago. Now I only see the occasional dead one. And my cat is totally cool and acts just like one of the dogs.

  • The mouse in my house is wicked smaaaht, as they say up north. it wont be trapped, and has full run of the kitchen. i block one path, he goes through another. Its driving me nuts, but i hate cats!

  • Do cats really deter mice from coming into the house? I despise cats but hate mice more.

    And yes, I’m a Petworthian who’s dealt with mice in my house.

  • we’ve got a fair number of street cats in bloomingdale, and i never see any mice or rats around, as opposed to the tons of them i used to see when i lived over on u street. i think they do a good job of keeping the vermin population down.

  • Well, you can rest assured that anytime “ground is broken” with any new construction project, the mice are coming to YOUR home. Although i live in upper northeast (Riggs), when New Hampshire Avenue was reconstructed, it was a mass exodus of Mickey and friends, right into the homes adjacent to the construction. And as “palacepool” mentioned, they are incredibly smart to the point that i KNOW i heard them laughing together in a group at me one night. And yes, they scare me to death!!!

  • Our house was actually boarded up for a good many years before we bought it, so we definitely had quite a few critters living there that expected to continue to do so after we moved in. We’ve caught about 12-15 mice using a pretty humane method of extermination – the electronic zap boxes that Home Depot sells for $20. They are better than the glue or snap traps because the mice don’t suffer – they are electrocuted in about a second, and the box can be reused over and over again. I do hate mice but think this might be the best method (other than getting a cat of course!). And our two little dogs are unfortunately not “mousers.”

  • I have lived on the southern edge of Petworth for two years (two seperate houses) and can say with certainty that, yes, cats DO make a major difference in your mouse situation.

    At the first house I lived in, I had roommates with cats and we never once had mice droppings, no mice sitings, etc. My current landlord doesn’t get down with the quadrupedal house mates so we’re left to fight the mice ourselves.

    Over this past winter, we had mice romping about the kitchen. Traps were laid and only one mouse was caught, althoguh the volume of mouse shit did decrease rapidly with arrival of the traps. Would recommend getting a cat and traps (in that order) to combat any issue you might have.

    Cheers to the Prince for adopting the cat…..a noble act and the smartest way to rid the house of vermin.

  • Eastern Market neighbors: Good news! The same millionaire contractors the DC Government hired to manage historic Eastern Market and keep it rat-free will manage the new temporary market!

  • Little bastards ruined a stove of mine. They nested in the insulation in the back of the stove. The pizza didn’t smell so good after that.

    Seriously, all you can do is set glue traps and hope for the best.

  • F glue traps. The battery powered instant electricution chambers are the way to go. $20 at home depot and they will take care of your problem in a much more humane way than leaving the mouse stuck to a surface and either getting eaten by a predator/predators or starving to death.

  • Agreed. Glue traps are awful for men and mice. You do not want to hear that mouse squealing in terror for a few days before it starves to death.

    I keep it old school with the snap-traps.

  • I am pro-glue trap; they worked great for me when all the other traps failed. The best bait are cashews — mice love them!

  • I had a serious mouse problem for the past couple of months. Landlord tried everything – glue traps, regular traps, poison, and even fox urine – to no avail. So instead of calling him at 11pm or whenever I spotted a mouse, I decided to get a cat. Haven’t seen a mouse since…

  • I have not heard anyone discuss steel wool. We renovated our home before we moved in and thank goodness I tracked the work being done because I made sure openings were sealed around pipes, radiators, fixtures, etc. We have since lived in our home for 2 years and caught about 7 small rodents (don’t care if its a mouse/rat, as long as it’s dead!) We also gutted our backyard of the lovely brick patio, poured concrete and constructed a 7 foot cinder block fence (forget the cute wood fence) to keep out rodents. Now, my hubby and I can sit outside in our lovely concrete backyard till 2 am during a hot summer night with NO disturbances! The key is to track where they are coming from and seal up the location. Also, I believe in living clutter FREE! Which helps in identifying problems early.

  • I used steel wool to plug holes in the house but I haven’t yet ventured to plugging the outside holes. It’s worked like a charm on the inside holes.

  • I need to plug the holes in my crawl space, but the only problem is that I hate to block out the neighborhood cats which do their hunting under our row of homes..

  • The presence of a cat in a home is indeed a good deterrent to mice. The scent of cat urine (and you don’t have to be able to smell it for the mouse to be able to smell it) induces a panic reaction in rodent brains and they run away. It signals “predator!” like a 40 year old man with a MySpace account.

    I recommend using unscented cat litter for maximum effect. 😉

  • Screw the cat, get good traps. No mice and no cat (litter).

  • i am not a huge cat person myself, but i will attest that they can be GREAT for catching mice and rats. i’ve had cats chase, catch, and kill mice and rats in both a city and a country home. one caveat: they may bring a dead mouse to present to you and drop in front of you, for your approval. just pet them and say ‘thank you’ — don’t scream–it will confuse them….

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