Hello to all my two- and four-legged friends!

We’ve had some awesome spring-like weather here in Germany the past few days…and over the four-day Easter weekend this family had lots of good times, including a super long walk up to the horse ranches. It took us about an hour round trip and we haven’t been in forever…I was all worn out afterward but I hope this was the first of many similar long walks this year because it’s really fun!

Mom said I get to talk about another tiny little friend today — a house mouse. No, we didn’t get another pet although there are a few creatures who have been trying to make a move on my territory. They think they can get all close to me family by burrowing through the walls while we’re sleeping and taking covert actions, but I’d like these mice to know this is not the way to this family’s heart.

Attention furry rodents: they are never going to love you if you break in to their house and wake them up in the middle of the night with your games of chase and squeaking. The cats have more experience when it comes to getting in trouble for waking up the humans while they play at night and will definitely tell you that if you end up doing something that wakes up the baby, you are in for a heap of it. Also be advised that should I see you near my house, I will chase you and you will be surprised at just how fast I am. I’d tell you to ask your cousins about my skills but you’d have to summon them from the grave.

The mice currently living at our farm have been pretty evasive. We’ve had mice in past years but this year they have really burrowed deep into the house. Not something the humans like to think about. So Project Mouse Hunt began. Now if it had been up to me, I would have just cornered the mouse, pawed at him, maybe tossed him up in the air a few times with my mouth and chances are I then would have lost him because one of the humans would have found his still little body and taken it away. I was an excellent mouse hunter when we first moved here…but I’m not allowed to go up into the walls, nor would I fit very well, so we had to go with the traps.

First, Mom sprinkled some flour behind our washing machine where she thought the mice were passing through on a daily basis. She started in our mudroom because she had seen a mouse in there a few times and thought that maybe it was just one mouse they were hearing in the entire house.

See those little lines and scratch marks in the flour? Those are the mouse tracks. They’re not defined enough to identify what sort of animal did it, but the long lines are tale marks as far as we can guess. Definitely found the mouse path.

Once a path was found, mom bought something called a multi-catch mouse trap (more details from Amazon.com). This sucker will hold multiple mice at one time but I have to think that mice must be pretty dumb if more than one will run in this thing even after they’ve seen their friends inside who can’t seem to get out. Perhaps they think they are smarter than their friends and wage a bet as to who can get out first?

When you put down a trap for mice, you want to make sure it’s against a wall where the mice run regularly. Mice can’t see very well and they usually run directly along the wall to help guide them. So you’ll notice that the doors to this trap were against the wall, too. You don’t actually have to put bait in these traps because the mice just accidentally run right into them…but if you do use traps with bait, you should set them out for a couple days without anything in them so the mice get used to seeing them. And then you can bait them and hopefully start catching those mice really quickly. (Gosh, I know a lot about catching mice, don’t I?)

They say mice are mostly active at night but this guy seemed to have changed to our schedule because he was most active in the morning to early afternoon. He’d be up above the kitchen chewing on stuff and dragging things around. I think he may have even stashed a few dead bodies up there based on the noises we heard during the day. I have no idea how he got them through that tiny hole in the wall, though.

About two weeks passed after my mom put down the trap and no mice were caught. Mom even put a few crumbs from one of her mocha chocolate muffins in there but they didn’t seem interested. It’s possible that because the weather had warmed up, they were just darting right out the door instead of going into the main part of the mudroom and past this trap. But when mom and dad were working in the mudroom this weekend, they moved a bunch of stuff around…and the direct getaway path to the door was blocked so Mr Mouse had to take a detour. That detour led him right in to the trap!

So, the next morning when we took a walk, mom grabbed the trap (mouse still inside) and we took it with us. I offered to just do away with the mouse myself at home, but apparently that was not a supported idea. When it was time to let the critter go, I was tied up to a tree several feet away to keep from interfering. At this point, I tried to let the humans know that house mice can’t survive in the wild and would actually be better off just living in a cage at home…but they didn’t want to hear about it. Or maybe they just thought my frantic barks were pleas to make sure they weren’t going to leave me out there for the falcons.

At any rate, we hope the mouse made it way over to the little garden huts nearby and can live a long, happy life there. Researching online before letting the mouse go would have been wise…but sometimes the humans just don’t think of everything. Then again, letting the mouse go in the city so that he could move in with another family in town didn’t seem right either. So we just hope he some how manages to adapt.

What’s in store for next week? There’s really no telling.

Slobbery kisses to you,

Ayla

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