Thinking Strange Thoughts - Are Mice More Intelligent?
Is it my imagination or are mice getting more intelligent? I remember years ago, you could just throw down a bit of bait and that would take care of things for a few months. Now, its as if someone warned them at Mouse School, “do not talk to strange dogs and do not eat bait”. The reason I mention this is because I have had a particularly hard time with a mouse lately. It all started a few weeks back when I noticed a fairly large rodent sitting in front of our guest lounge window. He was just casually sitting there as if wondering whether to book a room for the night. Now personally I do not mind the odd mouse but I did not like the way this one was admiring the furniture, so I fetched a mousetrap from the shed , chose a nice piece of Cheddar from the cheese board and carefully positioned it just outside the lounge window. Five minutes later I was amazed to find that somehow the cheese had disappeared without setting the trap off. I tried a nice piece of Brie, and sure enough, when I returned moments later the same thing had happened. I could not believe it, this trap was supposed to be so sensitive that even the breath of a mouse could set it off. I decided to test it out by gently blowing on it, and it immediately went off trapping my bottom lip. I screamed as loud as it is possible to do with a mouse trap attached to your bottom lip. I slowly removed the trap and my lip immediately swelled up to double its normal size, for several days I am regularly mistaken for Angelina Jolie.
Some lesser men may have given up but I am made of sterner stuff and I raced out to the hardware store and bought an even more sensitive trap. I attached a small slice of Leicester Red and placed it outside whilst I sipped on a can of lager through a straw. Five, minutes later the cheese had gone but at least this time the trap had gone off. There was no sign of the mouse but when I examined the trap closely, there was , what looked suspiciously like a mouse’s leg stuck to it. I tried again and moments later there was another leg in the trap.
By now I was getting very frustrated and would have probably given up, except for some guests, Mr and Mrs Grommit who had just booked in for a few days. During the course of a conversation with Mr Grommit, he had revealed that his wife had a phobia about mice, and so whilst they were out sightseeing, I sat outside with a bucket in one hand and a large mallet in the other. I placed a smelly chunk of Gorgonzola at my feet and before long the mouse came out of hiding and commenced nibbling. I knew immediately that it was the same mouse because it was walking upright on its back legs. This must have slowed it down a bit because I had time to drop the bucket over the mouse before it hobbled off, I slid my left hand under the bucket, and as I bought the mallet crashing down I swiftly flicked the bucket away. In that split second he moved just enough, unfortunately my left hand did not. My screams could be heard as far away as Yallingup, later as I examined the mallet, amongst the blood from my fingers, I noticed another leg. “It can not get far now, it’s three quarters legless‘, I confidently told my wife. “It’s never stopped you” she replied ,which I felt was harsh but fair.
It had now become a personal vendetta. I raced out and paid a fortune for the new “Ultra- super-sensitive, rodent exterminator”, evidently even the touch of a mouse’s whisker can set these off. I positioned it perfectly, with a very nice piece of Wensleydale on it. Moments later the cheese had gone without setting off the trap. I just could not see how the mouse could possibly do this, maybe I had set the trap incorrectly, without thinking I reached out with my good right hand. This time my screams could be heard in Margaret River.
Later that evening, Mr Grommit told me a strange tale. He said ,on arriving back from their sightseeing, he had seen a man run screaming past our house , with his left arm in a sling and a large mousetrap attached to his right hand , which he was feverishly attempting to remove with his teeth. I explained to Mr Grommit that you see some strange sights in the country, I also told Mrs Grommit that she should look out for a rare one -legged marsupial that she may see hopping about. I think I managed to bluff my way through, although Mr Grommit may have noticed my reluctance to shake hands when he booked out the next day. They also seemed a bit surprised when I carried breakfast in using my mouth instead of my throbbing hands, but they were reassured when I told them I was testing out some new dentures. Now, every morning I put out an assortment of cheeses and my little one- legged friend rolls out in the small wheel chair I had designed for him. It’s become a bit of an attraction.
Live and let live that’s my motto