Build a Better Mousetrap…

Friday, 10 February 2017 20:42

… and the world will beat a path to your door!

Well I hope so, in this case at least. Call me sentimental, but I've never liked the idea of animal (or man) traps. When we found ourselves hosting unwelcome rodent diners at the Gillyflower Restaurant, the standard skull-crushers weren't going to be on the menu . 

After some searching we came upon a company in the North of England whose website featured a comprehensive selection of humane traps for virtually every bird and mammal indigenous to the UK. We were intrigued by the live traps they produce and sell - ingenious designs that in some cases don't even require bait!

Our unwanted guests being mice and voles, we purchased two traps on spec, Mr. TrapMan assuring us that they were very effective. They feature very good fuel economy - no cheese, no peanut butter, no paté de fois gras required, just strategic placement and keeping the mechanism wound up. Eyebrows raised in sophisticated skepticism, we followed the instructions on the pack.

Well, since I'm bothering to write this, it must be obvious that it worked. Yes, it worked. It worked so well that during our first purge of rodents, we caught 5 in one day. There they were, huddled together in the departure lounge of the little galvanised box. Five.

Our results aren't always so dramatic, partly because much of the rodent population has been either a) rehoused in "another part of the woods" or b) lost it's taste for expensive bulbs and gourmet seedlings. 

The relocation of the mice and voles has been an interesting exercise. It became clear early in the process that a mouse or vole released in the woods half a mile away from the gardens would get back to the dinner table before I got back to the gate. A mile? Still no contest. They have uncanny homing abilities.

The solution? As I stroll along with my captive still in the trap, I turn the wire handle slowly back and forth rotating the trap and occasionally doing a few turns of my whole body as I go. When I finally stop and open the trap to release him, the mouse stumbles out into the tall grass like a drunk falling out of a pub into a strange city and staggers off in a promisingly wrong direction.

If you have pests and you don't want to kill them, talk to the TrapMan.