Monday, May 23, 2011

A mouse plague

"Normally when theres heavy mouse numbers I see at least one in the house. This time I actually fried one in the toaster. I was half way through a slice when it dawned on me what the odd singed smell could be..." more here

Feeling squeamish? Needless to say I'm so glad it wasn't me!

The worst we've had was mice eating wires in the dishwasher, then getting fried. The dishwasher stopped mid cycle, and the finale was an oozing, nauseating, sickly smell. The repairman wasn't at all surprised. Apparently it's a common problem; mice eat the wires and get electrocuted and short out the electrics. He cheerfully presented me with the carcasses; proof that he wasn't making the story up. I suppose repairmen are gearing up for some robust business given the prevalence of mice across the country. The Department of Primary Industries is predicting the worst plague in decades.

So, not only has nature thrown some crappy events at us this year, but has topped it off with creating perfect conditions for a mouse plague. Whoopie.

I came face to whiskers with one IN the dishwasher one day which was a little unsettling - I'm not sure who was more surprised. I think we both stopped and stared before reacting with either a squawk (me) or a twitch of the whiskers and a scamper through the little vent (the mouse).  I wouldn't have believed an adult could squeeze through an opening 1 cm (three eighths of an inch) wide until I saw it happen. We've since strung a piece of wire around the inlet nozzle to prevent it happening again. The thought of the mouse not being quick enough to escape before being caught in the swishing water and being spun around the dishes like a tiny furry dish mop doesn't bear thinking about.

It's unsettling to realise that perfectly hygienic storage of grain is an impossibility (though when I think about it, not unreasonable) and that at least in the USA, hygiene regulations allow "up to two fecal pellets per pint of grain" (Bryson. 'At Home') I doubt Australia would be much different.

I'm not sure how much enjoyment I'll get from my wholegrain and seed bread in the future. Perhaps It's best to just pretend that all the little seeds really are linseed.

And if we have trouble in the home, how do restaurants and cafes manage? Is it "out of sight, out of mind"? "If you can't see it, it doesn't exist?" Ergh.

I was listening in horror earlier today to a farmer describing mice up to a foot deep near the farm sheds, and found this youtube delight to share. It's exactly how the farmer described the situation in central New South Wales. But be warned, PLEASE don't look if you're about to prepare any food or have just eaten ...  or are thinking of eating any time in the near future. Viewing this video could lead to nausea or sudden, unplanned dieting.


Bob said...

Revolting, to be sure.

Unfortunately, it is an almost regular occurrence in Oz - much like Locusts, and Rabbits (years ago), I believe.
What made my stomach turn over most, was the "one fecal pellet per..." bit. Instant yuck!

sue said...

Hi Bob. Seriously GROSS. What's weird is that as soon as I began writing about mice, I could smell them! I'm confident there are none in here, but it's like thinking about head lice - I start scratching - ugh.

Liza said...

Our seven year old kitty found her mousing instincts this year, thank goodness. She left us "surprises."

baygirl32 said...

yuck yuck yuck! I don't mind critters outside, but when they enter my house, my skin starts to crawl!

sue said...

Liza, I guess those weren't the most delightful of 'surprises' either!

baygirl, Yuck describes it completely.

Jan Morrison said...

oh dear. We haven't had mice or rats in this house but my guy has been dealing with several homes in town that are infested. One needs concrete work but the owner who lives in California and rents, would rather keep paying exterminators than take care of the problem. ah well. of course, the powers that be keep trying to pin the rat problem on those who keep chickens but like I said - we don't have them. they say because grain is spread about it encourages vermin. They don't know chickens - nothing stays on the ground when they are around - and lord help the rat that messes with one of our roos - our last one had a fight that ended in a draw with a rottweiller - so a rat? no prob.
I'm not looking at the videos - words will have to do!

Barb said...

Ewww - Sue! I can't watch the video (sorry) - I'm traveling right now and some places we stay give me fits enough without thinking about mice.

the walking man said...

Poison is the only thing that works but that was a lot of damn mice. Their gestation cycle is 28 days so you get a single pair of male and female the numbers increase exponentially because their is no such thing as mouse incest.

No a 3/8 inch hole is as wide as a mile to mouse because rodents have a collapsible skeleton. A hole the size of a #2 pencil is about how small of one they can get through.

Though not funny when the woman said they get in your drawers and the guy was talking about them going up his pant leg as not a good feeling...all I thought of was some crazy mousey lovin'.

sue said...

Jan, as far as I can tell, mice and humans more or less co-exist and chickens aren't going to have a huge impact either way. But I'm intrigued by the idea of killer chooks! We'll be house sitting soon, and have been told to watch out for the python in the chicken coop. I'd rather see a rat!

Barb, probably best to think nice calming thoughts if some of the places you're in are like some we stay at!

Walking Man, apparently the farmers have run out of poison and the manufacturers are working overtime to make more! Do you mean their skull collapses - that would explain it. I couldn't work out how the mouse in the dishwasher did it. The hole is tiny.

The farmer I heard interviewed talked about them up the trouser leg - no laughing matter! I'd put gaiters on before going in a shed, or a bee suit would be ok or a hazchem suit.

By the way not watching the video was probably a good idea.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. I'd rather not - sure glad you don't mind - heaven knows what's coming next .. aren't mice one of the plagues?

Also your facts hold very true .. not a good thought .. cheers Hilary