We had a critter living on our balcony (or “terrace” as the folks here call it) up until last week. I killed the little SOB. It’s the second time we’ve had a rodent problem in this apartment and it’s really starting to tick me off. There is so much construction in our Prague neighborhood that it’s absolutely no surprise that the furry little buggers are running for safer environs. The problem is, they’re seriously harshing my mellow when it comes to sitting on the porch in the waning days of summer.
Still, in a town this old, I imagine we’re not getting the shortest straw when it comes to rodents. But we have had our fair share. A couple years back, I had the landlord come and plug up the drainpipes on my balcony after trapping about 6 or 8 of the beasts over a couple weeks. The plug worked up until a few weeks ago. I discovered the latest mouse when I was going out to grill after sundown one evening and saw him chomping on a scrap of food left over from my daughter’s outdoor dinner. He skittered into the corner and proceeded to startle the heck out of me. Within about 12 seconds the startle turned into anger and I set up 3 traps with peanut butter.
What followed was sheer torture. After the traps were set up, I watched from the window overlooking the balcony as he proceeded to lick the peanut butter off two of the traps without setting them off. As I stood and fumed while spelling out profanities under my breath (I could have nailed him with a BB gun), my wife explained to my daughter what was going on. “There’s a dirty mouse on the porch,” she told Little NH in a effort to differentiate between the one on the porch and the ones in all of her books and on her videos. It didn’t take long for the kiddo to sense that daddy was out for blood. She really got the hint when we headed to the hardware store the next night and stocked up on three different types of traps.
There was a new, plastic, German-made trap that caught my eye. It was pre-baited and looked like a good design. You’d think the Germans could design a better mousetrap, no? I think $10 for four of them might have been a waste, however. After a couple days in the sun they seem to be much less sensitive – even with my extra bait for good measure. The trap that got the job done was a terribly sensitive, hairpin-trigger, classic trap. No more peanut butter. I loaded it up with a Snickers bar chunk and made sure that it was securely stuck with caramel to the trigger portion so there would be no free meals. It was so sensitive that I had to reset the thing about 5 times while setting it down. Within a few hours after dusk, el ratón was dead. I don’t think the flavor of the Snickers even registered in his tiny brain before the trap ended his life.
That was about two weeks ago. I did a major cleaning and inspection of the porch and found no more signs of rodents. Still, I have 5 traps out, just in case. The landlord is doing a full survey of the building to try to figure out where they’re coming from. (With the cooking smells emanating from some of the apartments and the international mix of some of the tenants, I would imagine that some of the rodents are from far off lands. I’m just sayin’.)
It’s a good life lesson for the little one. Still, whenever Stuart Little comes on, I have to admit that I feel the urge to grab a snickers and a very sensitve trap.