Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Friday, July 07, 2017

The Mousetrap

Our house is surrounded by vines, by peach and almond trees with fields of wheat and some fallow fields. The track that passes the front door is of compressed earth. The street lighting is a symbolic single lamp. We live in the country.

The other day our cats were very interested in something in the long grass just across the track. It was a dying fox. Hares bound across the track now and then and a friend had some trouble with a wild boar. We had a couple of reddy black squirrels in the garden for a while. We occasionally get non domesticated animals in the house too. Birds fly in from time to time, little lizards often scurry across the wall. The mice and rats usually stay away but all of our cats, past and present, seem to like to bring their toys home. If they find a shrew, a vole or a mouse the dismembered parts will be left distributed over our floors. Sometimes the wounded beasts escape the cats to die underneath the bookcases or sofa until the stench sends us in search of the bloated corpse.

Yesterday as I fiddled with the computer a tiny mouse ran across the interior patio. Some wagtail sized bird hovered over it for a while presumably eyeing it up as a possible meal. I'd actually seen the mouse the night before - it had scurried past me in the back room and dodged under the bed. I'd left the door open so it could return from whence it came and then forgotten all about it. The mouse would be easy prey for the cats in the enclosed patio so, when I was in town, I went to an ironmongers and asked for a mouse trap that wouldn't kill the mouse. The shopkeeper was amused that I didn't want to kill the mouse. He had a trap though, the thing in the photo. I can guarantee that the trap wasn't made in China or Korea. It's about as home made as shop bought things could be. The floor is of laminated chipbard and there's a wire cage held together with staples and bits of twisted wire. The idea is that you hang the bait from the dangling prong and when the beast nibbles on the food there is sufficient movement for the hook to let go, the spring takes over and the door shuts fast.

"Put some cheese on the prong as bait," said the man in the shop.
I laughed "Mice only eat cheese in cartoons."
"Well they like chocolate, that's for sure"
"Oh?, I thought biscuits or cereals would be good."
"Chocolate biscuits would be best then."
"Mice only like good quality chocolate" joked another customer.

I hung some chocolate in the trap and forgot about it for a couple of hours. When I remembered to look there was the mouse. It was paddling in melted chocolate. The trap may look primitive but it worked well enough and the mouse sped off in a spray of liquid chocolate across the wheat stubble when I opened the trap.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The shopkeeper was amused that I didn't want to kill the mouse." I bet he was. Not a lot of people around here would have saved that mouse.
I had some men at home months ago to do some refurbishing at the patio of our house. One day, one of them came to me and said: "You had a rat. I've kill it"
I said no, we have no rats! (thinking about the rats down in the underground in Madrid or Barcelona, the size of a cat). And he signaled at a tiny poor mouse dead on the floor, as if it were something nauseating. I wanted to hit that man on the head, but I -as always- tried to be quiet.
I love little mice. In fact, I prefer any animal to this kind of human being.
Lately I've noticed we have new species of birds, some are orange, sing beautifully.... And some tiny birds, black and white, constructed an elaborate nest between the "persiana" and the window. So I couldn't open that thing for months.
I know a man who hunts everything that moves. He always says he loves nature, but he has had dogs starving to death, he uses pesticides everywhere, ... And I could go on telling awful stories. Nightmare stories. They are common around here. ONe day he told me he didn't understand why there were not so many birds at his country house as before. I told him: "Haven't you ever thought it is maybe because you are killing all life around you??" He just smiled.