There’s a mouse in my house

Actually, based on the scritching noises we’ve been hearing at night, probably a colony. Or several. But this is the story of how I went head-to-heater with one little rodent – and won. And also kind of lost, because I had to deal with the remains.

A little background on our heating system, because this will become relevant soon: our house was built in 1949, so it’s got radiators recessed into the wall typical of the building style at the time. The heat itself comes from steam, so the radiators have little silver exhaust whistles on them that hiss when the heat is on, and although it sometimes takes a while for the heat to reach peak, once it does the cast iron radiators get burn-warning hot.

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So, this morning, my cat would not stop pawing at the radiator in my study. She kept thrusting her paw through the grate, but every time I looked with a flashlight, there was nothing there, and I couldn’t hear anything, so I had no idea what she was after. Not thinking much of it, I turned the heat up two degrees because, hey, it’s cold in here in the morning.

As I was doing that, Matthew came downstairs and found the mouse – scrunched into the space between the side of the radiator and the wall it’s recessed into.

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We’re talking a super-narrow spot. But field mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime, because they’re evil little bastards.

He tried digging it out with a long screwdriver, but it was wily and tough to get, and the cat being all over the area wasn’t helping. Then, suddenly, there was a litany of ear-piercing mouse screaming.

And then there was no screaming at all.

Apparently the mouse couldn’t take the heat, because it was basically flash-cooked in seconds by the cast-iron heater it was trapped against. And when Matthew tried to dig it out again, its skin stuck to the heater, and the rest of it…did not. So Matthew turned the heat down in the hopes of releasing the body, and with a wall full of exposed mouse innards, I called in to my morning’s meeting, all the while freaking out that there was a dead mouse in my wall and it was going to start to smell.

Which it did. So after the meeting, I put gloves on my hands and a handkerchief over most of my face. I grabbed a clothes hanger, because I knew I’d need to slide in behind it and pull it out – gently – and laid paper towels down on the floor to cover the mouse’s projected exit trajectory.

Luckily, everything went according to plan and I got the mouse out in one (sort of) piece.

TRIGGER WARNING IF YOU DON’T LIKE INNARDS.

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Kind of inside-out, but mostly still all stuck together, if nowhere near in the right arrangement.

 

The pest control folks have been called, and will be here this afternoon to do an evaluation and formulate a treatment plan. And hopefully we can get the rodential entry points sealed up and deal with the population that’s still in the walls, and I hope they haven’t spread into all the attics and stuff, though it’s certainly possible. (And gross.)

But that was my morning. I woke up not feeling great, and though I wasn’t nauseated to begin with, this morning’s peromyscus-fueled adventure definitely added that to the list.

And now Matthew is calling me the mouse-fryer. Sigh.

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