Of Mice and Men

I like mice. I dunno why.

Somehow, I find them über cute. I like how they are warm to the touch. I like how they skid on slippery floors while zipping through corners. I like how smart they are.

Everyone else in my family HATES them. My girlfriend completely hates them too.

They spoil clothes.

They nibble through important papers.

They bring the plague.

Yadda yadda.

So early this morning, I walked bleary eyed into a family council of war. A mice had nibbled on one of mom`s favorite sarees and it was going to pay the price of its audacity. Plans were being made. The economy was going on a war footing. The best weapons would be purchased. No effort would be spared.

Now, there is a fundamental difference between the way we remove mice from the house. Everyone has a different way of doing it.

Last month, A’s room became mouse-infested, and she freaked out. She told everyone about it. She Googled for tips to remove them. She sprayed lemon and pepper essence until her roomie choked. None of it worked.

So out came the tactical nukes. Small, black bits of rat poison. You know what they look like – they’re squarish and kind of spongy, and have names like “Maxkill”, “Mortein” and “Finale”. They do really nasty stuff to mammalian blood. They’re potent weapons and should work – in theory anyway.

Unfortunately for A, it seems that only a severely dumb rat would eat something like that. HER rat never came near the stuff, preferring to feast on a pair of jeans and Engineering manuals instead. It fairly drove her up the wall. And the fact that she was mildly scared of it didn’t help that much.

Eventually, the rat went away on its own and life went back to normal.

By way of contrast, I caught OUR rat in a day.

My modus operandi was far simpler and far cheaper — all I needed was a breakfast cereal box and a fit pair of legs. Once the bugger had been located, it took me approximately ninety minutes to push him into a corner, cover him with the cereal box and deposit him in the Great Outdoors. No tantrums, no fuss, no nukes and no fur.

Somehow, I just can’t stomach using rat poison and all that junk. Why kill when you can simply remove them? It may have wasted ninety minutes of my time but hey, I saved a life and demonstrated the power of Gandhigiri, where violence fails.

So says this vegetarian. 🙂


17 thoughts on “Of Mice and Men

  1. Awwww! There was this rat in the bathroom once, and I had named it Jerry. I almost cried when it was killed! And I so concur with you! I never kill spiders or lizards either. I am especially in awe of the magnificence of spiders and their webs. The only thing I do kill are cockroaches, mostly because it is either them or me in the living space. Those buggers don’t understand the concept of sharing space!

    • Heh. Back when I lived on campus, I had a flank senior who had a thing for cockroaches. He would pocket (!) any that were in danger of being squashed and would wield them at random times just to creep out some of the self styled super studs in my own batch. Great fun. 😀

  2. kudos to you! My conscience wouldn’t have suffered even a tiny bit if I was to put glue traps around and have the rodents die an unfortunate death.

    I live on the 19th floor [technically 18th as the builders decided to forgo the 13th floor] and while there are no rats in our apartment, there sure as hell were tons of creepy lizards around until just a month or so ago. Just my luck that I’m extremely phobic of lizards. Well, unlike you, I designated my maid to kill them if she found em creeping up the walls. Shooing them away won’t help you see because they’ll come back. And then they might lay eggs –> hundred of tiny slimy creatures in the house.

    • Well, if you’re phobic, you’re phobic.

      Lizards are completely fine by me as long as they stay out of the kitchen.

      I have no idea why lizards creep everyone out so much. It’s not like they’re going to sting you or bite you or anything. Nor do they have six limbs, twenty eyes or thousands of teeth. Pretty normal creatures, really.

      They aren’t all that slimy, either. More leathery than slimy. 😀

  3. That was nice to read.
    I share your horror of killing.
    I also deplore some of our prejudices.
    I feel we humans are not rational when it comes to liking or disliking animals, birds and insects.
    We allow looks to decide what we should adore and what to despise and not the merits of the creature.
    The squirrel is loved but a rat is despised, all because of the fur on the squirrels back.A squirrel can also do the same damage that a mouse does.

    A Cockroach is despised but a butterfly is adored!
    Sometimes it is size that decides if we should tolerate it or be repelled by it.
    We don’t shudder so much when we see black ants and they don’t get the same shoo off treatment that flies receive when they come invited to partake of our food. 

    Colour too plays a part. The black crow is unwelcome. The green parrot is welcome. The multicoloured pea-cock is put on a pedestal.

    Streamlined looks and features play a part too.
    An ass is held in contempt but a horse is admired.
    Food habits of the animal too determine our likes and dislikes. The hyena and jackal are  treated with contempt but a dog is loved. 

    In addition to Fur, colour and size, habitat too influences our likes and dislikes. Those that dwell underground or stay in close touch with the soil like reptiles are not favoured. Birds are admired as they soar high above. Directional discrimination?

    A true animal lover, loves all animals and respects the differences that nature created and does not hold it against them. He loves a ferocious tiger and a poisonous cobra just as much as a docile cow or a furry rabbit.

    From one vegetarian to another: Kudos. Keep writing.

    • Ya know, the squirrels in India look like rats with skinny tails. The ones in Canada have cute bushy tails. But I think one of the reasons for the prejudice against rats is a) they come inside the house and cause havoc and b) they caused the bubonic plague for god’s sake! [and, if I’m not mistaken, a modern outbreak of the plague in India in the 90s].
      As for cockroaches and flies–don’t you think that has more to do with their ‘disease spreading’ than the fact that they’re dark? I’m pretty sure if colorful butterflies and peacocks decided to come into people’s homes and bring their fleas, ticks, and mites along with them–people would treat them as pests to be killed.

      • Kay,
        Dogs too can bring fleas and ticks inside the house.
        Dogs might cause rabies.
        Cats also drop hair all over the place
        Chickens caused bird flu
        Cows caused Mad Cow disease
        Pigs caused swine flue
        Tigers have eaten us up.
        Bees sting.
        Snakes bite and kill us with their venom.
        Horses have been known to kick.

        But mice have been singled out for special disgust by us humans.
        It is no less guilty of offences than scores of other creatures.
        I believe it’s looks play a much more significant part than we are prepared to admit.
        I too plead guilty to being revolted by them. But I would not like to kill them.
        I used to kill cockroaches during my younger days.
        Not any more. As long as they stay in the drains and gutters, I let them be.
        I use a very effective cockroach repellent that keeps them out of my kitchen and bathroom.
        CE finds mice uber cute and warm to the touch!
        The only mice I am willing to touch are the ones hooked to my laptop.

        • //I use a very effective cockroach repellent that keeps them out of my kitchen and bathroom.//

          Seriously, which one is it? My old flat had so many cockroaches, I had no choice but to kill them even though I hated doing it.

        • @Fem,

          I don’t know if this will work for you but it worked for me.
          The product is Lakshman Rekha.
          It is a chemical that looks like a piece of chalk and we used to draw a line on the floor around the kitchen drains and the bathroom gully traps. Cockroaches that emerged from the traps would not cross this line and retreat into the traps and drains.

          Another tip.
          Don’t leave the kitchen in darkness at night. Keep at least a zero watt bulb on.
          Cockroaches like it when it is dark and hesitate to come out when there is light.

          Also I have found that the floors with glazed tiles attract less cockroaches than cement or stone floors.
          Not having a bin with organic food waste under the kitchen sink near thee gully trap also helps. Even if you keep one during the day, move it away from there at night before going to bed.

          Today I live on the sixth floor of a tall apartment building. We don’t have a cockroach problem here unlike in my previous house on the ground floor.
          I believe the higher you live the less the problem but am not sure. May be others who live in tall buildings on the upper floors can confirm this?


        • I don’t think that’s comparable to cockroaches and rats [mice are a tad bit different]. Cows cause mad-cow when you eat them. You can’t catch it by petting one on the head! And you minimize disease in far animals [like pigs, cows, chickens etc] by ethically following government standards.

          Also–cats and dogs are not as adaptive as rats and do not breed as fast [and I don’t think they were the cause of the bubonic plague!]. However, I fully agree on rounding up strays and keeping them in shelters [preferably, no kill shelters]. They do cause a huge rabies risk [to humans and to other animals] and I think it’s more ethical to spay/neuter them and keep them in shelters.

          Seeing stray dogs almost cooking alive in the Delhi summer made me very sad. Seeing cute little puppies turn into skinny, tired looking grown dogs on the streets–resorting to trying to eat a live pigeon, was sadder. Yet I’ve had educated people tell me that spaying and neutering pets is ‘inhumane’…but letting animals reproduce irresponsibly and letting tiny baby animals fend for themselves in the most polluted and overcrowded and brutally competitive environment is ethical?

    • Lol.

      Vishwanathjee, I’ve long known that humans aren’t rational beings at all. We’re not like computers, which run on cold, rigid, predetermined logic.

      Instead, we go through life like a river, flowing from start to end, gaining a calm serenity and breadth as we move onwards to the tranquil sea. On our way, we meet obstacles which we either shatter or flow around. We may even meet another river, and join it in its own journey. And you never know when the odd eddy, the odd patch of turbulence, or some weird quirk may come up. Just like rivers, we all have our own quirks. 🙂

  4. You are one brave soul. Though I am not scared of mice but going out of my way to get hold of one isn’t my cup of tea either.
    It was a fun read. I liked knowing your love for life and the care you took in saving one 😀 😀

  5. Nice one again! I like mice too. I admire them for their ability to adapt to new habitats like clothes cupboards, book shelves.

    Oh, well! I love all animals and can go on and on.

    P.S. According to my grandfather, who is a cat-person, the most practical solution to mice ‘problem’ is keeping a cat. That’s why he has 8 cats to deter a potential mouse invasion! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Mice Repellent: Stop Them Before They Get In : Home and Garden: Roses Vegetables Tomatoes Composting

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