Every night for the past week, after the television goes off and the bedroom is quiet, I hear it. A scratchy, scrabbly noise. Mice in the walls? Always on the far wall,  the outside wall. I hear it for just a few moments, then it’s gone. Is it the continued settling of the house? I want it to be the old house creaking. Our home is getting on in years. 

I should get up and investigate though I doubt I’d see anything. In any case, I don’t look. I don’t really want to know. It’s one more thing to deal with and I hate it. It means killing creatures who in their own habitat are harmless … but in my house, make a God awful mess. Don’t tell me about HavAHeart traps. Been there, done that. We’ve caught them, escorted them outside to the woods and seen them scamper right back in. They aren’t that smart. They don’t get the point.

So this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been invaded, not by any means. No matter how much you seal the house, those little field mice creep in through the tiniest cracks. You wouldn’t believe anything larger than a bug could get in through such a small hole, but every year, when the temperature drops, mice decide our warm house is a better place than the cold out-of-doors. Who could blame them? I sympathize. I do. After all, I prefer the warm house, but it is our house. They are not invited.

MiceArrivingIf you’ve never been invaded by mice, you cannot imagine what a mess they make. They gnaw through plastic boxes that are supposed to protect your possessions from rodents. They leave their droppings everywhere and your house gets that “mousey” smell. Not a good smell. They get into your food cupboards, chew through boxes and bags. They eat your wiring (fire!!) and tear up your insulation. When they get into your car — how do they do that? — they eat the gaskets and the wires and everything else. They used to tear up the inside of my teepee, ripping open pillows to get at the stuffing which they used for nesting material. The bobcat did less damage.

So that noise … it could be mice. It has been, in the past.

We won’t use poison. Poison leaves them to die in the walls where they rot. Nasty. The terriers — especially Bonnie who is young enough so she ought to like hunting — should be taking care of this problem. For some reason, mice don’t attract her. She loves rats and will attack them vigorously (I’ve seen her do it). We have rats around here, but it’s  mice that set up housekeeping. Every year. Like clockwork.

And now, there’s that noise … again.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


        1. Best bait ever? My bread pudding. Got 36 of the little buggers with bread pudding. They like sweet stuff. I could probably just put some sugary stuff on bread and that would do it, but I like the conceit of French Toast. So La-Di-Da 🙂


  1. Guess you just need to get you a cat 🙂 Of course, you could end up with one like Foxie. She catches the little critters all right…only to run right for the pet door into the house. She thinks they are her playmates. She won’t kill one for anything. I have seen her run a mouse ragged outside until it literally dropped from exhaustion! hahahaha I just wish they weren’t so nasty. They are kinda cute…BUT not that cute to keep them around. The worst episode lately was one, maybe more nesting in my sewing machine. Still trying to get rid of that odor. Pee-e-e-yew! OF course, I could do like my mom. She chased them and killed them with the broom! Don’t think I will follow her on that one!


    1. My cats have traditionally been way too comfortable to do anything like chase a mouse! Usually the terriers are pretty aggressive about vermin, but Bonnie is more likely to chase leftovers. Back to baited traps. Our Norwich, Divot, was a mighty huntress. We never had a mouse in the house when she was on her game. She used to stack them like cordwood next to my computer and look very pleased with herself.


      1. I can see that expression now! 😆 BTW We watched Foxie this morning pounce on a mouse as we were having coffee on the porch. It has been awhile since I ran as fast as I did then…right to the back bedroom to lock the cover on the pet door!


      1. My little terriers used to do that and some of the cats over the years. But most of the terriers — who are born and bred to do nothing in this world except kill mice and rats — are too fat and lazy. They have become couch potatos and treats taste better than mice. Lazy bums!


        1. Not that simple. Not with house cats. They need to be a LITTLE hungry, not starving. AND they need to have some kind of hunting instincts. Even in the old days, a good mouser wasn’t just any cat. They were valuable. Any cat might catch the occasional mouse, but a dedicated mouser was worth money. Farmers rented them out to clean out barns and houses. Terriers too were rented in packs to clean out vermin infested barns and other farm buildings. You should SEE a pack of little terriers in a joyous vermin killing frenzy. They don’t do it for food (they don’t eat them). They do it for sport!


          1. Goodness !!! let’s hope they never become zombies.
            (if somebody makes a movie, I better get royalties)

            When I was in grade 4 we lived in an old farm house on dairy farm outside Brooks, Alberta. There was a bunch of wild cats there and Mum eventually coaxed one into the house (over many weeks) but giving them raw liver. She was pure white and we called her Grace. She was a holy terror for mices and taught he kids the same thing. No mouses ever bothered us again.


      1. I have two house cats–probably spoiled, well fed but not overfed, and they are both champion mousers. Its not the cat, it’s how they were trained by Mom. If she hunted, they will. Its a learned instinct, not a built in auto trait. Ive had cats who would bring home rabbits and others who would rather steal from the others than hunt. he hadnt a clue how to kill something. And yes barn cats need to be fed because a mouse isnt enough to sustain them.


        1. Send her here! Her services would be most appreciated 🙂 I’m sure it IS training. I’ve had some cats that would just lay there and watch the mice run around. I love them, but they did NOT work for a living.


  2. You are correct about Barn Cats. But, who wants a feral cat around? There is just something about “Rats In The Walls” that’s just too Lovecraftian! Chuckle. I enjoyed your take on the theme. It’s a universal problem apparently. Mice will survive the apocalypse, I know it.


  3. Contrary to popular choices I use poison, everywhere. By the time you hear them in your cabinets they are under your house and in your walls. Disgusting little fur balls. Yes they can smell if they die in your walls but it’s gone in a day or two. My dogs don’t mess with dead ones if one happens to die out in the open.
    I don’t care if I’m environmentally incorrect, I can’t have cats and I refuse to live with rodents. They will eat your homes wiring if that’s all they have. I put DCON under cabinets each year.


    1. Anyone who has ever had an infestation of rats or mice has lost that sentimentality. Trust me, I’d use poison if they didn’t go off and rot in the walls. Also, the dogs find the poison attractive and I won’t risk them. So we use mouse traps. You know, old fashioned mouse traps. Baited with (are you ready?) French toast. Snap, one dead mouse. Works for me. My best friend has developed all kinds of unique ways to kill rodents. She’s Native and normally doesn’t kill anything she can’t eat, but rodents? No mercy. If you’ve ever had the little bastards in the house, you understand.


  4. The little creatures were dancing up and down the west wall of my writer’s room a few nights ago… And, our old farmhouse has been reconstructed from the bottom, up and all around. At least they’re no longer running around inside. Guess I’ll sit back and enjoy the dancing stride! WE LOVE THIS OLD HOUSE.


    1. If it’s any comfort, it doesn’t matter if the house is old or new. If you live in the country — or even suburbs — when the weather gets cold, our Little Friends decide they’d like a nice cozy heated house to live in. Yours, mine, the neighbors. They can always find a way in.


Talk to me!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.