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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Death of a Mouse

It was evening and I was seated in the dining room, when I saw a pair of black, beady eyes, set in a small brown face with rather large ears, peering at me from under the refridgerator. It was time to look for the mouse-trap, I realised, and sought help from my father, since he had put the contraption somewhere when we moved house a few days ago. As a rule, we never use poison or any other lethal methods to get rid of the mice that come as uninvited guests from time to time.

So, I set the trap with a tiny piece of chapatti dipped in ghee (butter-oil) as bait, in the dark alley behind the fridge. I heard the door shut with a loud click late at night, a while after I had gone to bed.

The following morning I got up at the usual hour, which was not very early, performed the daily ablutions and saw my father off to office, before I was ready to go and release the poor creature on to a piece of open land, where I generally set the mice free.

As I closed the gate behind me, the thought of releasing the animal into the nursery across the road did cross my mind, but it was almost instantly negated by one of the keepers accusing me of letting in a pest that might nibble at the roots of the saplings. So, off we went to the clearing, after I had spoken to the rodent for a bit and it had responded by putting on a display of acrobatics for my benefit.

When I found a shady spot under a tree that seemed perfect for the purpose and opened the door, the mouse would not move. I raised the trap on one side to nudge it a little and it rolled on to the ground, belly-side up. I could see its stomach rise and fall as it breathed rapidly and its eyes were open, but it seemed frozen. I used a twig to flip it over, so that it was the right side up. "Perhaps it has passed out due to the oppressively hot weather and will revive in a while.", I thought. Just then, a crow that must have been watching from a branch somewhere above, glided down. I drove the bird away, but almost as soon as I turned my back, it returned to pick the mouse up in its beak and to fly away. I was filled with remorse; I, who hardly ever think twice before digging into a plate of chicken-masala.


Anonymous said...

Ooops!! Dearie me, poor wee mouse!!....sometimes our good intentions don't always turn out that way :(

I'm trying to imagine what your mouse-trap was like...was it sort of more like a cage?...traditional ones tend to snap shut and basically kill any rodents...

When I had one in my place a couple of years back, I opted for a sonic mouse vibrator - it plugs into the wall and a high pitched noise reverberates around the walls and chases away any wee meeces, hopefully without any harm being done....and b.t.w. it works!!

It's easy to eat chicken etc, because a)we're natural carnivores
b)we're not personally involved with the animal ie it's not the family 'pet'
c)we're not directly involved in killing it.

Think I'd find it very difficult to eat an animal if b) or c) was the case, but o/w there's always the free-range option, where available.

nomad said...

I think I know how you feel... a similar thing happened to me as well once. But then, c'est la vie

Sidhusaaheb said...

@Fi: The mouse-trap is like a cage, the door of which snaps shut behind the mouse when it nibbles at the bait. It is only meant to hold the animal captive.

I've no idea whether a sonic vibrator that drives away rodents is available in this part of the world, but will try to find out.

I think where I erred was to not have taken the hot weather into account and to have kept the mouse captive for too long.

@Nomad: C'est la vie, indeed. :)

Pooja Aggarwal said...

Nice read! Landed here from Mridula's blog.

Cyberkitty said...

Ooh, how sad. We have a cat, so no mouse ever comes to our house, even thoough the cat is not interested in catching mice!!

Sidhusaaheb said...

@Pooja: Welcome and thanks! :)

@Cyberkitty: Your cat seems to be a lot like Garfield ( ). :)

Sarah said...

I'm glad you always want to kill the mice humanely. I always buy traps that kill in a humane way. This one does the trick: