Roaches, lizards, and rats were not uncommon visitors back home in India. Even monkeys, cats, and sometimes tiny snakes. I've either seen some of 'em back then or have at least heard stories. But having one of those visitors in our apartment here in US was a surprise. More of a shock, if I may admit. Especially because we figured out several days later after it made its small home in our home. We had been noticing the fruits being nibbled, but thought it was probably some insect, until one night ...
I was on laptop until late night, surfing the internet, passing my time until I was ready to fall asleep. Suddenly I saw a shadow of something. I thought it was just an illusion. You know how sometimes you just move a little and you see a shadow of the furniture or things near a wall at night? Or how you see the shadow of a car swiftly passing by your window facing the road during the daytime? I thought on the same lines, until I saw the shadow again, this time heard it quickly running away.
That's it. Freaked out to the core in the living room, while husband asleep in the bedroom, I stood on top of a chair for half an hour, silently and patiently, to see what in the world was happening in my house - precisely in my kitchen, the place I spend almost the whole day in. But nothing came out, nothing went in. So I tried to wake my husband up, "I am scared. I think there's something in our apartment. I think it's something small like a rat." He stood wide awake, more because of hearing I was feeling scared than the latter part about the rat. When I explained to him what happened, I heard him say, "You must be imagining." Okay, I tend to imagine scenarios, but I wasn't here, something was real. He couldn't believe me, and suggested to leave the video recording on on my laptop's webcam all night. He'd see in the morning whether I was hallucinating or otherwise.
The next morning, we anxiously fast-forwarded the 7-hour video, and this is what we saw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I went berserk. THIS was what I'd been staying with all day in the kitchen past 5 days, without a sound or hint of its existence behind the dishwasher. No effing way was I going to stay indoors all day. No way. Ignorance was bliss, until just about then. We had to get rid of it right away, after all I gave my husband an ultimatum - either the mouse goes out of the house or I would. It wasn't a test; I knew my husband loved me more.
It took us a week to get rid of the cute but annoying mouse. Even today when I walk in my kitchen I tend to get cautious. I will never forget the rat that stole my plum.
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No offense to animal protection folks, rodent lovers and those who keep them as pets, but for those of us who'd like these creatures out of our house, here are some notes on how to get (and how we got) rid of it:
- We bought mouse traps, rat bait pellets, and glue traps. Would have bought the ultrasonic sound rodent repellent, but feared the rat might run in our bedroom instead of patio. If you don't want to hurt the animal, you can buy the cage instead, and then dispose off. Several other types of traps are available.
- We didn't place the bait wedge initially because we thought if it dies inside its little home, we won't be able to take it out. But we later learned from the pest control guy that after it eats the bait pellets, its stomach and system starts to get upset, and it always goes far away from the bait, coming out of its home in search of water.
- Traps and bait pellets have to be placed parallel and close to the wall where rodent action has been seen. Rodents traverse sticking close to the walls.
- For mouse traps and glue traps, don't place newspaper underneath if you feel it would be disgusting to pick the rodent along with the trap. If your mouse is a smart-ass like ours, it will notice a difference in the texture of the floor that it has been regularly crawling on, it will be more careful and may not get trapped. Yes, we did this on Day 2 of trapping it and failed. But you may try.
- Place only a teeny-weeny amount of cheese, peanut butter, or any other bait on the spring-loaded mouse trap. I placed a generous portion on it, so the mouse nibbled from the sides, and because of the very little pressure on the trigger, the bar snapped but the mouse escaped. Day 3, failed.
- You have to be very, very, very, very, extremely careful with the spring-loaded mouse traps. When hooking it up, handle very carefully otherwise you will break your fingers. When walking near it, be very careful otherwise you will lose your toes.
- It does not come out during the day time, only at nights. So continue to do what you do, unless you're scared to death like me and prefer staying out all day.
- Clean the whole area wherever you think it has crawled. Especially its droppings. Rats tend to spread diseases.
- Or keep it as your pet and give it a cute name :-)