• Happy Autumnal Equinox! 🌗


In theory cats work for their keep, but in practice, at least in this house, they always sat looking offended whenever a mouse would scamper along the baseboard. I tried to renegotiate our rodent-cat-person relationship numerous times but to no avail. My house, my mouse, my problem. Crumpled foil, loose yarn, and cat toys however they'd find no end of energy to deal with, and often around 3 am, from one end of the house to the other. The mouse would come out from under the fridge to look on with disgust what was keeping him and the missus and their 50 kids up at that hour. Eventually I dealt with my mouse problem one at a time, the way Al did in the photo above. Peanut butter used as bait. Either I ran out of mice or they developed a peanut allergy, because I haven't found a victim in a trap in a few years. Coincidentally the 3 cats left our home for that better kitty cat place in the sky (I assume) round about the same time. Maybe the mice missed the company.
Aside from the occasional mouse in the open pack or chipmunk around the camp kitchen, we've not had much rodent company on trips.
This is embarrassing and disgusting, but I'll talk about it because it's perversely interesting: We've had mice INSIDE our refrigerator!

For the past 40+ years in Woodstock, NY, and Connecticut we've lived in the woods and have always had field mice in the house, especially in the cold months after breeding. My wife literally won't kill anything alive, so we've always trapped them and released them far from the house. This type of trap, which uses peanut butter, is a very effective humane trap:

Two summers ago we had our house painted and the garage door was open every day for five months. I imagine all sorts of critters got inside. In winter we found mouse evidence inside the refrigerator. Disgusto, but an interesting science detective problem.

Mice will nest under an appliance such as a refrigerator because the motor keeps it warm under there. We set traps around the base of the refrigerator and even inside. Sure enough, we caught them in all places including twice inside. But how were they getting inside? It's a fairly new refrigerator and there was no sign of gnawing on, or compromise of, the rubber door seals.

Doing some refrigerator research, I found out that most refrigerators have a hole or slit against the back wall, which allows condensation on that wall to drip down that opening, through a tube, and into a moisture collection pan near the floor. The mice had apparently learned to squeeze up through that moisture opening.

Solution? I read that mice will chew on just about anything but not steel wool, which will cut their mouths. So, I stuffed stainless steel wool into the drainage slit on the refrigerator, which blocked mouse entry while still allowing moisture drip-through.

We wiped out that infestation in three days of trapping and have never had a repeat of a mouse in the refrigerator. Thank the Big Cheese.
There's a commercially available solution called "Stuff It", essentially a copper version of a Brillo pad.
Easily cut with scissors, and just as easily stuffed into gaps, it is extremely effective in preventing rodent intrusion.
As I understand it, the Stuff It doesn't agree with the fillings in rodent teeth...
Being the compassionate person that I am and recognizing his pain I sit down next to a tree laughing so hard tears run down my cheeks.
For many years I have been instructor of a BSA wilderness trek leader guide training program at Lows Lake. Hanging the bear bag on the first night was always a stressful time for whoever happened to be the student "leader of the day" under evaluation at the time. Always serious at first, the exercise often degraded into a humorous event, with any number of rocks, sticks, shoes, water bottles, etc. with rope stuck in the crotch of a tree, or wrapped tightly around a branch after unsuccessful throws or the rope.

However, a fellow instructor thought he had a perfect solution that turned out to be even more humorous. Using a powerful slingshot with a metal washer tied to fishing line, then to a rope, he launched the washer with perfect aim toward going over a selected tree branch. But not a long enough fishing line and when it reached the end it snapped back, directing the washer at max speed straight toward and into my friend's forehead. "that is going to leave a mark" as we all roared at the event that could have been even more serious.
Mice are the cutest little creatures. Unfortunately, they are destructive and poop and pee on everything spreading parasites and disease.
I had them transfer the contents of a bag of dog food into my car's ventilation system, chew through a coolant hose, and build a nest on the cabin air filter. On a canoe trip, they emptied a bag of gorp and leaving a hole in my food bag. The purchase of a GrubPack (now discontinued) put a stop to that. In the canoe shed, a rodent chewed through a rope holding up one end of a canoe causing it to crash to the floor. All the ropes have now been replaced with chains. I use inhumane traps but no glue traps. I have had good success with the traps with the large, yellow plastic trigger plate. My cat can only deal with the tip of the population iceberg.
The problem with cats, unless they are indoor only, is that they are the single worst threat to birds and small mammals, killing tens of billions every year in the U.S. alone. Yes, they do more damage than habitat loss.
City moose don't get too excited around people. They are used to us and will hold their ground. They don't run like a whitetail typically will, although I had seen deer mingling with tourists in Old Forge NY.
The local joke around Old Forge is those numerous deer frequently seen walking in the paved streets and sidewalks of town are on the payroll of the Chamber of Commerce to attract the city tourists.
We had two cats who would roam around the house at night, catch a mouse in the basement, and carry it up two flights of stairs to our bedroom. Then they would release it. And get the dog involved. so at 2:00 am we would have pandemonium, with two cats and a 50 lb dog chasing this mouse all over the room, digging under furniture, and racing around frantically. Until the mouse would escape to the loft, and eventually under the closet door. We eventually found where they were getting in, fortunately, but it took a very long time.

For a while, we had enough mice that the cats got bored. After one “play” session, I watched as the mouse I herded toward one of the cats scampered right past one’s nose, and he just looked at it and waved. We also had bats for a while - I don’t know if we actually solved that one, or all the bats have died of white-nose disease. Then there were the flying squirrels in the roof, and eventually one spot in a wall. That one was a mess. 😬 Whenever I hear scratching noises above me at night, I shudder. Log houses have lots of intrusion points.
Chipmunks cost me 200 bucks last month after they stuffed the heater blower fan on my car full of acorns. Two years ago, when the car still belonged to my mother, it cost her about $800.00 to fix electrical damage caused by a grey squirrel.

In Ak. we've have an ongoing problem with red squirrels getting into our house above our bedroom ceiling. I usually have to kill a few every couple months, and I expected an issue when I got back up here last week. Fortunately (for all involved) the house was squirrel free. I did see an ermine come out from under the porch, so I guess that's a help. I caught an ermine in my live trap last winter and it sprayed a strong smelling urine in it. I thought the urine could be a good deterrent, but maybe not, because it didn't prevent the squirrels from going back in the trap.
Our neighbors spend the winters in Arizona and one spring after returning to Maine they were getting ready to make dinner and found this.
Pretty effective trap but I’m not sure how they even got in there.
A house that we rented years ago had a bad flying squirrel problem. You could hear them in the walls all throughout the house. It was an old house with a dirt floor basement.

I set up a bucket trap in the basement and checked it about a week later. The water was cloudy but I could see some dead rodents floating on top. I wasn't sure how many were in there. I took it outside into the woods and dumped it out. It made my stomach turn. I counted 13 flying squirrels and 2 mice.

I set up the trap again and got a few more, but not like that first round. We would still see a mouse here and there, but we didn't have a flying squirrel problem after that massacre.

Canoeing, I have had the most trouble with rodents in the parking areas. I have came back from a few trips to find evidence of mice inside the car, even without leaving any food in there. It tends to happen toward the end of the season when the rodents have gotten used to seeing cars as food sources.

I've stayed at many leanto sites, but I have always set up a hammock and tarp instead of sleeping in the leanto. I've just seen enough mice running around the leantos during the day/evening to make me not want to sleep on the floor with them at night.