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Better Mouse Traps

03/07/2018 1:13 PM

I live in a 140-year old house, meaning there's pretty much always rodent activity in my cellar and garage (more of a barn than garage). This year I've become more serious about trying to keep the mice out and eliminating the ones that get in.

In my search for a more efficient trap than the usual wire snap traps, I stumbled upon a YouTube personality who's sort of obsessed with mouse traps. He's made dozens of videos testing different traps, including antique ones to find out if the principle behind these still works.

A few favorites:

The CO2-powered "captive bolt" rat/squirrel trap from New Zealand:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqlwUXP-ubI

An 1876 live-catch "delusion" trap -- I think this one's pretty ingenious:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqj7NqzXsmg

A trap design developed in 1590, and still effective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvWD-E-gbkk

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#1

Re: Better Mousetraps

03/07/2018 1:17 PM

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#2

Re: Better Mousetraps

03/07/2018 1:27 PM

You just need more cats....

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Better Mousetraps

03/07/2018 2:44 PM

I agree S.E., cats are very effective at keeping the mice away. I have 2 cats and no mice, my neighbors on both sides of me are always complaining about mice.

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#8
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Re: Better Mousetraps

03/07/2018 5:52 PM

Where on earth is Del when needed, eh?

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#16
In reply to #2

Re: Better Mousetraps

03/08/2018 9:16 AM

We have plenty of outdoor cats, but none indoors. Still plenty of mice indoors. Also cats are too well fed. Use a live trap baited with vanilla wafers and peanut butter.

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#24
In reply to #16

Re: Better Mousetraps

03/08/2018 12:34 PM

Mice love chocolate too. I found several foil wrappers in a sliding door pocket when we actively had mice. You can melt the chocolate and dab it on the trigger. Works great and doesn't get carried off.

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#3

Re: Better Mousetraps

03/07/2018 1:59 PM

I live in a 140-year old house, meaning there's pretty much always rodent activity in my cellar and garage (more of a barn than garage).

Well, our drafty old farm house we grew up in, the only thing that kept us warm was our dry sense of humor,... my dad referred to our house it as a corn crib.

Anyways back to your problem, look for ways that are attracting the mice,... other than the cold months.

We had a mice infestation one year,.. we couldn't figure out why it was so bad.

Then in the spring we were spring-cleaning and by our entrance, behind some plants, my mom had a 50lb bag of bird seed, that was half gone. With evidence of mice.

When we got rid of that, we no longer had a problem of mice.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Better Mousetraps

03/07/2018 2:35 PM

I've had a lot of "Eureka" moments like that. One spring we found a half-eaten chunk of Christmas chocolate my wife dropped in her closet, another winter we found a one-inch gap around our washer's drain pipe. Amazingly one spring they got into the medicine closet and ate an entire bag of cough drops and a whole tube of toothpaste.

After solving these issues we don't really have an issue with mice in the house anymore. Thankfully they've never gotten near any food supplies.

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#6
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Re: Better Mousetraps

03/07/2018 3:22 PM

Even when you effectively eliminate the food sources, the mice will still go exploring in your kitchen cabinets and drawers in search of food and leave their calling cards as evidence. Since, we've added cats to the house, we have not had any 'yuck' moments in the silverware drawer.

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#7

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/07/2018 4:57 PM

you need a Tin Cat

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#9

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/07/2018 10:00 PM

The only reason to catch live mice is if you have a pet snake.

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#10

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/07/2018 10:45 PM

I like the 1590 design. Simple and straight forward and easy to make.

I'm Lucky I have a cat who is a great mouser/ratter. Caught his first full grown rat at the tender age of 10 months old! He earns his kibbles that kid!

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#20
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 11:00 AM

The video didn't show the removal process for that 1590 "Mascall Springe Trappe", but I guess it's simple... just press down on the spring as if to set the trap... shake dead vermin loose above a garbage bucket. The garroting might also be bloodless? Or close to it. Bloodless and zero actual touching of carcasses rank pretty high in my assessment of traps.

Handling dead rodents is not high on my list of preferred activities. OTOH handling live distressed cornered/captured ones ranks a good bit below that.

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#11

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 4:24 AM

When we have mouse plague I've seen the cat soooooo full that it watched mice walking past it's nose. We build see-saw traps over 20L drums half filled with liquid. Water with detergent, so they cannot climb the sides.

Worst plague we would empty 10 drums each morning and afternoon. (They got so full that the later ones could climb out.) Upgraded to three or four 44Gal drums with 3 or 4 see-saws each. Still had to empty each morning.

Started using a little sump oil on the water instead of detergent. Helped to start the incineration process for the daily captives.

Totally unpleasant.

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#15
In reply to #11

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 9:10 AM

I'm looking to set up a bucket trap for the garage...I think they're the most efficient traps out there. We also have chipmunks occasionally so the bucket would take care of them too. A few weeks ago a chipmunk got into a baited mouse trap with extremely unpleasant results...drowning is also unpleasant but at least it's quick and humane.

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#18
In reply to #11

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 10:18 AM

Wow!!!....Now that's what you call Biblical proportions...

Cool video on Natgeo....

http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/videos/natures-weirdest-events/the-aussie-mouse-plague-3638.aspx

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#19
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 10:30 AM

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#12

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 4:55 AM

Insect screens can be a weak point for mouse / rat ingress. Have found that an extra layer, of 1/2" welded stainless mesh along with the mozzie mesh, can stop them.

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#13

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 5:04 AM

Another vote for the cat from me. We also live in an old house and for years we had mouse infestations. You could hear them climbing around inside the walls and occassionally they would even jump up and run across the bed while I was in bed. Anyway, we got a cat last year after our last greyhound died and we haven't had a single mouse poop in the house or heard them in the walls all winter. I don't even think he is catching any, he's just a deterrant. He has caught a couple of birds and brough them to me but no mice.

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#14

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 5:45 AM

Here's an old one which was exhibited at Reading Museum of English Rural Life, which demonstrated that it was still effective:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0gzettGorg

https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/merl/2016/02/03/155-year-old-mouse-trap-claims-its-latest-victim/

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#17

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 9:52 AM

In the garage I use a bucket trap. An empty (to us) peanut butter jar is the bait; it has a hole cut in the bottom for a metal rod that goes thru from top to bottom. This rod also goes thru holes in a 5 gallon bucket to hold the PB jar in the middle. The bucket has several inches of antifreeze in the bottom. A ramp goes from the ground up to the rod. They get into the PB jar, lick it clean, then fall into the antifreeze with the expected results. Doesn't get emptied often enough, but can easily catch a dozen over time.

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#21

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 11:10 AM

I read about a system in the Chaski machinist forum a few years ago. The guy ran copper tape across the threshold of his shop interior doorways about 1-1/2" apart. Spacing depended on the rodent of choice. He connected them to 220VAC. His comment was that you didn't go into the shop barefoot. He would listen for the pop and then get a broom and dustpan.

I've seen something similar for the garden for slugs. A pvc strip with two stripes of copper tape down the strip and then a cut out PVC plastic pipe cover to let the slugs crawl in, but keep rain off the copper strips. This one was hooked up to 120vac.

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#22
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 11:49 AM

Good for the occasional manslaughter, if not premeditated -

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#23
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 11:53 AM

Soon, we will see armoured mice...

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#29
In reply to #23

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 4:13 AM

Sure.

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#25

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 3:22 PM

keeping the grass around the outside your house putting green short will help stop new mice from coming in.

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#34
In reply to #25

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 5:05 PM

Yes, and better still, plant hawkweed near the house and barn instead of grass. No cover for rodents.

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#37
In reply to #34

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 5:55 PM

I hadn't heard of hawkweed. I see that some species are highly invasive, at least in certain climates. Which variety do you recommend, in which climate type do you live, and do you do anything to control the spread?

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#38
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 8:55 PM

We're in a cold wet climate with a short growing season - there are three or four species of hawkweeds here at least several are introduced spp. but I don't find them terribly invasive. They do just fine on poor ground, and if they get into vegetable beds they're shallow rooted not difficult to pull - nor do they produce gazillions from seed every year like some pest weeds do. Not a notable weed of tilled ground, and don't come back from broken pieces of root. They are not toxic to livestock, but I see the comment they may "reduce the amount of feedstock". I haven't seen them invade the well established tall grass here but I suppose it depends on conditions. They do get into lawns (mowed) and probably could do the same on heavily grazed pasture.

The more useful ones as a ground cover on paths and near buildings are the ones that spread by stolons to form a patch. Their leaves are a rosette and are really flat to the ground. The only tall part of the plant is the flower stem.

The one I often see here around old barns is Hieracium aurantiacum aka Devil's Paintbrush which is an orange-red flower. There are usually some yellow ones as well - not sure what the local species is but it is the most vigorous of the lot, and again has a single flower stem 1-2 ft tall usually one or two flowers. The Mouse Ear is easy to tell from the other yellows because the underside of their leaves is furry and white. That is H. pilosella. I see the wiki talks about stolon-forming Hieraciums as a distinct group "Pilosella".

Here is what the California government thinks of H. aurantiacum "pest", and illegal alien to a number of western states/provinces.

http://blogs.cdfa.ca.gov/Section3162/?tag=orange-hawkweed

"Hawkweed refers to the fact that many species of this genus grow at high altitudes that are only accessible by hawks." Rubbish!! And any number of herbals will claim that "hawks used it to improve their eyesight" What a crock. The growth habit of the plant allows the hawks to see their prey and take them. We plant them by the barn, "to improve the eyesight of hawks".

There are quite a few native to California, so maybe there are some local species in the pilosella group that would serve the purpose. Or there may be other less maligned species of plant with the same type of growth habit, non toxic, non alien, uninvasive, non threatening except of course to mouse and rat, who would be exposed on the way to the barn.

Here's a link to some local California hawkweeds:

http://www.calflora.org/species/sci-H.html

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#39
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/10/2018 11:47 AM

Thanks for taking the time for that reply! I'd definitely do more research before planting any variety on my property. Most of the area where this might be appropriate on my property is in lawn. The vast majority of the property is covered with trees, so it wouldn't do any good anyway.

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#26

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 10:39 PM

I'm surprised that after 25 posts, no one has mentioned the battery-operated electric traps. I got a Victor battery-operated trap to catch the rats from my firewood pile. It caught them in about three days, so I moved it inside the garage, and it caught a mouse there. Nothing but peanut butter as the attractant.

Of course the most important thing is to avoid poisons, as poisoned rodents then poison the raptors, making the problem worse.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/08/2018 10:47 PM

Or sticky traps

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#28
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 12:03 AM

The poisons also make the rodent extremely thirsty, and it will chew through a plastic pipe or hose to get to it, and it will do this within a 100' radius of the poison! So, poison leads directly to someone's pipes, dishwasher, garden hose, ....

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#41
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/10/2018 11:24 PM

The newer PEX pipe should be avoided for plumbing, also.. Rats love it. Have no idea why.., but you can try and Googling it..

A good friend lost the ceiling in his house to water damage,while he was vacation. Rats ate through the newly installed PEX lines that ran in the attic. He went back to what was there prior, Copper..

He also installed all new heavy screened attic vents and sealed every opening from the exterior into the house.. No rats, and lots of hot water..

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#30
In reply to #26

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 8:57 AM

I like those electric traps, too -- they seem humane enough. When I go to stores looking for mouse traps I'm always surprised that glue and poison traps outnumber the more humane options...it's usually 25% glue traps, 25% snap traps and maybe 50% involving some sort of poison. I hate mice but I'd rather not torture them.

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#36
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 5:17 PM

I like these too. If rats ever get into my house, I'll get one of these. (Ok I really want that NZ one in the OP, wowwww.... I was telling a farmer friend about that one today, the ears pricked up just like a cat. "They just fall out of it? And ready for the next one? ... " Definitely worth the cash if you have a forever issue with rats.)

I can't understand how anyone could use those sticky traps. There's a neighbor's pet consideration here for poison too, not even to mention the raptors.

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#40
In reply to #26

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/10/2018 11:08 PM

I read on another site about the Victor unit. I could not find out how much replacement traps cost. What can you tell me ?

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#42
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/11/2018 5:22 AM

Victor Tin Cat

We have one, it works great.

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#43
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/11/2018 11:08 AM

In the page it says..

Like glue traps it allows for catch and release.

Oops.. not me this time.

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#44
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/11/2018 5:38 PM

There is no "replacement trap". The one I got is this one:

It's shown at the top of the page in the link I provided in post#26, but when I scroll down, I don't see it for sale. I got mine at HD for about $40.

The unit I got uses 6 C cells. I presume it includes an oscillator, transformer, and diode(s) to charge a high voltage capacitor. You put a little peanut butter inside the small holes in the closed end as bait. There are three metal plates/electrodes on the floor of the device, these apparently act both as sensor and as electrocution electrodes.

You would NOT want to place one of these where a small child has access, as a small hand could easily fit in the open end and reach the electrodes. I suspect it could be rather painful, although not likely lethal, since only one hand/arm would fit inside.

There is only room for one large rat or a few mice. I suspect the presence of one killed animal would prevent it from making another kill until the first is removed. Once it has made a kill, a red LED is illuminated for 24 hours. You simply carry the unit with the vermin inside (if it is a large rat, the tail will be sticking out) to your disposal site, and dump it out. If it has been more than a few days since last baited, then use a stick to remove most of the old peanut butter, and add some new PB, switch it back on, and it's ready to go again. A single set of batteries can make many kills.

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#46
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/11/2018 7:18 PM

We only had an issue with small rodents and this model Victor Tin Cat caught them all.

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#47
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/12/2018 12:58 AM

I'm not interested in catch and release, especially when it comes to rats (Not a native species)! I'm quite happy to let the device do the killing.

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#50
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/12/2018 11:55 AM

Of course the most important thing is to avoid poisons, as poisoned rodents then poison the raptors, making the problem worse.

Beyond the effect on other wildlife is that a poisoned mouse/rat can still crawl into a wall, ceiling, or other unreachable place to die. It will then decompose and create an awful stench for you to suffer through.

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/12/2018 12:09 PM

Yep! I'm unfortunately familiar with that smell, but not since I started using the electric trap.

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#31

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 10:02 AM

I use wood traps for rat's and mice.

I've found using as many as you can all at once is very effective.

The biggest rats may need more than a single snap to subdue, but if not on night one, trap one it will be another.

I used to put out a single trap or two almost every night, which is a lot of work.

Now I wait a week or two and put out 8/12 traps around the yard for a couple of nights.

..If I spy one in the day?. the pellet gun gives it a sporting chance.

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#32
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 10:20 AM

Wow! You must have a lot of rats around, although perhaps not as many as they seem to have in Australia! I live on the edge of a brush/forest of many acres, so assumed that I'd have the vermin coming from there, but I usually only get 4 or 5 rats and an occasional mouse each year.

Many years ago, I tossed my kitchen vegetable refuse in my compost pile, and that definitely attracted rats. Now I put the kitchen refuse in a large plastic barrel, and dig a hole and bury it about once a year. That really improves my clay soil wherever I bury it.

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#33
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 2:14 PM

The cold winter gave me a break. We do have a lot of rats if left unchecked.

The large number of traps is deceptive as I can go awhile without any catch.

I don't get rats/mice in the house/garage, but I also compost kitchen scraps. ..which is a good area to set a trap!

Years ago I was working at a home with a big mouse problem. That plus a 1+ acre fish pond. I caught the mice in a bucket at night with a peanut buttered can on a wire over a 5 gallon bucket. (pre-uTube!?) In the AM I'd toss the mice into the pond and let them swim for their lives as the bass and catfish developed a hearty appetite for them.

after the first several dozen there was rarely fish food.

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#35

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/09/2018 5:07 PM

We had a family of stray cats move into the neighborhood and the mice moved out or were taken out. If you want to catch and release elsewhere the Tin Cat is the way to go.

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#45
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/11/2018 6:44 PM
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#48

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/12/2018 7:15 AM

You've had lots of votes for cats and also for electric traps: what about an electric cat:-

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#49
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Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/12/2018 8:56 AM

When it comes to international trade, Communications is the key,... but why is it when something was lost in the translation it always defaults to China's Sex Toys.

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#52

Re: Better Mouse Traps

03/12/2018 11:47 PM

When I lived in NYC, we had an old wood frame house, and mice every winter.

After the kids moved out, we got a kitten - one mouse in the 12 or so years we had him, and that guy had made a mistake and promptly disappeared.

When he got so sick that we had to put him down, we got a second kitten. This guy was a hunter. He would regularly check (and leave his scent) the whole house from basement to attic - one mouse, and he got it.

Very low maintenance - food. litter, occasional visits to the vet and some cat toys. No walking (great on cold, snowy or rainy days), plus they're fun to play with, or keep themselves busy.

Took the second guy with us when we moved to NC.

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