I was watching a little TV the other night. My college-age daughter came up from the basement and said, “I have something to tell you. There’s a mouse in the washing machine.”
That is not all that surprising. We do have mice now and then. We use a humane trap (through trial and error, we have concluded that peanut butter and cheese get them in there real quick) and then release them in the woods to live out their tiny little existence. They are cute little buggers. They’re just hungry and looking for food. How much could they possibly eat? Sometimes they stand in the pantry on a shelf at our eye level and stare us down. More often, they run away when they hear us.
So, my daughter needed to do her laundry and the little mouse was preventing that. How did she discover the mouse? She had just started to put her clothes into the washer when she noticed her clothes were moving. That is not supposed to happen. Then the little mouse showed itself.
What to do??? Well, my daughter was on her way out the door to visit a friend and said she would do her laundry over there. I thought that was weird. Since she had no solutions, she “phoned a friend” (ha ha) who doesn’t mind handling critters of all types. That friend did not pick up. Sadly.
I was still sitting there in front of the TV running through all the possible solutions. My main concern was not to touch the mouse. I mean, what if it has rabies??? I fully realize that the possibility of it having rabies is very small, but I didn’t want to take any chances. Let’s see, painful shots or possible death. No. Just no. So my first solution of trapping it in a pillowcase or towel was deemed (by me) to be way too risky. I kept wondering, how do I keep a distance from the little thing?
Then, eureka! I got a small cardboard box, about an eight-inch cube. I cut an opening and fed a very long piece of duct tape (yes, it can fix everything, you will need it in the complete societal breakdown and subsequent apocalypse, go get some) through the opening. I now had a mouse container hanging 18 inches below my hand and arm. But, I must make the box of death (okay, more of a prison, wait, make that a holding cell in the county jail) enticing and irresistible. I smeared some (can you guess???) PEANUT BUTTER deep in that box. My trap was set. And I wouldn’t be in any danger of touching the mouse.
The next step involved three of us (everyone in the house at the time, this is a big event!) peering into the washer and taking pictures (we have to post on social media, of course) of the mouse peeking out of her clothes, just the eyes, so cute. And more pictures of the mouse running around in the washer. Oh, wait. It must be frightened now because it is peeing and pooping all over the place. Not good.
I lowered the trap into the washer, thinking that the peanut butter would work its magic and the mouse would be drawn like a magnet immediately into the little mouse-size room. No, that didn’t happen. It began to run, startling all of us, one daughter almost dropped her phone into the washer (I thought she DID), and we all shrieked uncontrollably with laughter. Then we got serious. We had to find something to corral the minuscule beast. The part-cattle-dog that we have was not going to work. She would have just killed it anyway. (She did that once, and we were all sad.) So, a nearby broom was turned upside down to make a scary stick that the mouse would run away from, finding sanctuary in the cardboard box, along with a yummy meal.
We needed a clean field in which to work. No clothes to serve as a temporary hideout. So, I used the broomstick to lift out the underwear and sports bra. My daughter didn’t want to touch them so she flung them away toward my face. Accidentally. I think. Now with nothing in the washer except the trap and the mouse, we were ready to do battle with the beastie. At this point, the stars aligned and the mouse did, indeed, run INTO the box. But I wasn’t absolutely sure. So I carefully lifted up the box, peered inside from a safe distance, and then began shouting about my success. The daughters were no longer by my side at this point. Maybe they thought, Mom’s got this. Nah. They just didn’t want to touch the mouse or have it somehow leap onto them.
I carried the box, dangling from the long duct tape (go get some), very gingerly, in the hopes that mousie would stay in it until we reached our destination a reasonable twelve feet away. I couldn’t carry it all the way outside and away from our house in that open-air trap. The mouse might have decided to crawl out of the box, scale the tape, and then munch on my arm. I lowered the box to the floor, jiggled it to make it no longer a safe haven, and then watched the mouse, free once more, run away.
Epilogue: My daughter immediately started her laundry, right on top of the mouse pee and poop. I told her that I agreed it was a fine idea, since all the sweat and dirt she gets into her clothes is much worse. Then off to her friend’s house, with a good story to tell.
“Mom, what if there’s a mouse in the dryer?”
Click for a very short video of our experience.