Taking Care of Mice and SquirrelsPublished March 12, 2013
I was hanging out on Facebook early last Sunday morning, sipping coffee and performing my daily ritual; tending my 17 virtual spacious Farm Town gardens. I was also feeling extremely cheated by the loss of an hour of precious sleep and struggling to adjust to the insanity of Daylight Saving Time.
As I was rubbing the traces of sleep-deprivation-film from my eyes, out of the blue, I was fully awakened by an incoming message from an animal loving writer friend, with a cheery greeting.
She said she had recently run across a couple of articles I had written about my husband Marty’s obsession and on-going quest to find the perfect squirrel-proof bird feeder. She told me she loves squirrels and has been feeding them for years. But she was upset that some of them have recently become rather “naughty”; chewing holes in her house siding. She can even hear their hijinks through the wall and knows it must be fixed, but she is concerned there may babies that need protection.
As we chatted, the conversation ultimately turned to my experience with a little brown field mouse who had taken up residence in the kitchen of the house my late husband Bill and I shared, in a small town in New York State in Westchester County.
I will never forget the sassy diminutive rodent who brazenly introduced himself to me in the wee hours of the morning when I tiptoed down the stairs into the kitchen to get a snack. But for a minute did this cheeky little guy consider scampering in terror under the refrigerator? Heck no! There he stood on his hind legs in the middle of the kitchen floor, staring up at me, defiantly wiggling his nose; demanding me to share my midnight meal with him.
He got me to thinking that to be so bold, he must be starving to death. So, of course, being a humane and compassionate sucker; I gently offered him a morsel of cheese. He grabbed that bad boy from my fingertips up so fast, gobbling it up in a nanosecond that I couldn’t help but give him another piece. And it was only after I was completely convinced that his appetite was satiated, that I left the kitchen and went back to bed.
Since it wasn’t my habit to grab midnight snacks, and I had fallen in love with this hungry little critter, I started leaving him some food every night before we retired. But then I began worrying that he may not have access to water, so I also left him a bottle top filled with a fresh cool drink.
And when several months later I had to attend to an out of town conference for several days, besides feeding our three cats, Bill agreed to take on the unique duties of a devoted mouse keeper. And since our kitties freely roamed house, the kitchen became off limits to the felines.
However, about a year later, we became quite concerned when one morning we noticed that the nightly food offering remained untouched. Fortunately, much to my relief, about six months later, in the wee-hours of the morning when I tip-toed down the stairs to grab a midnight snack, there he was again; standing up on his hind legs, glaring at me, demanding to be fed! His unexplained absence will always remain a mystery, but I occasionally wonder if another mouse is once again gracing that little house in Westchester County, with its presence.
What experiences have you had with wildlife in your home? Share them in a comment.