Monday, 21 May 2012

Building a Better Mouse Trap

    If you have never heard some version of “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” You are … well … young, and aren’t reading this blog either. When is the world going to stop escalating the war against small rodents?

   There are other good questions too. “How do you unload the damned thing?”, “How much of your personal economy are you going to involve in wiping out a source of amusement?” and “What if I fail?” are three that come to mind. I’m not prepared to offer answers to your own problems but I do have a few thoughts or I wouldn’t be sitting here using up my valuable time. I’d be out on another mouse hunt.

   If I put up a likely collection of effective tools on the table, like maybe these:

You would probably just end up breaking furniture and making repairmen wealthy. Of course there is a chance that a mouse or two might laugh himself to death.

    What we need is some thinking outside the box, and I don’t mean one of these:

   It’s time for the good old American ingenuity, the kind of thing that has gotten us through world wars and filled our houses with things we don’t really need. I’ve brought along a good sized bag of that. It was on sale and I had a couple of extra dollars that day.  
First of all, we must understand the enemy

and consider some of the things that have failed to bring him to his knees in the past. Here are some of the collections of weak attempts that haven’t wiped out the rodent population yet.


  In my house the average mouse is about four inches long, not counting the tail. I know because I have seen plenty of them. Oddly a lot of them were floating in a bucket of water I left outside the back door, preventing me from trapping them. They don’t all play fair.

   They run, but not very fast. They zig and zag just enough to cause me to have flat feet after years of trying to stomp them out of existence. They don’t really bite or scratch aggressively, unless you pick one up, (still working on better lines in hopes of doing that) and they lack the talents of a skunk or an armadillo in the unusual defense department. The only thing they really have going for them is multiplication. It seems to work.

    Of note, things other than traps have been tried but they have not solved MY mouse problem. I refuse to spend money on an electronic gadget that says right up front that it doesn’t do anything detectable by humans. I suspect they are merely collection of obsolete computer parts that have been soldered together in an impressive manner that don’t really do anything, detectable or not.

    Mom won’t let me play with poisons or explosives. I think they might work, or at least be a lot of fun. I’ll never know. I’m still searching for that guy with the magic flute but secretly believe that, if I find him, his music will sound like acid rock or heavy metal. I’m not looking very hard. Most recently the experts have discovered that mice don’t like mint. I suppose all I have to do is entirely enclose my house in a giant mint flavored garbage bag but I’ll have to work out the entrance and egress problem that might be as difficult as inventing the perfect trap. I suspect within a generation or two they will acquire a taste for mint anyway. 

   Once I do discover the perfect trap, I’m going to sit on it until I need a couple of million bucks, kind of like the automobile companies are sitting on the perfect engine that goes a thousand miles on a drop of water.

   We also know what they subsist on. They will chew up and make a nest out of anything valuable and not stored in a lead box surrounded by a very short electrified barbed wire fence. As for food, the preference is anything that is convertible into tiny black turds.

   Common sense says we should be able to use what we know about them against them. Unfortunately, mice don’t have much common sense and don’t want any. They avoid such traps. Just south of 5000 patents to get the job done are on record.  

Of course there is one open source thing we KNOW works

which is pretty much the benchmark for building a better mouse trap. If you get one though, you will have merely exchanged one small furry pest for a larger one.

In the end, I suspect the only reason we really need a better mouse trap is an ego thing. We are not quite ready to admit that we will probably go extinct before they do

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