This is the third and final part of a 3-part mouse story.
In brief recap:
On 12/3/2019 Darwin heard mice in the basement through the baseboard heater.
On 12/4/2019 I caught my first basement mouse. A few days later I caught a 2nd basement mouse so the first one wouldn’t be lonely. I thought they were both girls but in early March we suddenly had 4 babies. Oops!
On 4/24/2020 the Dad and one of the babies both escaped. I caught the baby but the Dad remained missing.
On 5/16/2020 another [or maybe the same?] baby escaped and remained missing.
On 5/17/2020 I released the Mom and the 3 remaining babies.
On 5/21/2020 I caught the Dad after he’d been on the lam for 25 days.
On 5/22/2020 I caught the missing baby after he’d been on the lam for 6 days. PHEW! All was well in mouse land once again.
I was planning to let the baby recuperate for a few days and then release him in the same place as his Mom and siblings. I still planned to keep the Dad. He’d been an indoor mouse since December and seemed quite content to remain that way, despite his escape adventure.
So on 5/27/2020 I popped the baby mouse’s bedroom compartment out of the cage and carried him to the woods where his Mom and siblings had been released. He looked out at the forest. He sniffed for 5 minutes:
He said NOPE!, backed up into his bedroom, and buried himself under the Kleenex and piece of old black t-shirt. I said OK and walked him back home. I took the undercarriage shot on the way:
10 minutes later he was happily running in his wheel. He’d never experienced the outdoors, all he’s known is cage life, so I gave him a pass. I’m sure if I’d released him with his mom and siblings he’d have happily gone. Poor guy.
At first I had the Dad and baby in one cage with 2 wheels:
But then I decided 2 cages connected by a tunnel would be more fun:
For FIVE weeks they lived in harmony. They snuggled in the sky tower during the day. They ran in their wheels together at night. But then the mouse baby must have gotten old enough to threaten the Dad’s alpha status. And this happened:
My poor mouse baby! The Dad bit off the end of his tail 🙁 He was also covered in cuts and scratches. There was blood in his bedroom compartment where he’d gone to recuperate. Poor baby mouse!!! I felt horrible.
So now they live in separate cages. A lot of people on Facebook said to get rid of the Dad. But he was just reacting to instinct. He wasn’t being malicious. He is happy and adorable in his sky tower cage & I hold no bad feelings towards him:
The baby mouse is happy and fully recovered in his cage [this pic obviously taken before the end of his tail got bitten off]:
Since then I’ve been humanely trapping mice in the basement and relocating them outside. I currently have 5 awaiting transport once it cools off a bit. Hubby says I’m running a mouse flop house… 🤣😜
I’ve been releasing them in a field near our house, next to the woods and between a pond and the Ipswich River. It’s very pretty. I took some photos during last week’s mouse release:
As I walked up the sidewalk I turned around and took a pic looking back at our house [white], then turned back around so you could see how close the entrance to the path is [just before the wooden fence starts]:
Entrance to path & pretty blue flowers:
A few minutes down the path and you come to Sally’s pond [I just learned it had a name – thanks Google]:
On the back side of the pond is a stone sitting circle, then a bit more path:
Just beyond that is the patch of woods where I have been releasing the mice. The path continues into the forest but I stop and let them go into the edge of the woods so they can have woods on one side and field/pond on the other:
If you pivot from that point you can look out across the Ipswich River:
Walking back home I took a shot of the historic Whipple House:
I have since decided that the pond & field is too close to the house. I have caught 13 mice in the last 2 weeks and I think that maybe some of them are repeat offenders…!!!
So the batch of 5 currently living together in the flop house are going to be driven 5 miles away to a stone wall next to a falling down barn where I have released mice in the past. Here are some of the current residents awaiting release:
When I sit on the couch at night here is my view into their cage:
Right now it’s way too hot and humid to release them. They’re enjoying the AC, some fresh spinach, some Frosted Flakes, and some mouse food. There’s also a tropical storm watch in effect. So I will release them in a few days when things calm down a bit. Thursday is looking promising. Then I will set out more traps and see how many more I can catch!
I think you should take them down to Marini’s Farm and release them in that area – all of them!
That would be the perfect place for your mice. Lots of food, veggies, fruit, lots of variety, and barns for bad weather! From a mouse’s standpoint, it can’t get better than that. Except your house perhaps – unfortunately, I don’t think Marini’s will feed them goodies, including Hersey’s kisses. However, it will still be a good life for all.
The place where I release them in Essex is next to an old stone wall and next to a falling down barn. Lots of food and shelter 🙂 I’m not releasing the “baby” and Dad. They are permanent residents. The baby has a bad foot, probably from the Dad’s attack. And with the missing end of his tail, I don’t think he’d make it very far in the wild. Marini Farm is a good idea, but I’m sure they have enough mice of their own!
I love this story! “Residents awaiting release” — haha — like the little prisoners they are! Yesterday one of our cats caught a mousie in our yard, or chased it up on top of the fence. We don’t think it was hurt, but it stuck around (probably petrified in fear) and entertained the cats for a while. Crosby was so excited, he danced on top the fence, then went over to pat the mouse on the head! We’re pretty sure the mouse got away. At least no one brought the mouse inside!
Cats are so funny! I’m glad yours are enjoying themselves and that (hopefully) they didn’t hurt the little mouse. I’m sure he was petrified – they seem to freeze in place for like 20 minutes when they’re scared.