Tiny Squeak-R, my young male mouse, has an infatuation with getting into garbage bags. I recycle my plastic grocery bags and hang one from a large easel so it’s about a foot off the floor. That doesn’t stop Squeeks from attempting to get into it. He climbs anything he can and there just so happens to be two cloth bags that I hang on my doorknob next to the garbage bag. He climbs them and gets into the garbage and all I hear is crunching plastic sounds.
I’ve caught him in the act and have pointed at him from my desk, sternly telling him ‘no Squeak-R!’ but he’ll just sit on the floor, in stealth mode, to wait for me to go back to doing something else. I resolved to catch him and break him of this bad habit.
In the past I’ve caught mice in my garbage bags and have released them outside. I wasn’t going to do this to Squeaks, mainly because it’s winter and well, I’ve come to adore him. I also don’t want to accidentally close the bag and throw it in the trash with a poor little mouse inside.
So one night I heard the ruffling of the bag. You have to be so quiet to sneak up on a mouse. Their hearing is unparalleled. So I gently got off my bed and tip-toed towards the bag. I knew he was in it and I thought, ‘this will teach him not to do this.’ I didn’t know what in God’s name was in the bag that he wanted since I am careful about what I put in the bags due to the mice.
I managed to grab the bag at the top and seal it. Mice have this behaviour called getting ‘still’ when they’re startled. I heard nothing. No movement came from the bag, well, for the first 30 seconds. Then suddenly, I held the bag up to the light and I saw a tiny mouse at the bottom of the bag. I petted his belly through the bag and told him he was naughty. I needed to get him out of the bottom so I got a see-through plastic bag and started taking out the garbage at the top.
Once I was almost down to him I emptied the rest of the content, including him, into the see-through bag. His fur was damp from the old tea bags. He peered at me as I cupped him in my hand near the opening of the bag. I continued to pet him through the bag. He was still and probably in shock. I kept him warm. After a few minutes he started to sniff at me and blinking his little beady eyes. Troublesome eyes. His fur was matted with tea. He looked terrible.
I said to him ‘now please don’t ever go in the garbage little boy.’
He sat sniffing, his little pink nose moving back and forth, until he finally got out of shock and jumped on my leg, ran up my arm and over my back, onto the bed, and down to the floor. I didn’t ever catch him in the trash again.