The fear of everything that runs through the dark corners of our homes has led us to equip ourselves with a deadly defensive arsenal. You choose the weapon you prefer: poison, glue, snap, mechanical or electrical traps. The defense of the rights of rodents still has a long way to go.
I assume that only a few of us (certainly no health officials) are willing to accept the softer solution: let those little hairy creatures roam freely around the apartment. Prevention, therefore, remains the best defense. But making sure the house is rodent proof is not at all easy. On the contrary, it is a frustrating, almost impossible task. Electronic mouse traps are a very interesting choice for getting rid of mice.
Want to give it a try? Know that, in addition to blocking every hole wider than 8 millimeters, you have to make your home as inhospitable as possible.
For example, putting objects with a repellent smell in the passage points preferred by mice, those through which they try to get into the house: just as we are not crazy about the stench of the sewer, small rodents do not like the smell of mothballs, nor the smell of peppermint essential oil or even that of a concoction prepared with garlic, horseradish and cayenne pepper.
In some stores they even sell bottles of fox urine that has the same effect. Or ultrasonic electrical devices designed to keep large and small rodents away. If all of these remedies fail, there’s only one option left for you: dust off your atavistic predator instincts.
Keeping a dog or cat has always been the best answer against infestation by rats and mice. Do not forget, however, that dogs and cats also affect the rest of the local fauna, especially birds.
Poison is another very popular solution, but it will certainly not make you win the Golden Palm as a champion of animal welfare. The problem is that in order to trick the animals into swallowing the poisoned bite, you have to use a delayed effect poison.
The products with anticoagulant action, such as Warfarin, make an insatiable thirst that forces the animal to leave the house in search of water. After a few days it dies from internal bleeding. Some rats, among other things, have developed a resistance to these poisons, which risk being ingested by a child or other pets.
Traps remain. Their effectiveness depends on the speed with which they cause the death of the victim. To sell them, manufacturers use calming adjectives and expressions such as “human” or “not cruel”. Traps that capture live rats so you can set them free in a park or field have many flaws. First, they are not very effective in catching prey. Second, those who set them often forget to control them, leaving the prey to starve to death.
Moreover, captured animals, especially domestic mice, are unlikely to survive once released in a foreign environment, away from their family, without food or a nest to take refuge in.
The only truly “human” trap is the one that kills the animal as quickly as possible. In 1997, Canada and the European Union ratified the International humane trapping standard, to encourage the adoption of humane methods for trapping certain wild animals. The agreement, however, only covers species that are caught for their fur.
It is interesting to note that among the parameters used to define a “humane trapping” there is the time lapse between the moment of capture and the time when a state of unconsciousness or death of the captured animal is caused. In the case of small animals, such as ermines, the time span is 45 seconds, while for larger animals, such as badgers, beavers or otters, it is 300 seconds. According to the law, in short, to kill an animal in a “not cruel” way is enough to do it in a shorter time than it takes to cook a boiled egg.
One thing is certain: glue traps, now available in most hardware stores, contravene this rule. And they would even be outlawed if the convention also covered rats and mice: the agreement prohibits the use of any trap that causes “self-biting” and “excessive immobility”. In a desperate attempt to free themselves from the glue, the rats can tear off a limb by force of bites.