I have three dogs – Makea Fluffy Bear, Ama Mouse and Fynnie Puss. Makea is a Finnish Lapphund, Ama and Fynn are Finnish Spitz. The Finnish Lapphund was originally bred to herd reindeer and to guard the family, while the Finnish Spitz’s role was to hunt small game like grouse and squirrels. Each dog barks a lot but usually for different reasons, so between them they have all bases covered. Much of our evening is spent barking at the possums that walk the telecommunications cable or at rodents that may or may not be frequenting their domain.

Unfortunately rodent numbers are up again and food sources are down. So life is very exciting for the pooches. This is not our first rodeo with the rodents. Several years ago, backyard chooks were quite the vogue and at least four sets of neighbours had them. With so much grain in the offing, the rodent population exploded. That was fine while the rodents weren’t in our house, but during the depths of winter, they somehow breached the walls. They got into our wall cavity and roof space. We could hear them scritching in the wall beside our bed at night. Ama could also hear them. As we lay in bed, Ama would run back and forth over our faces, barking at the rodents on the other side of the wall.

The situation became impossible as the rodents were well fed and weren’t interested in the traps we set for them. So we reluctantly called in the pest exterminator and he put bait out in the roof space. I suspect a number of our neighbours also resorted to chemical extermination at the time. Despite advising us that our dogs would not be harmed if they ate a poisoned rat, Ama subsequently fell ill. Fluffy was a bit off too. I quickly jumped online and discovered that secondary poisoning of wildlife had been reported in several European countries due to the use of the same rodenticide. Both girls (Fynn had not yet joined the family) had a course of Vitamin K as a precaution against possible secondary poison. We also quickly removed the baits from the ceiling and consigned them to the bin.

Anyway, we discovered that the rats had gained access to the house via the air-conditioning pipes. They had chewed through the insulation foam. Crafty buggers. However, they only came inside when it rained. So we waited for a sunny day and replaced the sealant. Problem fixed.

I often wonder whether consuming baited rodents all those years ago may have caused Ama’s liver damage.

Some readers may be aware that there has been a huge mouse plague in eastern Australia. Mouse numbers in the cropping regions have recently declined due to widespread flooding. At the height of the plague, there was a shortage of Vitamin K, and a number of dogs died for lack of treatment.

In Canberra city, the rodents have been spared death by drowning. Instead hunger is a problem as backyard gardens have been hammered by storms.

It occurs to me that the mouse plague may have been the last straw for the Bogong moth. Each year, Bogon moths normally migrate in their millions from the cropping regions in western New South Wales to the Snowy mountains. However, their numbers, which have been declining, were decimated by the drought and then seemed to suffer a complete population collapse in the year of the mouse plague. To my knowledge, no one has mentioned the mouse plague as a contributing factor in what looks to be the year that the Bogan moth will be declared extinct, but it makes sense, don’t you think? What a disaster.

Anyway, back to the rats. They’re back. Inside.

To be continued.

55 thoughts on “All My Trials – A Mouse In The House

    1. We need the Pied Piper too, Lou. My husband came across Shawn Wood’s site on YouTube. I wonder if that is actually his name! He has been making some 427 year old mouse trap designs. The video is called “All 12 of Mascall’s 427 year old style mouse traps”. It’s gruesome.

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  1. We have roaches in the summer. Nasty things fit in the tiniest space and will not die. My cats think otherwise. Some mornings I wake up to scattered wings and legs and know my girls were on the job. I could not handle rats. Tracy, your dogs are so pretty. Ama and Fynn are so cute–look like teddy bears! Many years ago we had a Spitz mix–Daisy. I do like that breed.

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    1. I would not be getting to close to that kitty breath after they had been eating roaches, Lois. Egads! We get cockroaches in summer too. I prefer they stay outside. I’ve got a couple of roach stories. Maybe I should give them a spin.
      I’m not fond of the rats, Lois. They freak me out.
      The two red dogs are pretty fierce. They quite often act like Tassie devils.

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  2. Good luck Tracy. We’ve dealt with roof rats, but only one came inside the house. We called him “Super Rat” because after ingesting volumes of rat poison, put down by an exterminator, he kept going. My son finally caught him (his pace had slowed down) and took care of the situation. As I said, good luck!

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  3. I had a similar infestation in Descanso in the Southern California mountains. I didn’t poison them. I used glue traps and Lily T. Wolf who was an excellent mouser. BUT the poison… When I moved here I saw that someone had used poison bait in my garage. My uncle’s dog died of that and I can’t bear it. And yes; here the owls and hawks have succumbed after eating mice and rats who’ve eaten the bait. As they stagger in their last legs they’re easy to catch. I don’t know the answer to any of this, but it is very very troubling.

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    1. Lily T must have been so happy doing her duty, but yuck! I hope she didn’t want to share with you, Martha.
      UUnfortunately, we will have to start trapping again. I don’t like killing the little blighters but selfishly I cannot cope with a dog running across my face all night.
      Did you put much of a dent in your mouse population or did nature eventually take its course, finding some reasonable equilibrium?

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      1. Once a mouse jumped from the top of a closet and Lily T. Wolf caught it in the air! Ultimately gopher snakes got the mice but the glue traps were also a huge help in keeping them out of the house. A snake got up in my attic and I heard it hunt more than once. Crazy. Lily, of course, got the snake…

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      2. No. Lily had rattlesnake avoidance training. She later showed up in the yard with a huge snake hanging from her mouth but I couldn’t get close enough to her to see if it was the rattlesnake or the gopher snake. Both (at least one of each) were in my yard. There was a wood pile (that I removed) where the mice loved to live and breed. I’m sure the rattler was living there at one point. Anyway, the snake avoidance training was very effective so I think she caught a gopher snake. But who knows. That dog was fierce, goofy and a little reckless with a sense of humor.

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  4. Nooo. When we lived in France, we had a mouse problem that took six weeks to solve,and turned out to be a beautiful albino rat – we lived by a river. Back in England, field mice are the thing, but humane traps usually work: sometimes within an hour of a mouse being spotted. Good luck!

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  5. Oh dear, hope you have got it sorted. What cute dogs, but think the barking may be a neighbour problem??? We had a steadily increasing rat/mouse problem a couple of years ago. They were relishing our tomatoes. Don’t grow tomatoes now, no rat problem either.

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  6. I’m so sorry to hear of your renewed tribulations with the rodents, Tracy, and devastating to think that yet again an introduced species have had such a decimating impact on the local ecosystem!

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  7. Wow I am so glad you figured out how to get your rodent visitors out of your house! And I looked up your little moth. It sounds like it used to be so abundant they could damage crops. Then another article said the number decreased 98 to 99% in 2017 for the reasons you gave. How sad!! After all our rain this past summer, we had an astounding number of moths and butterflies here. I gained a new appreciation for all of them. Here’s to hoping you and your family can sleep rodent free ๐Ÿ˜Š

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