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If a mouse invaded your house would it become a dead mouse?

Updated on March 16, 2012

Mice multiply like, well, mice

One mouse
One mouse
And another mouse
And another mouse
How quickly one mouse can become many mice!
How quickly one mouse can become many mice!

My mouse rant

I was actually asked yesterday if I was sure I wanted to kill a mouse.

When you read the context of that odd question, depending on your point of view, it'll seem even more odd - or maybe it won't seem odd at all, if you're in the opposing camp.

I had realized that a mouse had invaded my house, and I bought some little wooden, spring-loaded mouse traps.

An acquaintance and I were talking about it later, and he couldn't resist trying to convince me to use a live mouse trap.

He couldn't believe that I would truly set a mouse trap to actually kill a little living mouse.

I was a little stunned at his untutored compassion. But then I replied as thoroughly as possible.
I told him that I would consider live mouse traps when Bob Barker reminded me to neuter and spay my mice.

Until then, I'll put my little wooden tables down on the floor. The mice can stop by for a snack and get a snap instead.

Quick. Hopefully painless. And mice even come with a tail to carry them outdoors for the neighbor's cat. So everyone's happy, except the mouse, who's beyond caring anyway.

Come to think of it, if the mouse was fulfilling its karma from a previous life as a slum lord, it might even be happy as it drifts toward its next life.

If the mice don't like my murderous intent, they can stay outdoors.

Oh, yeah, and I added that Darwin rules!

And so I ended my rant at the live-trap advocate.

There are reasons that mice aren't welcome in our houses
There are reasons that mice aren't welcome in our houses | Source

A mouse is a pest, because mouse droppings are so frequently other mice

Honestly, did he even think about the situation? Consider how many mice one mother mouse can produce in a year - well, with visiting boyfriends.

I looked it up. A mouse is mature enough to breed at about one and a half or two months old. That mouse then has an average of six babies in a litter, and carries an average of 8 litters in a year.

After a mouse has had babies, she can breed again in between 2 and 4 days. That's shocking! Especially the part about getting pregnant again in days! It sounds just painful, really.

That makes a mouse capable of having, on average, 48 babies in a year. Some can have more than that. But that isn't the end of it. Remember, every baby she has can be prolific on its own within, at most, two months.

Give the first litter two months to mature, and each female mouse could have 7 litters of 6 babies in that same year, while the by-now grandmother is making more future breeders over in the next closet.

Let's say the original 6 babies were female. The mice from the first litter alone (with visiting boyfriends) could make 252 babies in their first year. Just the first litter. Get it? It boggles the mind, and I haven't even extrapolated to include the other 7 litters.

The only saving grace is that, while the mouse uterus is manufacturing like it's a major corporation, a mouse has a short lifespan, about one year. Come to think of it, that short lifespan might be voluntary - I'd probably volunteer to die, too, after a year like that.

No wonder mice are pests on this planet! (Gee, it occurs to me that they are a lot like us, billions and billions, and making more babies every day.)


Do you actually like the idea of mice in your house?

What else do you do with them? Do you refrain from trapping mice, and let them roam your house?

Before you consider that one, you should probably know that mice are not among the animals who are fussy about controlling their bladder or bowels. (As a matter of fact, they even like the smell of their own dried urine. A little factoid, there.)

That's why the first evidence you see of mice is mouse droppings. They have few inhibitions regarding where to go, with the exception of their own nest. And they don't bother to diaper each other.

They are also totally unconcerned about what they leave behind. Do you normally have incontinent house guests who don't mind what they're leaving behind? I don't. I may someday, as my friends and I age, develop digestive problems, become slower and go blind, but I don't at this point in my life.

Do you make the captured mouse your pest? Uh, pet? (Yes, they are cute and soft.) Great. Then what happens. Have you seen the movie, The Secret Of Nimh? Well, I have. So I wouldn't feel safe even if I had them behind bars. The benefit of making other mice all the time is a LOT of family members! The sheer numbers alone would increase the odds that somebody could solve the problem of getting that cage door open.

Besides, what if the mouse you caught was pregnant? With only four days max between giving birth and breeding again, how lucky do you feel? I don't feel lucky at all when it comes to almost perpetual fertility.

And I don't want to become known as the crazy mouse lady who lives down the street. I can see the neighbors turning on me as thousands of mice flow out every door and window of my house. The swat team would have no choice but to subcontract to exterminators. I don't want to end my life in a standoff with white-suited pest control teams surrounding my house.

I consider my adversary's point of view, and reach my final resolve

Looking at the situation another way, I do have a tendency to place myself in my adversary's position.

If I was caught as I burgled a house, and I knew that the owner had a gun and liked using it, I would be assured that I was going to die. So the only question would become, which way would I want to go? Would I want to suffer through a death by poison? Egads, no!

Would I want to wait around in a cage for my adversary to develop compassion, all the while being terribly lonely and, being a mouse, almost certainly in heat, too? Especially knowing that, in the end, I'd probably take one last swim down the toilet when my captor's impatience overwhelmed any compassionate inclinations? No.

I would prefer to go to a nice, tempting banquet and die unexpectedly while my mind was occupied with that tasty feast. In antiquity, a lot of famous people died that way. (Well, most of them were poisoned, but you get the idea.) It's an honorable death, and it's minus the prickly anticipation that, say, burning at the stake or being drawn and quartered would have.

So it's confession time. The mouse is the burglar and I'm the gun nut. I find torturing mice in research repugnant, and when I had a cat, I wouldn't let it play with a terrified mouse. But that's my limit on pest compassion. The only way a mouse is leaving my house, if I have anything to say about it, is tail first.

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