Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Furry Visitor

October 7th, 2007

The night before this picture was taken Tiina had been in the bathroom and said she had seen something sticking out from under the washing machine. Sometimes we get small, thin millipedes that come down through the vent in the sauna when it rains. At first she thought this was one of those critters she doesn't care for very much, mainly because they go crunch when she steps on one that has already died and dried quickly over night. Anyway, it moved too fast for it to be a millipede, she thought. So I came in and had a look see around the bathroom, the sauna, hallway and kid's room but found nothing. I did notice about a week earlier something that appeared to be mouse droppings on the white rug on the bathroom floor but thought it unlikely. I just picked it up and tossed it in the garbage.
The next morning Tiina had gone into the bathroom to wash up and she let out a scream and came running into the bedroom waking me up. She said there was a mouse on the sink in the bathroom. I drug myself out of bed to investigate, my eyes barely open enough to see. At first I didn't see anything. Then I saw a strange, curved shape from behind the clear, plastic pump soap dispenser. A few seconds later I saw some whiskers twitching to one side of the bottle. I then noticed that the bar of soap Tiina had removed from the soap dish, only to drop it quickly in the basin, had teeth marks all around one curved edge of the bar of soap. So the little beastie was hungry. I put two and two together and figured it must have been in the bathroom at least a week and was famished. I sent the boys to fetch a slice of bread. I put on a leather work glove and held the bread in my palm. The mouse came out from behind the soap bottle and onto my hand where it began to eat the bread like no tomorrow. It then decided to take the whole thing away and back behind the bottle. I thought perhaps I could catch it with the glove on but that was not to be. Instead the mouse leap to the floor and shot up and over Alexi's foot and under the washing machine. I placed a towel on the floor to block the entrance to the sauna but the mouse just squeezed its way between the towel and wall and made it under the door into the sauna where it disappeared. It was then that I figured it, too, had come down through the air vent and couldn't get back up as it is a vertical drop. I went outside to check the cover on the vent and sure enough it had been removed. I put it back into place and stuck rocks in front of it to keep it in place. After 30 minutes I came back to the sauna and turned on the light. Mr. mouse was out from hiding. This time I would see where it had disappeared to. As I approached the mouse quickly turned and shot up between the sauna wall boards and the wall. There is space between the foundation wall and the sauna wall to allow for air circulation. I figured little rodent was hungry enough to do almost anything to get food, including falling for a simple catch 'em alive trap. There was no need to kill it. Besides it was rather cute. So I took a piece of picture framing wood and propped it up against an empty mop bucket. I placed three pieces of bread along this piece of wood and tore up the remainder into smaller pieces and dropped them into the bucket, turned off the light and left for about an hour. When I returned I found the fur ball in the bottom of the bucket enjoying its meal. It stayed eating long enough to get a few snapshots off but then became nervous and tried to jump out. It almost succeeded once. I placed a towel over the bucket and had Alexi take it up into the woods to release it along with the food. I think it was very happy to be back in its own environment just as Tiina was happy to be back in hers.

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