January 11, 2013

Battling Critters

Our current struggle with mice began with the discovery of a little hole in a bag of dog food, followed by other little holes in other bags. These were bags made of plastic so thick that I did not think a mouse would chew through it, but they did.

We set out mousetraps and purchased canisters and heavy-duty plastic boxes for vulnerable foods, plus mouse-proof containers for bird seed and dog food. (Oh, that reminds me: I should buy one for grass seed. I had a half-full bag of grass seed that got devoured!)

I did not keep track of what this incident cost us, but between the loss in groceries and the cost of storage containers, we spent well over a hundred dollars, not including the cost of mouse traps.

One mouse was caught immediately in a Nooski Mouse Trap that Amazon had sent me to review. Two mice eluded various traps for several weeks and finally got hungry enough to enter a couple of baited Mice Cubes, which are plastic boxes that do not kill them and are thus "humane." (I use quotes here because I then had to release the poor creatures in the cold snow, where they probably froze if they did not become a quick snack for a cat or hawk.)

All this got me to thinking about how animals are competitors with humans for food. Household vermin are what I'm dealing with now, but in the past I've had garden plants destroyed by deer, turtles, rabbits... and I'm not even a serious vegetable gardener! People who grow large gardens have to deal with ground hogs and all sorts of critters.

Fences keep some animals out, but small animals burrow under them and birds and squirrels aren't deterred by them. A man who sells fruit and nut trees told me that he allows someone to hunt in his orchard in order to protect his livelihood. Those of us who enjoy looking at deer and squirrels are uncomfortable with the idea of killing them, but if you read the facts about deer in Virginia you realize it can be necessary. Many gardeners let their dogs chase deer out of their yards, which works some of the time.

As someone who loves animals, I find our age-old struggles against them to be rather sad. But reality is not always the way we'd like it to be. We are still in competition with wild animals for food.

[Note: The above product links take you to Amazon, which issues me a credit if you buy something through one of my links.]


  1. It can be a challenge keeping animal pests out of gardens and such. I love deer. I think they are so pretty and graceful, but they are so prevalent here that they are a nuisance to some who have gardens. They also cause such a danger on the roads.

  2. Yes, they are a hazard on the roads. My husband has hit one, so have both my daughters!


The View from Squirrel Ridge features thousands of views of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding area. I post frequently so please visit often.

Your comments are appreciated. If you are responding to a post older than a few days, your comment will be held until we have a chance to approve it. Thanks for your patience!

Sorry, anonymous comments cannot be accepted because of the large number of spam comments that come in that way. Also, links that are ads will be deleted.