Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pre-dawn scare!!

At 4:47 this morning I was awoken from a sound sleep when something in the attic over my head began thumping, rattling and beating the floorboards.  PANIC!

My heart jumped, adrenalin rushed, and, though I was in a hurry,  I fumbled around in the dark for my slippers.  On the way upstairs I grabbed a flashlight even though I was turning on all the lights along the way.

I've caught mice in the attic before (hence the ever-present baited snap traps).

But at NO time did anything make the god-awful noise that woke me (that I could still hear coming from the attic)!

When I ran into the storage/attic part of the 2nd floor, I expected a very large mouse.

What I saw stopped me dead in my tracks.


SOMEthing BIG had it's nose and front paw snapped in a little mousetrap and was beating the floorboards with it.  Holy crap.

Quickly, still confused, but afraid it would free itself, I stomped the thing repeatedly on the head until it was dead.  (Now, wasn't I glad I'd taken a moment to PUT ON my HARD SOLED slippers!)

After that I Iet my heart settle down a bit, caught my breath, and made sure it was not just dead, but good and dead.  It was.

It was certainly not a mouse.  It was huge. At first look I thought it was a friggin' chipmunk, but it was larger, fatter, fluffier, and grey and tweedy, not brown and striped. 

I gingerly picked up the very tiny trap holding the great big thing, went downstairs and took both outside.  It was dark.  It was raining.  I left it on the deck railing until it would be light enough to get pictures for ID.

Okay, now it was not yet 5:00 am, but no way was I going to be able to get back to sleep.  Quick - to the Internet!

I still thought it was a chipmunk - especially since it had that short bushy tail.  Still, that coloring....

Then I thought, although I've NEVER seen one in my life, maybe it was a pack rat?  Here the internet let me down.  Too many pictures were labeled pack rat, but they were not consistent.

When it was light enough I took pictures of the corpse.  Now I could see it wasn't a chipmunk or squirrel - see those long whiskers? those big ears?  that pointed face?  Could this be a pack rat?

I will take the frozen corpse down to T/L Pest Control office tomorrow and get it ID'd.  Meanwhile, bottom line:

What the heck was it doing in my attic?  How did it get IN there?  (Mice I get... they are tiny and can flatten themselves into anything.)  But a 10"-long (nose to tail tip) ... thing???

It's been just one dang thing after another this year.  Now I'm tired, cranky, anxious.  And worried.  Are there MORE???   One thing IS for sure.

I need bigger traps.

How's YOUR Sunday going?


P.S.  Early morning excitement aside, I did get something done today.
Check out the Garden Project page - 1st posting since May 1st!  'Bout darn time, no?


  1. From your pics I'd say it's a squirrel.

    Squirrels are known to inhabit attics, and also like making winter nests in them. Maybe it fancied the mouse bait.

    Dunno if I'd have been brave enough to stomped the thing dead. Good on you :)

    1. No. Definitely NOT any squirrel. Tail & body is wrong. Head is all wrong. Squirrels don't have whiskers or pointed faces. I know every species of Ohio squirrel (I have 4 types on my property.) This is very much a rodent-face.

      Stomping it to death was automatic. If it had gotten loose... well, that would have been really really bad.

  2. Could it be this?

    1. I thought of that too, Alison early on in the I'net search. But for 2 things: no one in the 'hood has EVER seen a flying squirrel around here in the trees, so finding one in my attic is unlikely. 2nd - when I checked the corpse, there was no extra skin attached to the feet to make a glider.

      I'm still thinking pack rat at this point. I've sent pics to the Ohio state Dept. of Natl Resources and will post any updates.

    2. Y'know, Alison, more I look at pics of flying squirrels, the more I think you might be right. Still, darn thing had no business up in my attic. We'll see what the OHIO DNR says.

  3. Flying squirrel is my bet. That was my first thought as soon as I saw the extra skin on its sides. I wouldn't worry. Just set bigger traps.

    1. I had no idea that there WERE flying squirrels in this area. Never seen one my entire life - and then for one to make it's way into my attic? (Now THERE's something to address - HOW did it get in? And what other thing CAN get in?) It's unfortunate the little thing met such a death, but my attic is my attic, after all.

  4. I can do without that kind of excitement! I have no clue what it is. I have never seen a flying squirrel. It is disconcerting to think something that large got in the attic.

    Off to see the garden section.

    It is still raining down here.....

    1. I'm with you -- VERY disconcerting. I'm thinking there is no screening in place behind the high peak vents at both end of the house. I'll have to have someone pull them open and check.


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