In Amsterdam, as far as pests go, everything starts with the letter M – mosquitoes and mice. It’s overrun with rodents and it’s virtually impossible to get rid of them completely. All you can do is give them as little chance as possible to eat anything in your home, which means storing everything edible in large Tupperware boxes in cupboards. At first I managed to keep the resident vermin at bay with poison but recently they’ve just ignored it and have become so emboldened as to come out during the day time. More decisive action was called for and here is how you catch a mouse without killing it.
1 Get a tall container, like an empty peddle bin and take the lid off.
2 Take two cardboard toilet roll tubes and join them together.
3 Place some peanut butter, biscuits (whatever else a mouse might like to eat) on the inside edge of one end of the tube.
4 Rest the tube on a high flat surface, jutting it out ever the edge.
5 Place the container underneath the tube.
6 Wait for the mouse to take the bait.
The trap brings together two things mice love, crawling through small tunnels and food. It finally worked at 5.30 in the morning when a succession of metallic clangs woke me up. A mouse had squeezed through the tube, lured by the peanut butter and biscuit, and fallen in to the bin. It kept trying to get out but could only jump about 30cm high.
Wearily I put some clothes on and took the bin over the Singel canal to Spuistraat where there was a large pile of rubbish awaiting collection. Not wanting the mouse to go hungry I let it go free. Obviously this isn’t a solution to the problem, merely displacing it, but in Amsterdam sometimes you have to learn how to live side by side with your enemies.