By Nick Cairns, Sam Jaques and Graham Rothwell
Our first mouse trapping line near the Grasslands East Block was a huge failure, with one minor exception.
We set out fifty mouse traps, and had high hopes because
- there were fifty traps
- we were going to keep them out for at least four days
- they were baited with peanut butter, the greatest food ever created and arguably the pinnacle of human technology
The first morning after we had them out, we checked them all and found beetles. Lots of beetles. They had crawled onto the traps and were eating the peanut butter with gusto. Still in high spirits, we figured this would just attract grasshopper mice or maybe even shrews. After all, it's not like a beetle is heavy enough to spring a mouse trap.
Nevermind. Apparently when you get your mouse traps from a shady-looking box in a shed behind the museum, they have quite the variance in sensitivity (one of them ended up with the yellow trigger pushed completely down, but it hadn't sprung).
After four days, we had zero rodents. We did catch three whole beetles, although beetles caught in mouse traps make poor specimens for the entomology collection.