Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Pitter Patter of Tiny Feet

It all started about a month ago.  The scratching and pitter patter of tiny feet above our sleeping heads woke us up out of a deep sleep around 4:30 AM.  This is the “witching hour” for me.  Waking up any time in the four o’clock hour is bad news for me.  It is next to impossible for me to fall back to sleep.  Then we heard what sounded like a marble rolling in the ceiling above our heads. Then more scratching and pitter patter.  I pounded on the wall.  It stopped.  I tried to drift off again when the scratching and marble rolling started again.  And so it went till around 6:00 AM when both my husband and I gave up and got up and showered for the day.  A call was placed to “Critter Control” a few hours later.

They were out to our house later that same afternoon!  The diagnosis was “mice”.   “Mice” ???  Are you sure?  Sounded a lot bigger than a mouse to me.  I had visions of giant rabid raccoons and possums living in my attic and the Critter Control man said “mice”.  He said he would leave traps set in the attic and they would do a walk around the house to see if they could figure out how they were getting in.

Bad news.  Your house is full of holes…entry points if you will.  We will set traps and seal up all entry points for a hefty fee he tells us.  We were desperate for a solid nights sleep so we said Yes to the hefty fee.

They did a good job for us.  With their ladders and tools they sealed up every crack and crevice from top to bottom and placed screens over all the vents.  They set their traps with bait.  Every day for a week the Critter Control Man would show up in the afternoons to check the traps.  Nothing.

Then one afternoon he came down stairs with a plastic bag in hand and held it up like a trophy. “Got One” he exclaimed.  “And it was not what we thought”.  “Oh God" I thought, “What the hell is in that bag”?  Oakley our dog was going crazy trying to sniff and get at the bag.  “Flying Squirrel” he proudly announced.  “They kind of look like a bat.”  I immediately thought of the story that I had heard when we first moved in about how one of my neighbors lifted the lid of her toilet in the middle of the night and a flying squirrel flew out at her.  Can you imagine??!!  That could ruin a person!

A flying squirrel?  Eeeeewwww!  Well that explains the “marble rolling” sound we heard.  He must have been hiding his acorns!  The Critter Control Man told us there could be up to six more of them so we need to leave the traps set and wait.  Another week later and several trap checks later and still nothing.   “I guess there was only one.  Problem solved” said the Critter Control Man and we paid him the second half of our agreed upon hefty fee. 

About 2 weeks later, around 4:30 AM we hear scratching and the pitter patter of tiny feet.  But no marble rolling this time.   They’re baaaaaccccckkkk! 

“Hmmm, gee sorry but we can’t get out to your house for three days” says The Critter Control Man.  (Of course not…you already have our payment in full.)  So being desperate for sleep I came up with the brilliant idea to put a flashing alarm clock radio up in the attic and turn on the light thinking that the noise and light would scare them away and it appears to have worked.  No noise and we slept like babies.  Three days later as promised the Critter Control man showed up and checked for signs of critters and found nothing.  He set more traps.  Twelve of them in fact!  Twelve!  That is where things stand up to today.   Twelve empty traps and no critters.  I will keep you posted on our wild animal situation and I will also be keeping the lids on our toilets down.  I suggest you do the same. :)

18 comments:

Allyson said...

I never knew such a thing could happen!! Now we'll have to start a whole new savings fund called "savings for the hefty fee should we get flying squirrels in our house." On the positive side, at least it's a real, tangible object and not the lost soul of a jilted lover playing marbles above your head. So, there's that...

Danielle and Clint said...

I went through something similar last spring. We kept hearing an animal in our ceiling. They told me it was mice. They set up traps, we plugged all the holes. Turns out, it was a rat!! Since we plugged all the holes, we haven't heard anymore sounds. A few weeks ago, I came home to a dead mouse in my living room. Ugh....

The White Farmhouse said...

Ugh! I feel for you. We get all kinds of critters in this old farmhouse. No flying squirrels though. I do have a snake in my basement. I loathe snakes. It has now been dubbed the "snake den of despair". My husband tried to console me by telling me that it keeps the mice population down. If the place where they are getting is not accessed by any household pets you can also put out a bowl of antifreeze. Sounds cruel I know. The antifreeze is poisonous and has no smell. Animals drink it and go to the big acorn tree in the sky. It also doesn't freeze in the cold weather which animals will look for.

Here is hoping that the Critter Man comes soon!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Wow, what a great post! I love your idea of the alarm. Hope your squirrely problem is solved and stays solved, soon!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Erin said...

The amount of anxiety I feel about this is certainly disproportionate to the problem, but the thought of a batlike rodent flying out of my toilet? That pretty much combines all my phobias right there.

Stacey said...

We've had the mouse problem before. Last winter we kept hearing the scritchy scratching sound. My husband set all the traps (no hefty fee) and we caught 8 mice over the course of a couple of weeks. Isn't that completely gross!! We live with woods all around us and we have to stay on top of things. Fortunately, they don't seem to come in the house.

You were so smart to put the light up there!

Lou Cinda said...

Something comes flying out of the toilet at me...I am dead! I would keel right over!!

So sorry you are having this problem, but the poor squirrels are probably just COLD!! lol

Wishing you peaceful nights!

Lou Cinda

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Oh no! We just dealt with a woodpecker that decided he like vinyl siding better than wood. Now I have a giant hole in the front of my house and I have to get it resided! My dog catches any mice before they can make it into the house {thankfully}. All the homes in our development were built on old farmland back in the 70's and I think the mice were the only holdover. Do you have any tree branches close to your house? If so, maybe trimming them away would help, too.

Joyce said...

I am sorry but I had to laugh at your post since I hat critters in my beach house and it cost me bushels of money to get rid of them. I would hear the traps snap and then they would drag the traps back and forth until they just fell over. Every day the Critter Control guy would come and remove them. We have since put up wire netting around our roof and copper flashing and you know they still try to eat thru this and try to get in. I swear there is some Critter Magazine that these critters read and it says my house is the best resort on the island for them to visit:) If you want to laugh go to see Sues post from last year about her critter problem (RueMouffetard). You will laugh so hard reading her post. Good luck with your critters. Thanks for reading my blog today and I can't afford to go to Miami either as I am still paying off Critter Control:)
Joyce

sissie said...

Oh no!!! Creepy flying squirrels, yikes. At least your idea worked better than the Critter mans.
Hope you get a good nights peaceful sleep.

Carla said...

OMG!!!! Lisa, I have goose bumps reading this. The worst thing we've ever had is the occasional mouse. Which isn't so bad unless they die behind the walls. Ewww . . . stinky! Hope you got your critters under control! LOL

Oh, btw, I got the same "good work . . . " comment from an Anonymous reader too a while back. Couldn't figure out who it might have been. Wonder if it's a "robot"?

Brenda @Cozy Little House said...

I am laughing here. I have this compulsion about the toilet lid ALWAYS being down, however. So hopefully no flying squirrels will come at me. I hear them up in my attic too. No rolling sounds. Just scampering. Don't know exactly what it is, but the darned cats should be at least alert about this! I know we need to get those pipe/vent things on top of our house "screened" or whatever you said. I've talked to our Terminex man and he told me to do that. But who on earth do you call to get up on top of the house for that? I have a carpenter, but he's home with the swine flu. If I'm awakened around 4 a.m., I'm a lost cause too. As was the case this morning. Good luck, my friend.
Brenda

Karen said...

OMG, Lisa! I absolutely HATE and FEAR uninvited animals in my house!!
One year, when my parents were still wintering in FL, a squirrel got into their house and just wreaked havoc. It was dead when Kim discovered the mess--thought at first it was a break-in. Another year, on April 1st I went over and there was a BIRD in the house. When I called my mom, she thought I was playing an April Fools Joke! LOL! Somehow these animals were getting in through the chimney. It has since been fixed.

Jane said...

Flying squirrels do not sound like fun house guests to me. I hope the critter man gets his act together and finds all those critters soon!
Jane

Melanie said...

Years ago when I was 18 and married to my first husband (took one bad to get the right one:) we bought a house that was built in 1921. It was small and cute and we redid it. Well, we had squirrels in the walls too and I would get up and bang on the plaster to try and get them to go away. Maybe you solved your own problem with the alarm clock! Is this one of the things that you wouldn't see in Michigan? Would this go on the list?

Sue said...

So those little buggers left our house in Atlanta and are now spending their nights over at your house.....Last year we had the same thing only they had gotten in between the 2nd and 1st. floors of the house....so when I went to walk out of my kitchen one night they were dancing over my head...talk about creepy....I almost had a heart attack becuase like you said it sounds like a marching band in your attic....A very hefty some late but with that infamous "Lifetime Warranty".....who's life us or the squirrels?......we have had to have the Atlanta Wildlife people out 3 more times....only our guys came out the same day....Oh aren't we lucky....their getting sick of us so the last time they came they told me that our house shingles are getting old and they really won't be responsible for their warranty if any more get inside....Well Ofcourse....
Thanks for stopping by my blog and please stop back....I try to keep my readers entertained....

Sue said...

Oh I should have known that Joyce sent you over....I hope you sent back and read about our squirrels....I managed to get some photo's of them fully dressed.....