Pepino’s Penthouse

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that we have occasionally spotted a mouse in our house. It’s not a lot of mice; we’ve caught four or five since we moved into the house two-and-a-half years ago. And it’s just one mouse in here at a time. After we catch it, it’s months before we see signs of another one on the loose.

I call them all Pepino, after the homeowner’s petite antagonist in the song “Pepino the Italian Mouse.” (You can hear it at this link.)

Of course, we’ve searched and searched for the place where Pepino was getting in. In fact, we’ve found the place. Several times. Each time, we block the route, and after a few months, an enterprising mouse maps out a new route.

In the back of a kitchen cabinet, we sealed a plumbing access panel that Pepino was slipping in through (it can be unsealed, when we need access). That worked for a while, and then we saw the mouse again. We blocked up a hole behind the stove. Ditto. We filled in a hole behind the refrigerator.

After that, we stopped seeing mice in the kitchen; they were now more likely to be spotted in the family room, or in my son’s room, which is nearby. We put screening inside the decorative heating grates, and again, the problem seemed to be solved. For a while. After a few months, I spotted a mouse in the family room, and we’ve been trying hard to catch this one. But Pepino keeps ignoring our traps. Last week, we figured out why. We were looking in the wrong direction. We should have been looking up.

A few days ago, my husband Bob spotted Pepino on a ledge over the television set, eight-and-a-half feet up! This mouse just adores a penthouse view. Today Bob dragged the ladder up from the garage so he could investigate that ledge. Sure enough, there were a whole lot of mouse droppings. And several holes.

Inside the wall, the mouse was climbing up along the outside edge of the chimney and emerging on the ledge, way up over the TV, through a couple of holes up there by the chimney and windows. We’ve also seen crickets up there, and two tiny slugs on the ceiling! Climbing down into the room must have been fun for Pepino, but I don’t think it climbed down often; that’s why we weren’t seeing it. And when it was up in its penthouse apartment above the television, the crown molding usually hid the mouse from view. Bob saw it last week only because he happened to glance up when it was near the edge.

Bob has blocked the holes with a quick fix for now, but he has plans for something more permanent. Until the mouse finds a new route. Someday we will figure out how Pepino is getting into the house in the first place.

Until then, we’re playing Whack-a-Mouse.

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