An unwelcome little guest who helped himself to my peanuts

Sunday night was just another peaceful evening in the bush. Aside from the gentle rain which fell on the parched earth outside there was nothing that disturbed my slumber. The bush has been very dry and in urgent need of some form of precipitation, so the rain was a most welcome addition to a sweltering weekend. I must have been sleeping for about two hours when I was woken by something. The mere fact that I was woken by something other than a tympanic membrane shattering foghorn, or a cherry bomb placed strategically on my pillow was cause for concern.

I am not a light sleeper by any stretch of the imagination thanks to living in a high school hostel where consideration for your fellow dorm mate’s beauty sleep was not high on the priority list. Suddenly crockery in the kitchen cupboard started falling. I experienced an instant fight or flight response. I could feel my heart beating like jack hammer at full whack. My breathing became pronounced and increased in intensity. Could it be an intruder?

Then I was overcome by some much needed reasoning. If there was in fact an intruder, what would he want with my crockery. I don’t think that your run of the mill cat burglar has a taste for Royal Dalton and even if he did, I didn’t possess any.

I plucked up the courage and reached for my Maglite, which would serve primarily as a form of illumination and then if need be a weapon. After untangling myself from the mosquito net which had enveloped me into a cocoon of epic proportions, I stumbled out my bedroom with great stealth only knocking down one lamp in the process.

To my sheer relief I did not meet any nefarious characters in my kitchen. All the cupboards where closed except for one which stood ever so slightly ajar.  A quick inspection of the house put my fears of an unwanted larcenist to rest.

I began picking up all the items from the floor, that just happened to be in my way when I made my stealthy exit out of the bedroom. Just then, I heard a glass fall over inside one of my kitchen cupboards. Okay, so it wasn’t a person, then it must be a snake. Maybe a spitting cobra, just waiting to surprise my corneas with some projectile venom as I peer into the cupboard. So wearing my spectacles and wielding a long stick, I very gently opened the cupboard doors one by one eagerly anticipating a serpent coiled up, and ready to dispose of some of its’ lethal toxins.

After a thorough search, no reptiles were to be found. I did however find that a packet of peanuts had been damaged, which caused the contents to spill out. And there to my surprise and annoyance I found the cause of my ordeal, sitting and eating a peanut.  A little dormouse had managed to get into the house, then the cupboard and had knocked over some of the crockery, which in turn caused the noise.

Now that I knew that my cornea’s and crockery were safe, I had to try and evict my unwanted guest from the house.  Thanks to my copy of the “SAS Survival Handbook” I knew just the trap that would entice and incarcerate my foe, without harming him. Using a box, bamboo skewer and some box tap I managed to construct a deadfall that would trap the dormouse, upon him taking one of the peanuts that I had stuck to the tape, which in turn was stuck to the bamboo skewer, which in turn was holding the box up.

Needless to say, after two hours I heard the trap in action. To my sheer astonishment the trap actually worked. The dormouse was trapped underneath the cardboard box and trying his best to get out. My first attempt at trapping was an overwhelming success. Ray Mears would have been proud. Now being the kind and gentle person that I am, I planned on taking my little furry friend further into the bush and letting him go, hoping he would not undertake the long and arduous trek back up the road to my house. However it was still raining outside and dark. So I decided to leave him in the box until the morning, when I would find a more suitable spot for him to live.

The next morning when I went to see to the logistics of moving Pappilon to a more suitable abode, it turns out that he had chewed a hole in the box which served as his prison and escaped while I was asleep.

He is still around. I can hear him squeaking from a hole in the wall taunting me with his presence. In hindsight, maybe a more seasoned trapper/hunter would have used a more robust medium as opposed to cardboard. Well his days are numbered. I plan on catching him and relocating him to another part of the park, just as soon as I can catch him again.


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