Quantum Field Mouse Cube Theory

I’ve been staying at our ethanol plant in Moses Lake, and I’ve got a bit of a rodent problem.

The locals tell me that these are “field mice”, and that if you have a place near grain fields these will invade your home. Wikipedia says “field mice” actually are meadow voles. Reading further, one can tell the difference by doing things like counting toes and looking at ear shapes and the like. I’ll more carefully examine the next prisoner and likely extract more information from him.

So far I’ve caught 3 with the Mouse Cube. Walmart sells these for $1.50. They catch the mouse because they can push a door open from the outside, but can’t open it again from the inside. Here’s prisoner #3 checking to see if that door is going to open just one more time:

The mouse cube is made from dark gray transparent plastic. The transparency makes it easy to see if there is a mouse in there, and how well they’re getting along with captivity, while the darkness makes it an attractive and comforting place to crawl into. The above photo was taken in direct sunlight and undoubtedly was stressful.

Reading on the internet, it appears that some people have had various difficulties with the trap. First, I think it is important to put the trap in a place where the trapped mouse is going to feel relatively comfortable hanging out. If you put it in the middle of your floor, then the guy is going to go nuts when the sun comes up and maybe he will tip the trap over, and get out that way.

Oh yes, the way you get the mouse out is by turning it upside down, so that the hinge of the door is on the floor instead of the ceiling. Then, assuming the mouse doesn’t keep pressing against it, the door will fall open and, seeing freedom, he will exit.

I suppose you could just set the the trap upside down and if you wait long enough, he’ll come out, but it seems that people have their own time scales, and tend to shake the box a little in order to encourage a timely exit, for example, in order to make a “great escape” you-tube short movie: “Setting Free The Mice – Mice Cube”.

Prison Amenities

The instructions suggest using peanut butter to bait the cube, but that sounds messy to me. Instead, I’ve used candy that smells like peanut butter. The first time I did this, I used just a few crumbs. Uh, that was all that was left of a bag of one of my favorites, a very old candy, Atkinson’s Peanut Butter Bars. As mouse bait, these are quite efficient, 30 pounds for $59.43 from the factory.

The above bait caught a mouse the first night. More recently I’ve used peanut butter flavored malted milk balls, but I don’t think that these have as scrumptious an odor as the peanut butter bars and it was only on the second night out that a victim showed up.

That first prisoner was rather bedraggled looking and I concluded that part of this was due to inadequate amenities. So I’ve added an upside down plastic bottle cap with water to the provisions. Perhaps this makes for a calmer rodent.

The usual punishment for the crime of “rodent caught on ethanol plant” is transportation. In this case, to a location several miles to the east. There the prisoner is released.

The mouse cube is fairly constricting so after a while their respiration will add moisture to the walls. This will get their fur wet, and so here’s our bedraggled criminal, escaping in the general direction of Spokane:

Check your cubes each morning otherwise you will end up with a burial detail and may have to explain the embarassing situation to the Red Cross.

This mouse trap requires the mouse to push open the door. Another cool mouse trap is the tilting kind where the weight of the mouse causes the contraption to tip over, closing the door.

I suspect that a little thought would design a good mouse trap from common material with little requirement for construction ability and may consider doing something like that.


Filed under physics

5 responses to “Quantum Field Mouse Cube Theory

  1. Kea

    Glad to see you’re not killing the cute wee mousies. I have often encountered them in mountain huts, and lost several chocolate peanut bars to them. But I prefer to scare them off rather than beat them over their cute little heads. Stuffing dirty clothes in the gaps about the door usually keeps them out all night, and when I leave they are welcome to return home.

  2. carlbrannen

    Here’s my favorite home-made self-resetting, bucket mouse trap. I think this is evil in its simplicity and elegance and laughed when I first saw it. Not being a human must be rough.

    As pictured, it relies on the mouse not getting out of the bucket because they cannot jump from water (while they can jump from dry land). To make it humane, just use a taller bucket, and put some padding at the bottom for them to land on and to keep them warm.

    I believe that it’s possible to design a 5-gallon mouse trap that cannot be jumped out of. One has to include some sort of slide that land the mouse in a place where he can’t jump to the opening. Or if he does climb back to the opening, he can’t make it back up the slide anyway.

  3. This is an hilarious post. I am SO blogging you.

  4. carlbrannen

    Prisoner #4 wouldn’t talk, but his insignia leaves me to suspect that he is a common house mouse.

  5. michael

    It is an excellent product…except…if there is more than one mouse…a second mouse might come along and actually open the door for his friend…

    I have set these traps with very good results…though I have found all the food gone without a mouse on occasion…then it’s just a matter of time all mice are caught

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