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Not Saved by the Bell

Sébastian's running kill count:

  • Rodents:
    Mice - 13 14
    Voles - 2 4

  • Birds:
    Sparrows - 2 3
    Dunnocks - 1

  • Other:
    Frogs - 1
    Unidentifiable remains - 1

A while back I promised new revenant horror. I described it as a zombie vole then, but I'm fairly sure it was a zombie mouse and have adjusted the kill count accordingly.

I came back from the bar one night to find a mouse corpse by the sofa. I had some food, then got some kitchen towel and a plastic bag for the corpse removal.

The thing I used to dread when the late Moosifer Jones brought in animals was that they weren't really dead. This was especially true of the Rodent of Unusual Size I once had to remove (yes, it was a rat). I picked it up in some paper, convinced it was about to flip over in my hands and start scrabbling around. Not helped on that occassion by the fact I was in my underwear and it was 3am.

The mouse woke up.

It fitted very snuggly into the palm of one of my hands and quivered. I could feel its tiny heartbeat under my fingers as I instinctly tried to comfort it. Two little black eyes looked up at me. It's ALIVE!

Then I realised one of its back legs had been broken when Séba pounced. The mouse wouldn't be alive for long. I like to think I am a realist. The mouse was as good as dead. If I released it into the garden, its remaining time would be filled with pain and end with another predator (or Séba) killing it. There was no chance it would be scurrying anywhere. The sensible, compassionate thing would be to get a spade or rock and smash its head in.

The damn thing washed its whiskers and looked at me.

I couldn't do it. I stood in the moonlit garden and nearly cried over the fact I couldn't do the humane thing, the right thing. I couldn't bring myself to end its life, even though it was the right thing to do. Eventually, I took it to a far corner and hid it under some bushes, it started to drag itself into cover and I fled back to the house, blocking up the catflap for the night so at least it wouldn't be killed by my beast. This led to much guilt on my behalf, and a new "zombie mouse" fear to add to the "zombie frog" fear.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was checking my emails on the laptop and heard a tweeeet from where Séba was by the main fireplace. I went into immediate "drop it, baby" mode. The sparrow, when rescued, was alive. Its wings were a bit damp but seemed intact. Again, it was carried out to the bush and released. It's possible that one lived, but I've put it down as a kill anyway, in case it wasn't able to survive.

When I put a new collar on Séba last week, I left the bell on. This causes me no end of amusement when he patters up the stairs to the attic workspace, bell jingle-jangling.

There was still another vole corpse this morning.

Posted @ 8:24 am on Saturday, June 10, 2006
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