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Mouse Trapped in Window A/C Unit

I received this email from a worried reader:

"I've got a mouse in my window a/c unit. I live in an apartment (on the first floor) but because the window unit belongs to us and not the complex, the complex refuses to do anything. The mouse just turned up this morning but has not made it into the house yet. I've got about four snap traps set up baited with peanut butter in the likeliest of place that he entered window a/c. And I've got one trap at the only know entry point INTO the house from the a/c.

Here's what I want to know...should I get rid of the whole window unit at this point? I mean, the mouse has been in there for 12 hours and has likely urinated and defecated EVERYWHERE, is cleaning the unit even possible at this point?

What can I do to prevent the mouse from getting inside and stopping further mice from climbing into my window unit.

Any help would be appreciated."
(c) instructables.com

If you are experiencing the same problem, I suggest that you remove and dismantle the a/c unit after a full 24 hours. It is still in your best interest to take out the mouse before it dies - decaying rodents in a/c units and other air vents are definitely hazardous to your health (apart from the fact that dead mice would definitely release strong foul odour).

However, since dismantling requires a lot of time and effort, it is most advised that you set up the necessary traps outside the a/c unit. The letter-sender above got it right when he placed peanut butter-baited snap traps at all the possible entry and exit points in the a/c unit. Nonetheless, if this is not effective, depending on your preference, you can either wait for the mouse to get out on its own after a few days (it will surely do so in order to look for food, unless it doesn't know how) or take out the a/c unit then free the mouse on your own.

If indeed you have figured out that the mouse can't get out on its own, you can choose between two options:

1. Deliberately kill the mouse - Well, the most obvious thing to do is to drop poisoned baits into the a/c unit.
2. Wait for the mouse to die on its own – Surprisingly, most people would only notice that a mouse is indeed trapped in their a/c unit after its decaying body would start to smell. Again, fumes from decaying animals are health hazards.

Still, the best approach is to immediately take out the window a/c unit after the mouse is discovered. Window a/c units are quite easy to take out and dismantle, but if you can't do it yourself, you can either ask a friend to do it for you or look through the yellow pages of your telephone directly and find a local window a/c serviceman or repair shop.

It is already expected that the mouse has already urinated and left droppings inside the a/c unit. Thus, upon dismantling, it is important that you sanitize the unit. You can use commercial sanitizing agents (i.e. bleach) for this purpose. Let the sanitizing agent stand for a couple of minutes or hours before rinsing the a/c parts.

To avoid such problems from happening again, I suggest that you regularly inspect your window a/c unit to see if the rodents and gradually making entry points into it; "seal" all obvious openings and place mice baits outside the a/c unit.

To the letter-sender, you should be aware too that it is still your landlord's responsibility to help you take care of the problem. Although the a/c unit is yours, it is still your landlord's obligation to keep your place free from rodents and other pests. If are willing to go through all the hassles, you can compel an uncooperative landlord to help you pay with the professional services needed to remove the mouse by sending him a copy of your total expenses -- request that these expenses be deducted from your future monthly rents. Seriously, you can take the case to a judge and be confident that you will win.
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