Several Hanna Hall residents experienced one last Halloween scare Monday morning when they witnessed mice scurrying through the second-floor hallway and into students’ rooms. Though Maintenance Department staff have since placed wooden snap traps in the hall, it is still unknown where the rodents went, if they are still alive or whether or not they will be seen again.
Saurav Pandey ’23, the Community Advisory (CA) for second- and third-floor Hanna residents, was the first person to encounter a mouse, when one ran under the crack of his bedroom door around 7:20 a.m. as he was getting dressed to leave for the Lowry Center. “It came in so fast. It wasn’t like squeezing, squeezing, squeezing, and then it came out, otherwise I would [have had] time to act immediately,” he said. “It just came in like that, as if the space was too big for it, and then I was so frightened when I first saw it.”
The mouse ran across Pandey’s room and underneath his bed before it emerged and terrified him again as he scrambled to call Campus Safety. “That made me freak out even more,” he said. “I was talking calmly when it came out, and then [it] approached towards me, my voice intensity also increased, and then I just told them, ‘Can you please send Maintenance quickly?’”
The mouse darted so quickly around Pandey’s room that he lost track of where it went. When Maintenance staff came to address the issue, they moved around furniture and boxes in an effort to find the mouse but were unsuccessful. They resolved to place two wooden, spring-loaded bar mouse traps in Pandey’s room, where they remained for only a few hours before a mouse was reported by residents in another room down the hall. “Maintenance knocked on my door and they said that they got a phone call from another room,” Pandey said. “Then they were like, ‘Can we take out the mousetraps from your room and put [them] in the hallway instead? Because it’s now become more like a communal problem.’”
Also around 9 a.m, Chiara Rothenberg ’25 was walking from their room to the bathroom when they, too, spotted a mouse scampering from door to door. Whether or not these incidents included the same mouse or multiple remains unclear, and residents have expressed anxiety about the many unknowns of the situation. “I’ve been a little bit concerned every time I leave the room. I’m like, ‘Oh, I gotta be on the lookout for a mouse, I guess, to make sure it doesn’t get into our room and make sure I’m not walking by a mouse caught in the mousetrap,’” Rothenberg said. “I do not want to walk by a decapitated mouse.”
The two traps were ultimately moved to more discreet locations on Tuesday morning, according to Associate Director of Housing and Operations Josh Kusch, so as not to cause alarm if a mouse were to be caught and killed. Besides the traps, Maintenance staff also plugged a small, electronic rodent-repellent device into an outlet in the middle of the second floor hallway to release high-frequency sounds that drive mice away.
Rothenberg acknowledged that despite the unfortunate decision, they believe the College handled the incident well, though they are still unsure of where the situation stands due to the lack of communication. “I think the measures that were taken were pretty appropriate,” they said. “I would love to know, like What happened? Is there still a mouse in our building? Did it get trapped or did it escape? What’s the status?”
Although the reasons why mice have only been reported on the second floor of Hanna remain unclear, Pandey suspects that they were attracted to food in the hallway trash cans. Like Rothenberg, Pandey finds the lack of information about the origins and whereabouts of the mouse unsettling. “I wish there was some security camera footage, and someone would just have to see the video in detail and figure out when exactly the mice came into the room,” he said.
Assistant Manager of Facilities Services Tom Pfleiderer noted that the mice were likely looking for food and warm shelter and were able to reach the second floor by accessing the interior of walls, ducts and pipes. Kusch agreed and emphasized that a few mice entering buildings during this time of year is normal. “In this area in Ohio, as the temperatures change from warm outside to cold outside, all the things that live outside want to find the warm inside,” he said. “[We’re] not seeing an infestation.”
In order to prevent more mice from entering the building, Pfleiderer recommends that students keep their living spaces clean and throw away their trash in designated locations. In the meantime, Kusch assures students that this will likely not be an ongoing problem as the transition from warm to cold weather ends. “We’re going to find the ones that are inside, they’re going to find other places outside and hunker down for the winter, and so I don’t anticipate that that would extend into other times,” he said.