Had to get up in the middle of the night, and as I climbed the stairs I was assaulted by the mother of all dead animal smells. oh. my. This wasn't mouse sized, this wasn't even squirrel sized or even rat size--judging from the exuberance of it, I'd say maybe St. Bernard sized. Dog or Saint, no matter. Made my eyes water.
Also made me glad I never met this apparition in the attic, or the cellar, or thundering along the kitchen counters.
There is a definable time limit on most dead-in-the-wall stuff (the kind you either live through or just close the door to that room for a day or so), usually three to five days for the little stuff and five to seven days, give or take, for the larger er, animals. It also depends on time of year. In the summer you can count on screaming intensity for about three days, tops. In the winter the aroma is less, but it lasts for twice as long. It's really a tough choice, isn't it.
And to top off all the other winter sports, my husband found a very live rat in the cellar three days ago, scuttling around. Aha, I thought. that accounts for the rustly noises and the outright frenzied galloping overhead in the crawlspace above the kitchen. We put down a havahart trap, baited with cracker and peanut butter. Upside down, so who ever takes it, has to contend with the trap tripper.
Whatever is taking the cracker also licks the trip plate clean of peanut butter and walks out through the untripped trap. door. I would think a rat would be heavy enough, and a mouse would leave crumbs.
I'm pretty sanguine about wildlife, here. Almost have to be. When we moved in the house had begun a relentless southward journey off of its old stone foundation, leaving a gap under the west wall you could see sunlight through...(I found out very quickly that snakes do not like to be disturbed whilst having an afternoon nap under the piano).
I have dealt with snakes in the attic, above the kitchen sink, in the cellar... spiders, ticks, bats, squirrels, frogs, toads, chipmunks, dead and half dead and very much alive vermin, raccoons in the shed attic, porcupines in the shed, the neighbor's herd of oxen (they wanted to come in, but I do draw the line on anything with horns), birds up to and including a grosbeak, hummingbirds who took wrong turns, bees, wasps, and an entire swarming colony of honey bees in the east wall. But field rats (which are basically just a bigger version of mice out here) I do not handle well. We all have our limits, and Ratty in the Wall is mine.
If anyone is interested in the site...http://www.havahart.com/