Yale Daily News

On the first day back from winter break, Nathalie Lemon ’25’s suitemate saw a mouse in their dorm. 

When Branford College facilities showed up the next morning to investigate, they were unable to find the mouse and set traps throughout the suite. But the mouse sightings did not end that morning. After the facilities workers had left, Lemon started unpacking from break, and the mouse ran across her bedroom floor. She screamed, grabbed her bag and headed out for class for the day.

“Oh my god, what a way to get back,” Lemon said. 

The News spoke with eight students who reported mice sightings across Branford College, in the dining hall and in the basement, which connects to Saybrook College. 

Branford students squeal about mice infestation

The mice appeared in Elena Unger ’25’s suite in November, and the first sighting took place in her bedroom. Unger is also a staff reporter for the News. She called facilities, who put down mice traps, but they have not caught a mouse in the intervening two months. 

“I am a drama queen when it comes to all animals, particularly rodents,” Unger said. “They’re like these little demonic brown creatures that scurry and you can hear them scratching in the wall, like the mice are having a little party. It’s kind of figuratively cute, like Ratatouille, but then when you see them come out of the holes in the wall, it’s much less cute.”

According to Unger, later mice sightings occurred not only in her bedroom, but also in her common room and in the suite across the hall. The worst day for Unger came when she reached into her snack bin to grab Cheez-Its, and her finger brushed a mouse’s tail.

Cosima Deetman ’25 saw a mouse in the Branford buttery during finals week, and the day she got back from break, she saw a mouse in her common room.

“Two of my suitemates say they have heard scuttling and squeaking at night,” Deetman wrote to the News. “We live on the third floor, and we don’t have much food around, so it was pretty surprising. They don’t really bother me, and they haven’t caused any problems in the suite. But some of my suitemates were pretty distressed when I told them about my sightings.”

Branford College Council president Hilary Griggs ’24 said that while she has not seen a mouse in Branford herself, she has heard about sightings from a few of her constituents.

“We have a big group chat in Branford of about 200 people in different classes, and there have been a few exchanges within the group chat,” Griggs said. “A week or two ago someone said, ‘What do we do if we saw a mouse?’ And the response was ‘Give it a name and accept your new friend.’”

The amount of mice within a building does not have to reach a certain threshold to qualify as an infestation. Signs of a mouse infestation can include droppings, smudges on the floor, scratching noises in the wall or finding a dead or live mouse during the day, the latter of which can indicate a more serious infestation. 

From Griggs’ past experience with Branford administration and facilities, she believes that if mice are a widespread issue within the college, it will be resolved.

“In my practical experience, a lot of colleges will get mice occasionally,” Griggs said. “So based on my perspective, it hasn’t been a recurrent enough issue that I have seen it as a huge problem. But if this is a widespread infestation, that’s obviously an issue.”

In Saybrook College, which Branford shares a basement with, Max Werner ’25 and his suitemates saw a mouse at the start of December. “More annoyed than anything else,” Werner said he blocked off a hole he discovered in his suite in hopes of compelling the mouse to “go find some other place to live.” 

Neither Branford nor Saybrook facilities representatives responded to requests for comment. Lemon and Unger said that Branford facilities have been helpful with the mice in their suites, responding within 24 hours once a mouse sighting is reported. 

“I called facilities and they were amazing,” Unger said. “But it’s definitely an old building with holes in the baseboards, so especially in the winter, they come out to play. It’s terrible.”

Lemon said that before this semester, she had not seen a mouse in Branford during her two years living in the college. For Lemon, the only way she will know the mouse in her suite is finally gone is when they see it in a trap or “when the smell starts.”

“We still haven’t found it,” Lemon said. “We heard scurrying and squeaking, but we have not been able to track it. We’re all living in fear in this community. Maybe I’m rustling through my bags or in my storage one day and I squish it. It wouldn’t even be squishy at that point — rigor mortis.”

Branford College is located at 74 High St.

Tristan Hernandez is the 147th Editor in Chief and President of the Yale Daily News. He previously served as a copy editor and covered student policy & affairs and student life for the University desk. Originally from Austin, Texas, he is a junior in Pierson College majoring in political science.