Humane mouse traps

Humane mouse traps have the ability to catch mice without harming them. They are just as effective as other traps with proper bait.

Why humane mouse traps?

As I looked into those beautiful black eyes I thought to myself do humane mouse traps work? The little rascal popped out from behind the bookcase and stared at me like I was an unwelcome guest in its house. I knew I couldn’t just kill that adorable little mouse, however I also knew it wasn’t staying in the house so I needed a solution.

A mouse caught in a humane mouse trap. Totally unharmed and ready to be set free.

How do I know I’ve got mice?

We had seen some signs of mice when we moved into the house a few months earlier. In the chaos of a house move it’s difficult to spot some damaged food wrappers. But when it popped out and stared at me there was no more doubt.

We made an effort to chase it out of the front door closing doors and blocking its path but it had no intention of leaving. Finally, we had it cornered in a cloakroom but it suddenly disappeared underneath the floorboards.

In the several months of living in the house we heard no noises, no scampering in wall or under the floor. The only sign was a couple of chewed shopping bags and some PEZ sweets that somehow were left unattended in the garage (PEZ sweets rarely last long in our house). Only the wrapper and dozens of mouse droppings remained when we started clearing the garage.

The big black trap door of the humane mouse trap closes when the mouse presses the pressure plate.

How do live mouse traps work?

Humane mouse traps work on a pretty simple mechanism. It is really just a plastic tube with a solid end on one side and a trap door at the other end. In the middle is a pressure plate that activates the trap door.

The mouse is attracted to the food and walks through the trap door. As it gets closer to the food it stands on the pressure plate and the trap door closes behind it.

When the trap door is closed a small lever has to be pulled to reopen it. This gives you some peace of mind when the mouse is in there that it can’t escape again.

What food should I use to attract mice?

Mice are omnivores and will eat almost anything. In the wild they eat grains, fruits and seeds. Mouse trap and cheese are the first things that comes to mind. In cartoons they love to eat cheese but in human houses they prefer a high fat, high carb, junk food fuelled life.

I initially tried sprinkling crunchy nut cornflakes (a family favourite) at the back of the trap. They are high carb and I would imagine very attractive to a mouse.

The mouse absolutely loved them however, it didn’t activate the pressure plate so a great success for the mouse and a total failure for the trap. The mouse must be so light that they don’t stand on the plate hard enough if the food is behind. They have to actually interact with the pressure plate to make it trip.

Second attempt was smearing a substantial lump of peanut butter on the pressure plate itself. (Third attempt was going to be a well known brand of hazelnut chocolate spread, spoiler alert we didn’t need to). The logic being that the mouse would have to stand on the plate if it wanted to eat the food.

This is the strategy that worked. On the second night at about 11pm I heard the trap snap shut.

How do I know when the mouse is caught?

When the trap is activated it makes a definite clunk that is pretty loud especially as it’s at night and the house is quiet.

The mice don’t tend to stay still when they are trapped either. For the first 10 to 15 minutes they will be trying to escape. On a hard floor the sound of the mouse jumping up and down in the trap is pretty loud.

Its also pretty obvious visually that something is caught in the trap. The big black door goes from sitting ontop to blocking the end of the trap. As it is made from clear plastic any creatures inside are visible.

We were pretty lucky on our first attempt as we caught two mice in one go. Both were visible through the clear plastic trap.

A mouse caught in a humane mouse trap. Totally unharmed and ready to be set free.

Are humane mousetraps really humane?

Humane mouse traps really truly are humane. The only more humane way to treat your mice (which we must remember are pests and don’t respect your house in any way) is to let them run wild in your house.

There are stories online about tails getting caught in the trapdoor when it closes. Personally, I think this is the exception not the rule. The traps are quite long compared to its body and tail so I don’t see it being a regular problem.

Compared to a traditional mouse trap that instantly kills or the (I think horrendous) sticky pad traps humane mouse traps are way, way better.

What should I do with the mouse?

Now that the mouse has been caught you have to remove it from your house. You don’t have to rush as the plastic trap has plenty of ventilation so the mouse isn’t in danger of suffocating.

The trapdoor has a catch on it to stop the mouse forcing its way out so there is no need to worry about that. It’s a well built piece of plastic so it’s pretty safe in there from other predators like cats and dogs.

I placed the trap outside the house just to stop the noise from the repeated escape attempts.

In the morning I placed the whole trap in a bag and cycled about half a mile to our nearest park.

Two mice trying to make me feel guilty about releasing them into the big bad world.

I could have released them in my garden but the risk of them reentering the property is very high. If there is a hole somewhere that I don’t know about they will almost certainly find it.

With that in mind I chose a quiet spot near some dense bushes placed the trap on the floor and opened the trap door so that it faced away from me.

For some reason in my head I had imagined the mice running out from the trap turning around and attacking me. Keep in mind they are about 7cm long and weigh about 10g. I’m not sure it was sensible to worry about that.

They took quite a long time to figure out the door was open but when they did thy ran straight into the undergrowth. They run incredibly fast and disappeared (hopefully) never to be seen again.

Next steps

Now that we’ve managed to catch one pair of mice we are pretty keen to find out if there are more.

I’m going to clean out the trap, reset it with peanut butter, and leave it out for a few more weeks. If nothing is caught in that time I’ll be pretty confident there are no more mice.

When I first discovered our little visitor I started a project to find any gaps they could be entering the building through.

Mice can squeeze through gaps as small as 6mm wide. Thats roughly the size of a pen. Anyone who owns an old building can tell you that there are gaps that size everywhere. Fill them with cement or use metal dish scourers to fill any bigger holes.

Are humane mouse traps effective?

From my own experience, I would say they are effective. They have to be used in the right way and I would imagine that the right way may differ from one household to the next.

The instructions for the mouse trap specifically states to put the food in the far end of the trap not on the pressure plate. For us this didn’t work but for others it might.

You will need some trial and error but so far for us they have been very effective.

They also leave you feeling less guilty about killing the adorable little mice. If this is something that bothers you then humane mouse traps are the way to go.

Where can I get humane mouse traps?

Amazon has a wide selection of traps. Other traps are available but the version I bought was the two-pack below.

Amazon has a wide range of traps ranging from humane to deadly. I would heartily recommend starting with the humane traps. However if you have a serious infestation you may have to go the more deadly route or even get pest control professionals in to help.

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