What is the most humane way to trap mice?

6 November 2012

9:21 AM

6 November 2012

9:21 AM

Anyone know a good method of trapping mice humanely? I’ve got lots of them scurrying around. I bought two humane traps and have so far caught ten of the creatures. But there’s a design flaw; the mice get trapped inside a narrow black box for far too long. The manufacturers say the mice shouldn’t be left inside for more than six hours – but of course they are caught at night, just after I’ve gone to bed, so they ALWAYS are left for more than six hours in the trap. Inside they are terrified and get way too hot. Of the ten I caught, one died and six or seven were in a pretty bad shape when, having walked the statutory two miles (so they can’t come back), I let them go. I realise some of you may be unsympathetic towards mice and would dispense with the humanity stuff altogether. But they’re sweet little beasts – I just don’t want them running around my kitchen. I’ve done the ‘block the holes and keep everything swept clean’ bit, but this is an old house and there are too many entry points to cover. Please don’t suggest a cat: I’d rather be overrun with plague bearing rats than have one of those things. Anyway, advice gratefully received…

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Show comments
  • Layla Millichamp

    Just wanted to say that it does my heart good to see somebody else NOT assuming that being humane is unimportant just because we stole their space (the mice) and then they try to steal it back !

  • rndtechnologies786

    Nice thought.

  • roger

    The best trap (fatal type) is the battery powered tazer-in-box type, the dead mice are very relaxed so it must have been quick. My house in an old UNESCO area has old stone walls and you just can’t keep them out.

  • Mark Riley

    good quality sticky boards lots of them not humane – quite the opposite but very effective

  • Alicia’s appetite

    Feed them to Alicia. She’s looking wearily anorexic.

  • Jenny

    We had mice once and didn’t want to kill them. I found to my surprise that they were quite easy to catch without the use of a trap – but you do have to hang about late at night and wait for them. Just sit quietly and then pounce! You’ll need a suitable container – eg mouse cage – until you can take them out of course. Have you tried that?

  • Hexhamgeezer

    How many of the little kuffers are legally resident anyway?

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Wouldn’t their pelts make a lovely hat?

    • Hexhamgeezer

      …..or cod sound like you’ve got enough for both….

  • Shenandoah

    Mice are nice with rice and ice wine.

  • Jess

    With the winter months fast approaching and the cold weather
    settling in, it is far too cold to be outside. Unfortunately that applies to
    certain unwanted visitors as well.

    Mice become a huge problem during the winter as they are,
    like most of us, seeking warmth and shelter to withstand the dropping
    temperatures. However mice can do a serious amount of damage. They only require
    a hole as big as a pencil to fit through, and they can chew through electrical
    wires and insulation, causing un-wanted hassle.

    Procter Pest-Stop has designed a large range of devices that
    are designed to eliminate mice from homes. With a selection of traps that can
    either eliminate the mice completely or simply capture them, all products target
    those with mice problems.

    To see the full range, visit:

    For more information about Procter Pest-Stop and their
    products, please get in contact with me on:

  • Johnny Garmouth

    The electronic repellents really work – the mice may come in from time to time but they don’t hang around. You have to buy good ones though – about twenty quid onbthe web not the little ones you can buy for a fiver in a hardware store.

  • David Davis

    Mice are disgusting. More to the point, they smell of methylacetamide: even socialist politicians don’t do that, with the possible exception of a certain “labour” woman in the 70s who I would be reluctant to name on here.

    Moreover, they urinate and defecate while walking (also repellent), which is three things at once, making them much smarter than a politico and therefore more cunning to trap. My old father spent more than 30 years of his life in the MAFF, designing more and more imaginative ways of rendering them nugatory at the very least, and dead at best.

    As there are fourteen mice – at least – for every human on the planet, I put it to you that your compassion towards the little buggers is quite misplaced. Decency probably forbids me to outline on here what you should do with them, always and everywhere that you meet them.

    • Baron

      David, and to top it all, the vapours from their droppings if inhaled may cause a respiratory and renal disorder Hantavirus, many thousands are infected worldwide each year if they crawl in lofts, places where mice congregate breathing the smelly vapours. Luckily, in Britain not a single case has yet been recorded, but who knows, perhaps Rod, the lover of the creatures may make into the Guinness book as the first.

    • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

      Dormice are cute. And yes: decency *does*.

  • D B

    Cat haters deserve to be overrun by mice and eaten alive by rats.

    • Baron

      How dare you DB, just as well you outside Baron’s reach, if you were anywhere near the barbarian he wouldn’t hesitate to turn you and your cats into a pulp, that would teach you a lesson.

  • The Elderking

    I’m afraid that a normal trap is best. Admittedly some will be caught by a limb but in my experience most die instantly.
    P.S. Nutella is irresistible to them and sticks to the trap therefore forcing them to stay in it rather than be caught making off with the bait.

  • WetherspoonThree

    I think mice infestation is really just a matter of personal hygiene. If the dwelling in which you reside is so badly over-run the best course of action is probably to demolish it completely and start again from scratch. Unfortunately we tend to me far too sentimental these days.
    No, of far greater concern to me are mange infected urban foxes who hardily have the strength to scavenge through the dustbins of fast food outlets for food. I am instructed by our local council apparatchiks that these creatures are sacred animals and deserve our love and attention. How on earth do we deal with this plight especially if one has the terrible misfortune to be governed locally by politically correct left-wing BBC types, unreformed Marxist-Leninists or Greens?

  • CJ

    Get a cat…

  • Sarah

    Give your mates at the BBC a call, they’ve got a few Pied Pipers at a loose end at the moment.

  • Pshaw

    Make sure you drop them off near Onslow Square.

  • Peter Melia

    I think mice don’t like being caught in a humane manner, perhaps there’s something humiliating about it back in mouseville.
    We had mice. I was all for catching them with a mark 1 trap, but my good wife, being kind-hearted with the whole world (except me of course) wouldn’t hear of it.
    However the mice had to go so I set about building a better mouse trap. It ended up as a box with the mark 1 inside. When Mickey entered, tempted by his favourite cheese (my kind hearted wife wouldn’t hear of just any old cheese for our mice, I had to leave out, for several nights, a tray containing a selection of cheeses, surrounded by a later of flour. Each morning we could see which cheese was the most liked, and also how much traffic we had around the tray (a lot)). So my better mousetrap was set up with our mice’s favourite cheese. The trap was humane in that the guillotine wire, which in a mark 1 trap kills the little fellers, was blocked by a cunning steel bar, which in turn tripped a door to fall down over the entrance, thus locking the mice inside.
    It never caught a single mouse. They never went near it. I set up a mark 1 beside the humane job, and night after night harvested a little mouse corpse, right beside my humane job.
    I have come to the conclusion that mice enjoy living dangerously.
    The best solution is to sell the house and move to a high floor flat.

  • Forest Fan

    Just before you go to bed plug in the BBC I Player and put on the Jeremy Vine Show followed by Steve Wright. Not sure if you can class this as humane but it should do the trick.

    • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

      Ha ha ha ha ha!

  • MikeF

    If you are going to rule out the pussycat option then why not just set the alarm to get up six hours after you have gone to bed. If there are no mice in the box you can always go back to bed for a while longer.

  • The Shambolic Skeptic

    My oh my. They’re bloody mice my good man. Be happy they die in your traps. Save you the long walk to release the pests!

  • Ben

    There is no humane way of catching mice – those little nipper traps are the best. I tried those humane traps once – useless… didn’t catch a thing. Plus all those mice you release back into the wild will just make their way back into your home again. That’s probably why you have still got mice … probably the same ones you’ve just released back into the garden. I know you don’t like the idea of a cat but we have two cats and we have never had a problem with mice – not once. On the other hand our neighbour’s are always getting mice problems – especially during winter. Lastly – I know you say that you would rather be overrun with rats than have a cat – I bet you wouldn’t be saying that if you really did have a rat problem. Good luck!

  • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

    Doug S. is right, Rod. By trapping you’re doing the Victorian equivalent of six-month quarantine instead of vaccinating against rabies for instant safety.

    Get the plug-in plastic doodahs that sit in the outlet (have at least one in the kitchen and others wherever your mice like to go): they emit shrill soundwaves that you can’t hear but the mice can and will avoid. A tiny light will show that it’s working. Tried and true method.

    • Baron

      Listen, you voting for Romney girl, these contraptions work well to keep empty rooms clear, but furnished rooms can still get occasional infestation, the radiation doesn’t penetrate walls, wood, and stuff. Also, the devices won’t work in timber frame houses where the mice take residence in the walls. Trust Baron, he knows, he’s tried them.

      you ready to party tonight?

      • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

        I’m ready to party, Baron, but I sure hope there’s a party to go to!

        • Geoff

          There wasn’t

          • Lungfish

            The Babysham will be flowing in Irans underground nuclear enrichment facility though, hopefully they’ll be careful where they let off their party poppers.

  • Laurence

    Rod, You cannot mouse proof a home. Mice can squeeze through gaps as small as a penny. Do not be too hasty dismissing cats. I always had dogs as a nipper but got a cat about two years ago and I wouldn’t part with her and that despite the damage her kittenish self did to the soft furnishings. Eddie is correct: you need to obtain a female cat preferably from a farm, as they make the best mousers. Mice tend to stay away if a moggy is in residence and mousing is, after all, what the domestic cat was bred/intended for. They’re also pretty good at removing wasps and bluebottles.

    • Baron

      Laurence, so why do these domesticated, bred-to-catch-mice cats get kicked at night into the wilderness where they kill birds, shit in other people’s gardens, ha?

      And if that wasn’t bad enough, their merde stinks, is hard to shift, arghhh

      • Laurence

        I completely agree Baron and that is why my cat has always been kept indoors.

        • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

          Isn’t that like caging a bird?

          • Laurence
            • Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For

              PETA is a thoroughly disreputable organization.

              • Marmalade

                Yes it is. PETA are full of ‘it’ with a capital SH.

                To keep a cat indoors is very cruel especially if it has ever been outdoors – and can then see what it used to have through the window!
                Let cats take their own risks too, like with people. No doubt PETA people never allow their children outside either.

                What I do find it terribly cruel is to de-claw cats and vets in the UK balk at this awful mutilating practice and won’t do it, thank goodness. Many indoor cats in north America (I have rarely known any in the UK) seem to be declawed to save the furniture. Just terrible.

                • The Romney Half of America

                  Wholeheartedly agree, Marmalade. But then I don’t approve of mutilation for anybody, man or animal (e.g. infant circumcision, cropping of dogs’ ears).

      • Marmalade

        Cats are intelligent beautiful creatures, which is probably why you don’t like them. Thicko chavs and the upper class chinless wonders love dogs of course, because it boosts their fragile egos and gives them a sense of power and control.
        People who don’t like cats were vermin in a former life of course (and some are in this one…)

        But don’t worry, we cat-lovers are as we speak working on the genetic modification of a cat that will be trained to shit on the heads of shitheads – you know, the type of morons who believe that cats (and not paved over front gardens, pesticides, invasive species) are what have reduced the numbers of certain British birds.
        And how many children are attacked (and killed) by dogs every year again?

        • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

          Baron’s a lovely man, but I do agree that cat-hatred is a bizarre phenomenon that does not reflect well on those that suffer from it.

    • rod liddle

      Laurence mate – I’m not saying cats wouldn’t be effective. I’m saying I loathe them.

  • Albin

    So you’re going two miles to foist the vermin on somebody else, and are concerned they are not in fit shape for it after a night of incarceration? If you like mice, nurture and contain them in your own house. If you haven’t the stomach to either kill them or take care of them, call an animal shelter or pet hospital about relieving you of them (possibly for a small fee).

  • John Adlington

    You soppy monkey

  • William Reid Boyd

    When I was in Amsterdam some decades ago researching something or other that involved smoking a lot of pot, I was once disturbed by one scurrying across the floor while I was indulging some single-handed video viewing under the influence. On a couple of previous like occasions I had fancied my privacy likewise compromised, so this time I chased him (or her, oh dear) back into the kitchen and swore almightily at him as he cowered behind a radiator.

    This really worked because I never saw him again, but I grant you might have to make some adjustments to the method depending on your domestic arrangements.

    I did kill one with a mouse-trap a few years back in this relatively modern Welsh dwelling I now have and was suffused with guilt because he was such a beautiful little creature, but it was problematic because he was leaving little droppings all over my bread board. What I did was to institute a zero-tolerance policy on bread-crumbs and surfaces and this also worked. I haven’t noticed mouse droppings since.

  • C Cole

    Your attitude does you credit, Rod. Was wondering why the traps you’ve got are so tight for space. Would the mice distrust them if they were more roomy?

    PS I looked on Amazon and the Rentokil Live Capture Mouse Traps Loose had good reviews.

  • Groovelid

    You walked 2 miles? (!)

  • Eddie

    ‘Anyone know a good method of trapping mice humanely?’

    Yes, get some scammer from Nigeria to phone them offering them an unlimited supply of cheese is they send all their cheese to Mister Mbongo in Lagos.

    Humane traps? FF sake! They’re mice, mate – vermin which breed every few weeks: nature wants them to be killed! So kill the nibblers! Human traps… Good grief.. How very Nigella Lawson of you…

    Or you could always buy a mouse trap – a good old-fashioned trap that will in an instant crush the mices little skulls (wood and metal, not plastic – the antique Victorian ones are excellent and cheap at auctions!).

    Oats are the best bait, by the way. Not cheese. Mr Mbongo will be disappointed…

    • Eddie

      Or possibly just identify them as paedo-mice and ‘out’ them on Facebook!

      I am sure the raging screeching pitch-fork wielding mob of concerned mums with spray-on halos will come in and find the little blighters – bash em, squash em and rip em paw from paw…
      Or you could get a cat… A female one: they are the most vicious mousers due to innate evolutionary kitten-feeding instincts…

  • biggestaspidistra

    Mothballs will keep them away but, on the down side, may kill your family.

  • Thick as two Plancks

    Encourage a few spiders to take up residence. Mice are scared of spiders, which will also eat or drive away ants etc.

  • Andrew Willshire

    Why don’t you cut a hole in the end of the humane trap and glue it to a larger box so it can run around while waiting for you?

    • John21Allen

      Put some cheese in there as well & maybe a little glass of wine.

    • Tinker Bell

      That would upset the balance of the trap unfortunately.

  • Lungfish
  • Baron

    Here is what you do, before you turn in, get a tall plastic container, position it under the edge of a table, just above it, on the same edge of the same table, place the paper tube from a toilet roll so that it overhangs the container, put in some bait (in that side that’s above the container, obviously), the mouse will do the rest.

    If you still worried about spending years at HM pleasure for cruelty to mice, place a silk cushion in the container, your wife may even embroider it with messages that tell of your love for the Mus Musculus and your progressive take on things in general, such as ‘this house defends free speech for all including mice’ or ‘equal rights for all rodents, straight or gay’ or ‘not a single mouse got hurt in the making of this BBC programme’….

  • DougS

    My wife bought a couple of those plug-in electronic thingies that are supposed to scare them off with high frequency noise or something.

    We haven’t had any mice since deploying them but, being a sceptical sort I think that they’re like anti-elephant dust – you don’t know if they’re working because you weren’t going to get a plague of them anyway!

    Your situation however Rob, sounds like a suitable test bed, so why not lash out on some and see if they work?

    Ask for your money back if they don’t.

  • WillyTheFish

    For an interesting take on the ‘cat solution’ read this:

  • Bruce, UK

    Burmese Python. Solves the cat problem as well.

    • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

      That is absolutely disgusting, but it did make me laugh!

      • Bruce, UK

        Then my work here is done.

    • Austin Barry

      If urban legends have any veracity, you could send in Richard Gere and his chums to rehouse the little rascals.

    • MontyBong

      Made me laugh too!

      But if you got yourself a live-in African cleaner, you could solve the python problem too!
      Snake stew, anyone?

      • Bruce, UK

        Roast for preference, or in noodle soup.

        • MontyBong

          The snake, the mice or the live-in African cleaner?

  • Jack Dawson

    Get a snake.

  • William Haworth

    If the mice overheating is a problem, then put an ice-pack next (or near) to the trap overnight, to keep them cool. Then drive your two miles (walking jolts them up and down too much for comfort), and drop them off near someone else’s house. But then you’ve got to hope that Someone Else uses a break-back trap, and doesn’t drive two miles before dropping their mice off…

  • chudsmania

    There is a creature known as a cat which is very effective ya know !!

  • Hugh

    Just get a bigger trap – one for rats and squirrels. You should be able to find one that will still be triggered by a mouse. Or you could put on Stuart Little a few times while you think they may be watching and then lay out some tiny trousers and t-shirts. They may then leave of their own volition.

  • JohnOfEnfield

    There isn’t a humane way of trapping mice.

    None of them work. The only effective way is a b*****y great old-fashioned spring trap.

    Steel yourself man & get on with it. You knew the answer as soon as you asked it.

    And there was I thinking you had real balls.

    • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

      Balls are bollocks, I find.

    • Tinker Bell

      I used a humane mouse trap a few weeks ago and it did the job just fine.

  • Forever Wengraf

    what black box are you using because i need myself one of those if you’ve already caught 10

    • rod liddle

      I use (two) RKL Live Capture Humane mouse traps, three quid, buyable online.
      I might try the electronic devices.
      And Baron, I’m only really progressive re mice.

      • OldSlaughter

        I live a few hundred yards from you and am having the same trouble. Make sure you walk in the other direction please. Thanks for the tips.

      • Baron

        drop the progressiveness on mice then, too, Rod, and get yourself a well tested mouse trap, it’ll dispatch the little creatures with deadly efficacy, will also save you walking for miles, which in this weather cannot be that pleasant.

        Did you know the mouse trap got invented in the late 19th century by an ironmonger from Leeds, one Henry Atkinson, who sold the invention for a round £1,000, a solid fortune then? Baron brings it up not only to show off, but also to offer a proof that the great Yorkshire city of Leeds breeds not only men who’re predisposed to chasing under age girls.

        Still, your task of extinguishing mice pales compared with Baron’s, he has rats to deal with, but then he ain’t progressive, rats and all, an old but pretty accurate 4-10 does the job beautifully, if somewhat noisily. So far this year five rats of the Rattus rattus phylum (that’s the ones that climb) kissed good-by to life in the deep wilderness of East Anglia.

        • Vote for Freedom: Vote Romney!

          Baron: Nothing wrong with showing off, but it’s much harder to do these days, what with search engines on the Internet. : )

          Anyway, I shouldn’t boast about dispatching the rats, if I were you. You’ll have some officer of the Green Law coming around, telling you not to touch a hair on them and advising as well how to make your house more congenial for them. With a follow-up in three months to ensure your compliance.