Best Way to Catch a Mouse on Your Own

Mice and humans have an interesting relationship. We keep them as pets. Their body and organ structures match humans to a high degree, making these cute little critters perfect for lab experiments. As helpful as domesticated mice are, the average wild mice can be a bit of a pest, invading your home, getting into your home, and being a generally lousy guest. If you have a mouse in the house, what are some of the best ways to catch it?

The Standard Trap

When you think mousetraps, you’ll probably have the classic spring-loaded mousetrap in mind. These traps have been around since the 1890s, and they’re starting to show it, especially when there are more humane solutions out there. Still, if you’re desperate and you’re out of options, the spring-loaded trap is effective. Just remember a few things:

  • Location is everything. You can use one of the more advanced electrical mousetraps, but it won’t matter if you don’t place it in the right area. Listen for your mouse’s scratching and skittering. Locate areas where your mouse has laid droppings.
  • You may have to “stalk” your prey. Many mice create a complex network of holes and entrances, which means they’ll rarely stay in a single area of your home for long.
  • Prepare the right bait. Mice are clever and talented and will often grab the bait without getting caught or setting off the trigger mechanism. Avoid blocks or slices of cheese, which are easy for mice to nab. If you must use cheese, go for something that will stick, like brie. Peanut butter is the preferred bait as it has a strong scent and sticks quite well.

The Humane Trap

Maybe you would rather not resort to mousetraps, poison, or other lethal methods, but that mouse still needs to go. Fortunately, there are numerous humane traps on the market, and many homeowners have created effective humane traps out of simple objects found around the house.

One of the best traps requires nothing but a toilet paper tube, a box/bucket, some bait, and the edge of a table, countertop, or cardboard ramp.

  • Crease two lines in the tube to form a tunnel with flatter sides. It should look more like a box than a cylinder, which can roll around when the mouse is inside.
  • Put the bait at one end of the tube. A piece of cheese or a cracker with a bit of peanut butter on it should work fine.
  • Get a tall box or bucket. It should be at least 20 inches in height. Avoid cardboard, which is easy for mice to chew through. A non-lined trash can is ideal.
  • Balance the tube at the edge of the table, countertop, or self-made ramp. The bait should be at one end of the tube, hanging directly over the box, bucket, or trash bin.
  • Mice naturally like tunnels. The mouse will crawl into the tube to get at the treat, but his extra weight will cause the tube to tip over into the bucket.

Release the mouse into the wild as soon as possible. A mouse can die from stress and dehydration. Release the mouse at least a mile away from your house; mice have amazing homing instincts and will come back if they’re close enough.

Things We Don’t Suggest

Mousetraps and humane traps are your best bets to catching mice, but here are some reminders of things you shouldn’t do.

  • Don’t underestimate mice. They are clever, agile, and fast. Many people think they can simply corner the mouse, catch it, and take it outside. At a very young age, mice learn to chase each other for fun. They can easily evade you.

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