How to Make a Better and Non-Lethal Mouse Trap

Living in a house that is home to a wide variety of pets, including two dogs and two cats, that also provides endless feedings to wild birds, squirrels and chipmunks requires us to maintain healthy supply of various animal foods, seeds and treats. These are stored in a large pantry just off the kitchen in various containers, bags, and open bowls.

Over many years we have learned that these pet foods are enjoyed, no relished, not only by our domestic pets and the selected wild animals we feed outside, but also by an annual visitation from a local mouse family. At the first sign of winter, without fail, the tiny mouse family finds its’ way into our pantry where it hides among the endless sources of food that will provide for the mice all winter long.

Our first sign of the new visitors comes usually at night when on entering the pantry at night and turning on a light one or more mice scurry for cover among the sacks of dog food. This has always presented a dilemma for us….how to get rid of the mice?

Both my wife and myself and certainly our children are very reluctant to trap and kill or to poison the mice, and yet we were in agreement that we needed to get them out of the house.We tried several commercial radio wave and other electronic devices that claimed to frighten mice away, but either or mice were to brave or too hungry to respond and remained happily munching away on sunflower seeds and cat food.

It was then that we decided to make an attempt to develop a trap that catch the mice unharmed and allow us to return them to the outside of the house (miles away).

After several failures my we proposed one idea that after a few trials and errors resulted in the nabbing of one live mouse. Since that time we have caught several dozen over many years, all of which were safely returned outside.

The effective design is as follows:

1. First determine which food in the pantry the mice prefer. We found this to be sunflower seeds, by a wide margin.

2. We next relocated the bag of sunflower seeds on top of a small table, the top of which was 34 inches above the floor and leaned a broom handle up against the table to provide the mice an easy access ramp to the table top.

3. Next we spread a few inviting sunflower seeds around the base of the bag of seeds.

4. What was to be the trapping mechanism was found in an empty cardboard roll 11 inches long and 1 1/4 inch in diameter. (from a roll of Bounty paper towels)

5. The cardboard roll was placed perpendicular to the edge of the tabletop with half its’ length on the table and half the length protruding in space. At the midpoint of the length of the cardboard roll we placed a three inch strip of scotch tape using an “L” shaped configuration to attach half of the tape to the roll and half to the table top. This held the roll and prevented it from rolling side to side.

6. Next we scattered sunflower seeds leading from the sunflower seed bag up to and inside the cardboard tube being careful to ensure that a healthy pile of seeds was left at the far end of the tube.

7. On the floor directly beneath the the overhanging cardboard tube we placed a plastic bucket. This bucket has a opening 15 inches in diameter and a depth of 30 inches.

The trap works as the mouse is enticed into the tube by making his way through the path of sunflower seeds. As the mouse approaches the larger pile of seeds at the far end of the tube his body weight rapidly tilts the tube at the taped hinge and dumps the mouse , unharmed into the bucket. The bucket is deep enough and the plastics edges smooth enough that the live mouse can’t escape.

Our experience has shown that resetting and re-baiting the trap will catch additional mice even after one mouse is deposited in and remains in the catch bucket.

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