A Better Mousetrap, at Least for the Mouse

No mice were harmed in the making of this non-lethal soda bottle mousetrap.

Depending on your opinion of these little critters, that could be a good thing or a bad thing. We don’t deny that mice are cute as all get-out, but when they do damage to foodstuffs that you’ve put an entire summer’s effort into growing, harvesting and preserving, cute isn’t worth much.

Our preference for taking care of rodent problems is either bioremediation or rapid cervical dislocation, but if you’re more of the catch-and-release type, this trap is for you. It’s just a 2-liter soda bottle on a wire pivot and mounted to a scrap wood frame; when the offending critter unwisely enters the neck of the bottle, its weight flips the bottle down and blocks the exit. Release is as simple as removing the bottle from the frame and letting Monsieur Jingles wiggle free. The questions of where to release and how many times you’ll keep catching the same mouse are left as an exercise for the reader.

Remember – a live catch trap is only humane if it’s checked regularly. To that end, maybe something like das Katzetelegraf could be added to this trap.

[via BoingBoing]

55 thoughts on “A Better Mousetrap, at Least for the Mouse

  1. That’s great! Another non-lethal trap that I have used is to spread a little peanut butter on the bottom (inside) of a mason jar or drinking glass. You then place he jar upside down on the floor where you expect the mouse to be, and but you balance the rim of the jar on a dime that is on its side (this takes a little practice!). The mouse sneaks under the lifted rim and jumps to get the peanut butter, which dislodges the dime and causes the jar to fall, trapping the mouse.

    The jar idea wouldn’t scale to larger animals (e.g. rats, squirrels) like your bottle trap would, though.

      1. or maybe died of thirst (no water) – i read somewhere mice need almost constant water supply. Just put some in the bottle and add ventilation holes, this should solve the problem. When i need to catch a mouse i add some simple electronics (light barrier, transistor and alarm next to me but away from the mouse) to the trap to release the mouse asap after the catch (you may use a RaPI instead…).

  2. As someone who spent the better part of my youth trying to devise nonlethal mouse contraptions; never ever underestimate the ingenuity, flexibility, tooth sharpness, and persistence of mice. Given a few hours of time, I’m not sure this little guy would have much trouble chewing a hole in that plastic…

  3. Many years ago, we had mice in the attic, so we got four of the humane traps – rectangular tube type with a door that flips down after the mouse has entered. Caught them, deposited them outside. Came back, cycle repeats. We caught the same mice a total of maybe 150 times! Eventually we took them much further away and let them go, and they didn’t come back.

    They were incredibly clever – they learned to pull some of the loft insulation into the trap with them to prevent the door from falling down!

    1. 2 inch square steel tubing as an outer conductor/mouse gut catcher, and a nail in the center as an inner conductor. spread a little peanut butter on the center nail, wait for a mouse to walk into the open end of the tube. zap.

      take it outside, hose it off, reset it.

  4. A nice, but probably accidental feature of this design is that it will make some sound as long as the mouse keeps moving around, greatly increasing the chances of someone noticing the catch. You could always add some bells or metal bits to increase the amount of noise if the mouse moves around.

    I do wonder if the mouth of the bottle would provide enough circulation to keep mouse from suffocating it he would have to spend a day or so inside the bottle, if you happen to be away. Maybe a few small holes should be drilled to increase airflow.

      1. Pretty much you cant let them leave the trap alive. I know you are just joking but putting them outside will end up with them being back inside probably within a couple hours.

  5. I caught mice with two gadgets. One was a simple two inch diameter cardboard tube a foot long with one end sealed with scotch tape. I chased the mouse into a corner with the tube lying where the wall met the floor and the mouse ran into the tube. I upended the tube with the sealed end down to capture the mouse and carried the tube thus upended outside and released the mous into the bushes outside the house.In the suburbs a wild mouse in the bushes bothers no one.

    A second device is an empty plastic bucket tall enought to prevent the mouse from jumping out. A strip of wood or something adequate provides a runway up to the lip of the bucketand a separate strip is balanced past the edge of the bucket on a crosspiece of wirewith bait over the center of the bucket on the short strip When the mouse goes past the balance point the short strip flips the mouse into the bucket whch then can be carried outside to free the mouse. The short strip without the weight of the mouse then flips back ready to catch another mouse.

    1. Toilet paper tube with peanut butter inside on one end. Non-peanut butter side of tube attached to counter top with sticky part of PostIt note. Bucket or trash can under the tube. Mouse goes into the tube to get the treat, weight is too much for the PostIt, mouse and tube fall into bucket.

  6. Catch-and-release sounds so humaine, but in fact it probably isn’t. Even if the animal in question isn’t territorial, it is being dropped into a situation where it knows nothing about the lay of the land and is highly traumatized. The upshot is most likely death from exposure, predation or shock. A quick death in a kill-trap is probably more merciful. On top of which, catch-and-release is against the law in many places as it can spread disease and parasites from infected populations among other issues. The fines (at least where I live) can be significant.

      1. Perhaps for the individual creature, however with many species, inserting them into a new area can have a negative impact on the ones already living there and a ripple effects that can be on occasion, profound.

      1. I have found that fixing a short length of string to the trip and the bait gets them still, and I have an issue with deer mice at our cottage and there are two or three nailed by the traps every time we go up. Also I use bits of those meat sticks, (you know the leather-like ones that come pre-stale, sold at filling stations) which are firm enough that the string holds.

    1. You don’t need to bring the mouse 10km away – instead find where he enters home and fix this. We had a lot of mouse on a loft, with some patience, human mouse traps and spray foam no more mouse yet.
      And how much does a mouse really need to know about the environnment tho live there??

    2. In a suburban situation when a mouse wanders into a house, retyrning it to the outside does no damage to anyone and I have never heard of a major police bust in for dissceetly dropping a live mouse into the bushes.

  7. This needs combining with the cheesy poofs gun to relocate the captures sufficiently far away.

    Then again, I spent loads on humane traps & poison & ultrasonic scarers and in the end my microwave caught the most mices – the smell of food residue (it wasn’t dirty, but obviously there’s always a few food molecules somewhere in one) enticed them in through the vents, and for whatever reason they couldn’t climb back out. Was a real pain getting them out & capturing them, although one did kill itself by bridging the mains supply. Smelt awful!

    Yes, I did throw the microwave away in the end, you just can’t expunge mouse poo from the innards with 100% effectiveness.

  8. I’ve seen great results with this easy homemade trap: cut 20 inches of drain pipe, in the middle cut hole about 4 inches square and place bait inside. Now cut 18 inch larger pipe and copy first, place this over smaller pipe and turn the smaller inside pipe so the cut hole cant be seen. By turning the inside pipe so both holes are seen you can refill the inside small pipe. There’s no harm to larger animals as they cant get into the smaller pipe to eat, works better weighted down with a stone or something.

    I can’t upload a pic, but it does work and also by pulling the smaller pipe out you can discard without touching, then re-bait.

    It’s good to know an exterminator is not always needed, there are things we can try first.

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