Monday, November 7, 2011

Trapping and Removing Mice Without Killing Them

I can’t take credit for the original idea, but the following has worked for me on a number of occasions. Let’s say you have a mouse problem, but you have a soft spot for mice and can’t bring yourself to kill them.  There are humane traps you can buy of course, but personally I haven’t found them too helpful. Mice learn how to remove bait without triggering doors.

The way I find that works is as follows:
  1. Buy a wastepaper basket, the bigger the better.
  2. Remove the lid of the basket if any.
  3. Create a makeshift staircase to the top of the big that mice can climb. It doesn’t have to be perfect: mice are pretty good climbers. I’ve found that a combination of trade paperbacks and DVDs in their case work well, but anything comparable is find; the top of the stairs should be as level as possible with the top of the basket.
  4. Place a ruler on the top of the “stairs”. The ruler should be hanging over the basket. Here’s the tricky part: it shouldn’t me too loose or too secure. It should be able to briefly hold the mouse’s weight but not for too long.
  5. Place bait along the “stairs” in various locations and make sure that a bit of bait is on the far tip of the ruler, i.e. the part hanging over the basket.  I find that cheese flavoured snacks work well; actually cheese puffs work better than real cheese.
  6. Eventually the mouse will learn that this is a source of food and make a go at the bait on the ruler. The goal is to get the mouse and ruler to fall into the basket.
    1. If the mouse triggers the trap without falling in. reset the ruler and bait but make it slightly more secure.
    2. Conversely if the mouse eats the bait at the far end of the ruler without falling in, move the ruler slightly closer to the edge and add more bait.
    3. If the mouse falls in. carry the wastepaper basket to a field and release it by a tree. The mouse will likely run up the tree
  7. Note that you will likely have more than one mouse, so expect to repeat step 6c. After the first few attempts, successful or otherwise, you will only need to bait the tip of the ruler because mice will remember that there’s food there.

Hope these steps result in some safe mouse removals. Note: feel free to comment on this, but please don’t tell any mouse demise stories in Comments section.  Other suggestions that result in a happy parting of ways between mouse and human are okay though.

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