Tips on the Use of Humane Mouse Traps


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Strong interest in humane pest control methods has sparked interest in the use of for getting rid of house mice. Humane traps are wonderful tools but they are not as straightforward to use as they might seem. The trap itself is just a tool - ensuring they truly are humane and work as intended takes some preparation and thought.

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To start, though, there is debate over what type of mouse traps can be considered humane. Some people believe that only non-lethal or live traps can be considered humane. One-way doors that allow rodents to leave the house but not re-enter it are another form of live 'trap'. Other people believe that lethal traps (traps that kill mice) can be humane provided that they kill the animal quickly without giving them the chance to panic. In this case, snap traps and rodent zappers would also be included in the list. Sticky glue mouse traps are never considered humane as they cause tremendous suffering to the mice who get caught in them.

When choosing and using a humane trap, consider these tips:

  • Do you know where the place the traps? Placing a bit of flour down in areas where you think mice are traveling can confirm your hunch (you will be able to see paw prints or even a tail drag where the mouse passes through the flour). Traps should be placed along these pathways for best results.

  • What can be done to ensure that the trap is tripped as expected? Tying bait to the trigger is often done to make sure the mouse has to tug at it, thus tripping the trap. If the bait isn't tied the mouse may be able to simply take it without getting caught.

  • What will you use as mouse trap bait? How often can you change out the bait to keep it fresh? What will you do for areas that are hard-to-access?

  • Are there any spaces where a mice might inadvertently get wedged or stuck? There are so many types of traps available and some are better thought out and better made than others. Be wary of using traps where there are gaps in the cage or in the mechanisms that could be dangerous to a panicked mouse trying to escape.

  • How often will you check the traps? Even with live traps, mice can become very stressed in the trap and can easily die from hunger or dehydration. This would defeat the purpose of using a live trap, plus it's not humane, either! Traps should be checked several times a day at least. Lethal traps also need to be checked regularly just in case the trap malfunctions and there is an injured mouse.

  • Are you prepared to quickly kill a mouse that has been injured and is suffering? No one ever wants to be put in a position to have to do this, but it may become necessary if a trap malfunctions.

Regardless of the type(s) of humane mouse traps used, it is important to carefully read the manufacturer's directions all the way through before setting up the trap. Failure to set up the trap correctly can cause mice to experience undue stress and suffering, rather than the humane live capture or quick death that was expected.