About humane mouse traps
A quick breakdown of the different humane mouse traps
Humane mouse traps are not only great humane tools for capturing rodents but also just great tools for capturing rodents, period. In many ways, humane traps are much more effective than snap and glue traps. When they are made with a good design and out of high-quality materials, they can easily capture and retain both the smallest mice and the biggest rats. A lot of such catch and release mouse traps also have great auto-reset multi-catch capabilities, allowing for multiple captures without human intervention. With a ton of DIY mouse traps options out there, the number of possible designs is almost incalculable. Still, here are the 4 most prominent and effective trap designs you can find online:
- Standard cage trap. A spring door stays open at one end of the trap, while a lure is placed on the other inside end of it. After a rodent gets in the cage and touches the lure, the spring activates, closes the door and captures the animal inside. As they are typically made out of sturdy metal, these traps usually can’t be chewed through and can last you for years. One negative of this design is that these traps can only catch one rodent at a time.
Additionally, if you leave captured rodents stay inside for too long, other rodents might learn to avoid cages after seeing their brethren be captured inside of them.
- Plastic “motel” traps. Similar to cage traps, but made out of high-quality durable plastics such as ABS. These traps work on the exact same principle, but have more solid constructions and leave just some air holes for the mouse or rat to breathe through. Their study material is usually thick enough for rodents to not be able to chew through, although some of the inside components can sometimes be harmed
- Plank bucket traps. These traps work on a very simple principle – you attach the plank onto a bucket and place bait at the end of it. As the mouse or rat tries to walk on the plank to reach the bait, the plank quickly drops and the rodent falls in the bucket. After that, whether through a spring or a magnet, the plank rises back up, ready to attract more victims with the bait that’s left on it. As long as the bucket below the plank is deep and steep enough, even the biggest rat should be able to escape. Putting a layer of sound on the bottom can also help as it will make it harder for the rodents to jump straight up. In the morning you will likely just find a bucket of mice, ready to be disposed of. One drawback of these traps (in addition to being dependent on your bucket) is that larger mice or rats can hold onto their back legs and still catch the bait without falling. If your rodents are that big, either get a bigger plank and a bigger bucket or choose another design
- Rolling traps or roller taps also require a bucket to function. They are essentially one simply cylindrical piece that needs to be placed on the inside of the bucket, between its 2 opposing edges (as sturdily as possible). After that, you should place a bait in the middle of the rolling piece, as well as two planks on the sides of the bucket for the mice to climb on. Once the mice climb to the edges of the bucket and try to walk on the rolling piece to the bait, the roller will turn and the rodents will fall in the bucket. As with plank traps, roller traps can also catch multiple rodents one after another with you needing to do anything. And just as with plank traps, if the bucket is small, the victims can escape. And once again – if the roller is short and the bucket is small enough, larger rodents can hold on with their back legs and get the bait without falling, so – get a bigger rolling trap and a bigger bucket if you have this problem
As you can see, all of these 4 types can work very effectively if they are big and good enough. Comparing them to glue traps, from which mice can often tear themselves apart, and snap traps which mice can sometimes survive by being fast enough, these humane mouse traps can actually have a higher success rate. Add to that the fact that they are actually humane and don’t kill or torture their victims, and they become pretty good options for most situations.
Humane mouse trap buying guide
- How big do you need the trap to be? A trap that’s too small may not catch bigger rats or capture them in an inhumanely tight space. Alternatively, too big traps can be needlessly clumsy and bothersome to use, especially if you’re using a lot of them
- What type and design do you prefer? Generally, cage traps, motel plastic traps, plank traps, and roller traps can all have very high capture rates if they are of a high enough quality. Still, they are different and have their unique features, particularly in how simple they are to set up and how easily they allow you to dispose of the rodents afterward. Choosing the right trap for your preferences can save you a lot of hassle later on
- How many traps do you need? If you’re going to buy mouse traps, it’s best to buy them all at once. To that end, you might want to figure out how many traps you’re going to need beforehand
- Is the price a concern? Big cage mouse traps are understandably much more expensive than a simple plank or roller traps. It’s a simple case of having a more complex design and involving more materials. So, if you have budgetary concerns and/or you want to purchase a lot of traps at once, maybe a cheaper option is the way to go. Of course, if you actually want to be successful, you shouldn’t compromise with the quality
- High-quality construction and high-quality materials are a must for a mouse trap. Buying anything that can be chewed through or can break after several uses is usually a waste of both time and money. What’s more, letting rodents escape from sub-par traps can teach them to avoid traps with similar designs in the future, essentially giving them “street smarts” to use against you
- You might also want to consider the brands of the traps you are wondering between. Of course, brand alone isn’t enough of a marker for quality, but it can still give you some idea of whether you should lean-to. Some of the brands we would recommend to newcomers include: Catcha, Rolling Log, AB Traps, Planky Pro, The Mouse Hotel, Authenzo, Harris, Kensizer, The Original, Rhino Tuff Products, and others
Other useful information about humane mouse traps
Anyone can build a nice metal cage in a workshop, really. The only tricky part in cage traps is the spring door – having a good spring and winding it adequately will be the key to any DIY humane mouse cage trap.
Making a DIY plastic mouse motel trap will be much harder as fashioning the construction of the trap can be troublesome for most people. Still, as long as you have a way to make a similarly shaped construction of a sturdy material, you can make something similar that isn’t exactly a cage.
Where to place mouse traps?
Placing a mouse trap in the middle of the barn is less likely to catch anything, than placing a trap that’s in the middle of a beam or in a corner that the rodents pass by frequently. Furthermore, if you can also find out where exactly the mice are coming from – the exact hole, nook or crevice, this can help you immensely as placing a trap right next to it can drastically increase your capture rate.
Rolling traps are probably the easiest type of mouse trap you can make yourself. All you need is a nice cylindrical piece that you can set up sturdily on top of a bucket and that’s it. You will need to make sure that the piece fits adequately on the bucket, however – if the cylinder falls in the bucket, the rodents can use it to climb out.
Planks can be trickier to create as they require springs and/or magnets to set up, but it’s still a simple enough mechanism.
You can also be creative and come up with your own solutions. For example, against small mice, you can simply get a big plastic bottle, cut off the top, and fill it with sand. Then, on top of the sand you can put bait, and put the neck of the bottle back on it, only reversed, going inside the bottle. Then reinforce it with a little duct tape and voila! – you’ll have made your own mousetrap. It will have a sort of siphon that the mouse will go down through. Once the mouse passes through the small opening of the bottle, however, getting back up is almost impossible for it.
There are countless other DIY options you can find online, some simpler and potentially less effective, others – more complicated to make but often as potent as commercial models. However, keep in mind that when dealing with a full-blown rodent invasion you might want to bet on the speed and high catch rate of commercial traps. Letting a rat pack grown underneath your nose while you are playing with DIY inventions might not always be the best idea.
Usage of humane mouse traps
- Find out how big are the mice or rats exactly. Using a mousetrap that’s too small for your big rats can drastically reduce your success rate, especially with plank or roller bucket traps. You can determine the size of the rodents by setting up a couple of night vision cameras, pointed at baits. Alternatively, you can use a simple DIY mousetrap to try and catch one or two, and from there find out whether you need to buy a commercial trap and what exactly it needs to be.
- Find out where are the mice’s most frequented paths and routes. Mouse tend to walk by the rooms’ edges and corners, underneath furniture and appliances, or on top of high pipes and beams. Simply put – they don’t like to be out in the open unless they have to or unless they feel particularly confident.
- Use a bait that is guaranteed to catch their attention. Mice are not typically picky eaters but they do have their preferences. Smelly cheese is the most famous cliché, but it can sometimes not work as well as it can put the mice off.Keep in mind, however, that even the most delicious bait can’t attract mice from too far away, so the precise location of the trap remains crucial.
Peanut butter is instead the go-to of many people, as it tends to attract both mice and rats with great success.
- Give the traps a while. Mice and rats are not only very intelligent animals but quite fearful ones too. Whenever you place a new thing in their environment, they are bound to avoid it for a while. Especially things such as cage traps and plastic “motel” traps can be avoided by mice for a couple of days even if you’ve placed them correctly. Plank and roller traps can get to work quicker, especially if you’re using them on a bucket that was already there – this way the mice will almost not notice the traps themselves as something new and threatening.
- Check the traps regularly. Leaving mice and rats to stay trapped inside traps for too long is not only not too “humane” but it can also give them time to try and escape. If your trap of choice is good enough it shouldn’t allow rodents to escape easily, but there might still be opportunities for causing damage to the interior of the trap.
- Clean the traps frequently. After capturing several rodents, traps can start smelling too much and getting dirtier and dirtier. This is not only unsanitary and unpleasant for you but it can also put off future rodents from getting inside the trap.
- Using night-vision cameras not only before setting up the traps but while you’re using them as well is often a good idea. It allows you to keep an eye on how the traps are working if some rodents are finding ways to cheat or avoid them and figure out whether you can change something in the whole set up.
- Once you’ve captured a mouse or two, comes the complicated matter of disposing of it. The obvious solution is to get in your car together all the full traps and drive the mice away from your home in a wild environment where you can release them safely. Alternatively, you can contact local vet shops or zoos, as they can sometimes be interested in rodents for various purposes. Lastly, if you don’t want to bother traveling a bit, you can just kill the mice. This can somehow defeat the purpose of using a humane mouse trap but not completely, as the humane trap will still have given you the opportunity to deliver a quick, clean and painless death to the animal. This, as opposed to the horrific glue traps that can torture rodents for days, bleed them to death and literally dismember them, is a significant difference. Before attempting to kill a captured mouse or rat, however, consider how you’d go about it and whether you’re up to the task. The UK Animal Welfare Act recognizes one and only one acceptable way of killing a captured rodent – with one purposeful and powerful blow to the head. Things such as drowning, burning, starving, dehydrating, as well as glue traps themselves, are marked as “inhumane”, frowned upon, and in some more severe cases even punishable by law. So, if you’re not ready to instantly kill a rodent with a heavy blow, releasing it into the wild is likely your best bet.
Even if you intend to simply kill the captured rodents, a human live catch trap is still a better solution than a snap trap or a glue trap. For one it’s doesn’t torture the animal for days before killing it. And secondly, it allows you to deliver a quick and clean kill, instead of having to deal with the horrors and bloody body parts that are often left in a glue trap. And, if you’re wondering how one can kill a mouse humanely, the UK Animal Welfare Act states that the way to do it is with one swift and powerful blow to the head. Still, as this can be challenging, a lot of people opt for drowning, which isn’t the best way to do it..
Regardless of what you choose to do, the great thing about humane mouse traps is that they give you this choice. What’s more, they also come in a lot of different shapes, sizes and designs, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and your rodents’ sizes and habits.
So, to wrap things up, here are our Top 3 choices for the best humane mouse traps in the market right now:
- The Kensizer Live Mouse Trap is a great traditional cage trap for mice and rats of all sizes. Its aluminum structure is both sturdy and lightweight, and its wire mesh can’t be chewed through by even the most stubborn rat. The trigger mechanism is very sensitive and it triggers the gate instantaneously. The trap is also big enough – especially its bigger variant – which ensures that even the fastest mouse won’t be able to escape, as well as that any captured animal will have enough space to walk in until you find it.
- The Authenzo Humane Mouse Trap is made out of high-quality ABS material that’s thick enough so that no rat can chew through it. There are air holes, as well as enough space for the animals to move around. One noticeable drawback is that the piece of plastic that keeps the spring door open can be chewed off. This won’t release the door and free the rodent, but it will mean that you won’t be able to set the trap again until you fix it.
- If you’re looking for a great plank and bucket trap, our recommendation is the Planky Pro Mousetrap. It is made out of very sturdy and water-proof materials. It auto-resets and is a great way for catching multiple rodents one after another. Of course, like a bucket trap, it requires you to have a big enough bucket to place it on and its success rate is dependent on the said bucket.