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How to Build a Homemade, Humane Mousetrap

Updated on January 22, 2014

I Want to Catch the Mouse, Not Kill It

I was working in the Garage. My daughter was playing with some friends, riding her bike up and down the street. My wife was sitting in a chair in the garage watching the girls play. All of the sudden, my wife screamed. She jumped up and ran out of the garage faster than a pack of wild dogs on a 3-legged cat (ha! I love that one).

I gave her a strange look after witnessing such a display. "I saw a tail!" She said. There was a mouse in our garage. I smiled as she pointed towards the plastic shelves in the corner. After I moved a few boxes around and pulled the shelves away from the wall, a little mouse shot out and ran across the garage. That mouse is tiny. There has got to be a family of those things in the house.

I looked around for the deadly mousetraps, the ones that actually kill the mice. We had some in the previous house before we moved. I think they were lost or thrown out during the move. So I decided to do a little research on how to make a Homemade Mousetrap.

The following is the most efficient Mouse catching device that I've ever seen. I was able to catch 3 mice in two days with this trap. Not only that, it's humane. It did not kill the little creatures.

Mousetrap from Recyclables - Use What You Have Around the House

I found all the parts for this trap around the house, so this little project was free. I suggest that you find an old box of some sort that you do not mind using, If you use cardboard, you will have to check the trap more often. The mouse will chew a hole though it if you are not careful. I used a Rubbermaid container because that is what I had in the house.

I pulled an empty two liter bottle out of the recycle bin and cut the top and the bottom off of it. The top hole should be just large enough for the mouse to get through. The mouse thinks it is going to see something new and exciting. They like challenges. It think this is why they are so attracted to the trap. The hole at the bottom of the bottle should be the width of the bottle. When the bottle drops, we don't want there to be anything the mouse can grab onto.

Tape Bottle to Container - Make Sure the Weight is Uneven

When you attach the bottle to the box, you want to create a kind of hinge. I found that the Rubbermaid container was perfect for this. I placed the tape on the outside, up and over the lip of the Rubbermaid container before I attached it to the soda bottle. I then placed another piece of tape on the inside of the Rubbermaid container and strait up to the soda bottle. If you do this right, both pieces of tape should meet (sticky side to sticky side) on the inner side of the container. When you attach the tape to the Soda Bottle, they should attach where the bottle curves towards where the cap used to be.

When you let go of the bottle, it should swing into the Rubbermaid container (or box) without any help from you. Make sure you over weight it on one side. The idea is to make the bottle balance just enough that the wait of the mouse will send it falling into the container. All You need is a way for the mouse to get to a little treat.

Have You Thought About Mice as Pets? - They are smart creatures and will love you unconditionally

Creating the Counterweight - You will have to balance it perfectly

Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter

Next you will have to create a counterweight. This is something attached to the top of the bottle so it will lay flat on the lip of the box 'til a mouse walks in, teetering it back into the box, dropping the mouse into the trap.

To do this I took more packing tape and stuck pennies to it. Then I placed another strip of tape over the pennies so they were secure from both sides. Then I taped the strip of pennies to the mouth of the bottle. It took 12 pennies to hold my bottle level on the lip of the Rubbermaid container. I tested it by placing pennies where the peanut butter was going to go. It took 3 pennies for my trap to spring. This was fine with be because I knew the peanut butter was going to weigh a little bit and a mouse is going to weigh as much as three pennies.

Be careful when you set this part. If you add to much weight to the counterweight, the mouse will not be heavy enough to spring the trap. The mouse will be able to sit there and eat the peanut butter. It will get a free treat on you. So make sure that very little weight will actually set off your trap.

Add the Peanutbutter - Mice Love Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter

Now that you have your trap built, it is time to set it. You will need something that will draw the mice to your trap. I like to use peanut butter as the bait. The reason is because it usually has a strong smell and attracts mice fairly easy. You can use cheese, but it way not work quite as well. I dabbed a little on the back part of the bottle, making sure that it was not enough to set off the trap.

Next you will have to create some sort of ramp for the mouse to get into the bottle. They cannot climb up the side of the box to get into the bottle. If you look at the image at the top of this page, I used some bags of stone that were sitting in my garage. Cardboard works well. Use anything that they can climb. Make sure to wash anything you use after you disassemble the trap. Mice can carry diseases.

The only other thing you will have to do now is wait. I caught my first mouse within 18 hours. I let it go in the woods down the street from our house, reset the trap and had the second one in the morning when I got up. I reset the trap and the third one was caught by dinner time.

Look, I Caught a Mouse - And He Can't Get Out

When you catch the mice, you could take the whole trap to the woods to let them go. I found that was just an annoyance. I found a small jar and went after the mouse in the Rubbermaid container. They would jump up the side of the container trying to get away from me. I just placed the jar underneath them as they came back down and quickly screwed on the lid. Then I would take a nice evening walk and let them loose in the woods.

If you do this, make sure you either don't leave them in the jar very long, or you poke a couple of air holes in the lid. The mice will suffocate if you don't do this. That would be a horrible way for any living creature to die.

Also, Make sure you go a good distance from your house. If you don't go far enough away, the mouse will find its way back to your house. Then you will just have to catch it again. This is one reason many people decide to kill the mice. A dead mouse does not re-infest. I don't like killing animals if I don't have to.

The Three Mice I Caught in Two Days - I'm Glad I Didn't Have More Than That in the Garage

I hope you learned a little something from this page. Mice may be rodents and unwanted inside our home, but it was a thrill to see this trap work so quickly and efficiently. I love the fact that I did not have to kill these little creatures. They were just looking for a dry place to live that would protect them from their predators. Just because they scared the women-folk of the house was no reason to kill them.

Do You Like Mice?

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The Simple Coke Bottle Trap - This is a real simple way to catch many mice all at one time.

The trick to this trap is that the bottle spins and does not need to be reset. You drill a hole in the bottom a little bigger than the diameter of your dowel. Then you balance it over a bucket or trashcan. You could also drill holes to align your dowel through if you want to get fancy. I have even heard of people making notches for the dowel to rest in.

Depending on how much peanut butter you want to waste will determine how you will apply it to the bottle. The guy in the video placed the peanut butter in a line all the way around the bottle. This way the mouse can see the bait at all times. You can use less peanut butter if you place a small dab in 4 spots, one on each side of the bottle.

Repeating Mousetrap
Repeating Mousetrap

A Repeating Mousetrap

Wonder if I Would Have Caught More Than Three.

I had a gentleman comment on my site describing his repeating mousetrap. It uses a 5 gallon container, a wire hangar, a paper plate and 2 sticks. The sticks lead to the paper plate, When the mouse walks over the plate, it is dropped into the 5 gallon container, the plate flipping to the other side ready to repeat the action from the other side. Want to see what I'm talking about, go to:

Visit the Website to find more detailed instructions.

Balance on a Nickel
Balance on a Nickel

More Humane Mousetrap Ideas

They Are Smart, You Should Be Smarter

Here is another way to catch a mouse. It is a little less involved. Get a toilet paper tube, a jar of peanut butter, a knife and an empty trashcan. Place the trashcan beneath a counter top. Place a little dab of peanut butter on the inside edge of the tube. Balance the tube on the corner of the counter top where with the slightest touch the tube will fall off the counter and into the trashcan. Then leave the setup alone and in the dark. You should catch them with no problem.

Another simple trap is to find a jar or a heavy drinking glass. Place a dab of peanut butter in the bottom, turn the jar over and balance one edge on the side of a nickel. When the mouse climbs under the jar, it will try to climb up the side to get to the bait. That little bit of pressure will knock the glass off the nickel trapping the mouse.

Cute Videos of Mice - Come on. You know They are Cute

I know many of you think mice are disgusting creatures that might carry diseases. The truth of the matter is that they might, especially if they are hiding in the walls of your house. But the ones you get from the store are clean and may make interesting pets.

I don't know if the mice you capture will make good pets. They will continuously try to get away. I have even known some rodents to chew through plastic containers to get out. You might be able to keep it in a metal wire cage if you want to try to keep it.

Mousetrap Cars - Did you know you can make a race car out of a snap mousetrap

Now that we have a humane trap that will not kill the mice, lets find another use for those pesky snap traps. Mousetrap race cars are a popular experiment many schools create as a problem solving project. The challenge is to find things throughout your home to build a car that can operate under it's own energy.

I have seen people make wheels out of old CD-Rs or even record players. I have seen them use tinker toys. The possibilities are endless. Then you have to figure out a way to get the bar of the trap to turn the axle to make the car move.

Humane Mousetrap Auctions - If you Don't Want to Build One, You Can Always Buy One.

The variety of traps out there are interesting to look at. You can find many of them on eBay. Some of them are new and some of them are used. As for which one is the best, that is where the reviews come in handy. I like any that don't do any harm to the mouse.

How Did You Catch That Mouse? - I am sure you have some of your own stories

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    • profile image

      scott-aspden-za 3 years ago

      Worked very well for me.. twice in a row on the same night with the same mouse, cos it got away when I tried to transfer it to a jar lol..

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The best mousetrap I have ever used was a cat. Not only did she catch them but mice stayed away while we had a cat around outside.

    • profile image

      TommysPal 4 years ago

      This is wonderful! I love mice. Call me crazy but I usually just pick them up with my hands and take them outside. I have never been bitten. I have three indoor cats now, so no more mice for me. Thanks for sharing this brilliant idea.

    • profile image

      stephen-jarvis-923 4 years ago

      The human mousetrap works brilliantly! If you are wondering what to use for a ramp, with little steps leading up to the bottle - an excellent solution to this problem was using a multi-level spice rack.

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      I bought a simple human trap from amazon and I sent it packing. I can't stand the idea of rodents in the house, but I don't want to kill them.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I've actually caught a mouse with a humane trap using a propped baking dish and a candy bar. We have half a dozen cats, so mice are no longer a problem. The ones we occasionally see now are missing their heads.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      I usually guide them out a door, oddly it works for us...and of course sooner or later they must come back, my cat has chased most of them off now. I will show this trap idea to hubby...thanks for sharing and Kudos for not killing the little critters.

      ~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I lived in a 300 year old house, that had been moved from one spot to another by the sea Captain who owned it. (this was the east coast, obviously) So there were lots of holes to the outside, not to mention the distinct slant when half the house settled down further than the other. It wasn't the country, but not quite the suburbs, so every winter we got mice. We had one behind our tv one winter, I used to toss out a cheese doodle and he'd come out to grab it every night. My cats were not interested in chasing him. lol

    • profile image

      brynimagire 5 years ago

      Nice info. Excellent lens ! Thanks for sharing.

    • WoodlandBard profile image

      WoodlandBard 5 years ago

      peanut butter, but I like your amazing idea at the start, will try it

    • WoodlandBard profile image

      WoodlandBard 5 years ago

      peanut butter, but I like your amazing idea at the start, will try it

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Interesting lens! thumbs up

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      I want to invent a painless death ray for mice. Your method is very good too!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      This is a great idea for making a humane mouse trap. Very clever, and a well done lens!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      This is a great idea for making a humane mouse trap. Very clever, and a well done lens!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Oh and googled +1'd this - you are so good at instructional lenses. Thank you.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Dearest Robert, This is so brilliant . . I am showcasing it on my 'Living Articles on Squidoo' lens within a new category. So glad to see a purple star on this one too. Take good care, Rose

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Love this idea. The little creatures have to make themselves a new home, but hey, better than the alternative. :)

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      What wonderful idea!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very nice and thoughtful lens. It is more about being humane towards another life. Thanks for the ideas. Have a happy day! :)

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Oh yes - but how far must we take them away to prevent return? I've taken lots down the road, in my time but I'm never sure.

    • puerdycat lm profile image

      puerdycat lm 6 years ago

      I so enjoyed your baby mice-ies and your method, that I hooked up another baby mouse video with a link back to you, on my G-is-for-Garden.

    • puerdycat lm profile image

      puerdycat lm 6 years ago

      love your caring for little Stuart. And your catch and release!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm a peace with mice as long they aren't in the house. Its sweet that you found such a humane way to catch and release these little guys.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      This is pawsome!!!! We like being friendly to the little four leggers....and keeping my kittie bros from torturing them to death :) Woofs! Johann

    • LaurieKristensen profile image

      LaurieKristensen 6 years ago

      I love this... I once spent money on a supposedly humane, no-kil trap and had no luck getting them anywhere near it! I wish I'd been able to read this... I like the less complicated one towards the end, too, with the cardboard tube and a trash container. I'll remember this!

    • rgasperson lm profile image
      Author

      Robert T Gasperson 6 years ago from South Carolina

      @OhMe: Thank You

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I think I would rather see a snake than a mouse. I can't stand them. Great idea for a Humane Trap and congrats on your purple star

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      well done on the purple star - well deserved

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congrats on your Purple Star!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Congratulations on your pretty purple star. It looks absolutely dashing on your lens :)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Your articles are fantastic. Best wishes to you in 2011.

    • rgasperson lm profile image
      Author

      Robert T Gasperson 6 years ago from South Carolina

      @PNWtravels: Thank You So Much

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      That is the coolest home made humane mouse trap I've ever seen. My terrier could learn a lot from you- she's brutish when it comes to mice. thanks for the great lens.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Now that I have a little stardust in my pocket, I've returned to give this great humane way to trap mice a SquidAngel blessing.

    • GreatGazoo profile image

      GreatGazoo 6 years ago

      Excellent ideas for traps!`

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Ten years ago I drown a mouse that was caught on a sticky trap, it had eaten the insulation from my oven.

      To this day I think of that mouse and wish I hadn't done it

    • rgasperson lm profile image
      Author

      Robert T Gasperson 6 years ago from South Carolina

      @livingfrontiers: It was actually kind of fun, running out there every now and then to see if one had been trapped. Thanks for the nice comment.

    • profile image

      livingfrontiers 6 years ago

      Great lens! Nice to see you are using a humane option, and did have some success with your mouse hunt.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Unfortunately we have resorted to lethal traps in the past, although I would rather not kill the mice. Will try your "better mousetrap" next time a mouse finds it's way in. Thanks for the great idea.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I hear that bath beauty products will attract mice. Something about collagen. What have you heard?

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 6 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      I always use humane mousetraps - mice are only doing what comes naturally so why kill them :) I love your inventiveness! Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • profile image

      Marijoyce 6 years ago

      First, thanks for your nice comments on my LOTD about becoming a writer. And don't let any rejection slips get you down. You're obviously really creative. I loved this lens. Like your wife, I'm terrified of mice but have no idea why. They're actually very cute. One day last winter I had stacks of books under my desk, was sitting there typing and noticed a small dark mouse sitting near me, peering up at me in what looked for all the world like a kindly and confused manner. I screamed. The mouse looked startled like, "What the heck is wrong with you anyway?" I screamed again, the mouse backed away an inch, looking more startled. I finally managed to convince it to go out the back door. No matter how scared I was no way did I want the poor little thing dead, so I love this lens about how to make a humane trap.