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How To Catch A Mouse The Best Mouse Trap

Updated on December 11, 2013

Step by step instructions for setting mousetraps and ridding your home of rodents. Pest control made easy.

Every autumn mice come inside hoping to find a warm place for the winter. Over the years I’ve gotten quite good at catching and disposing of them.

Humane mouse traps

You might decide to try a live mouse trap because you don’t want to kill mice but personally I don’t like them.

First of all you have to take the trap outside to release the mouse, if you just let them go in your yard they’ll come right back inside. They aren’t going to realize you don’t want them in your home and leave. All they care about is survival and being in a warm house where there is plenty of food and water is heaven to them.

Unless you are willing to drive them a few miles away to set them loose in the country you aren’t accomplishing anything.

Some people flush them live down the toilet but this defeats the whole purpose of a humane trap. So why not just get the old fashioned kind.

Do not try to keep them in a cage and tame them.

Wild mice carry diseases and will bite. If you want a pet mouse, go to a pet store where you can buy one that won’t have a disease.

Mice are destructive and carry disease

Before you start thinking they are cute little furry animals that only want to come in out of the cold you need to realize what happens when you try to live with them. They multiply rapidly having several litters a year. They will chew up and poop on all of your possessions.

Yes, they are kind of cute but unless they are contained in a cage they are a nuisance. They’ll crawl in your drawer, chew holes in your clothes, leave mouse droppings and have a litter of babies who will move on to eat your important documents, college degree, favorite cereal and prom dress, pooping all the way. They are nasty disease ridden animals.

The best mouse trap

They keep trying to improve the mouse trap but so far haven’t succeeded. I’ve tried many different kinds mainly because I couldn’t find the good ones. The new mouse trap inventions are lousy. I am pretty sure I’ve tried them all and I only recommend the Victor mouse trap you see in the pictures.

Don’t waste your time or money buying any of the newfangled fancy looking mouse traps because most of them don't work and cost more.

This trap is designed to snap their neck killing them quickly. There usually isn’t any blood just a dead mouse. Sorry, I know this sounds morbid but if you've ever had mice you won't feel the least bit sympathetic for them. They multiply quickly, chew up your valuables and leave their droppings everywhere, not to mention the disease they can carry. They really are nasty little creatures.

I flush them down the toilet (without the trap) but you can put them in the trash if you want. Just make sure you carry it outside right away. You don't want the little corpses smelling in your wastebasket.

You can reuse traps over and over and they last for years. I just scrub them under hot water with a brush to clean them and dry with a paper towel. I don't use any strong smelling cleaner because it might deter the mouse.

You want to make sure you kill them and not merely maim them otherwise they’ll crawl off somewhere and die. If you’ve never smelled a decomposing rodent let me tell you--- it’s foul.

Victor makes the best trap but also the worst one so you want to make sure you get the kind with the metal and wood parts. Don’t waste money on the ones with the fake cheese, they aren’t as good.

I don't know the model number but I’ve given pictures so you know what to look for. They are made in a factory by a machine and sometimes that little metal piece you hook the wire under is not sensitive enough and the mouse is able to steal the bait. All you need to do is take a pair of pliers and squeeze that piece in just a tiny bit. You can always use your pliers to move it out again if you went too far. Test it with a pencil and be careful of your fingers; those things hurt.

The best mouse bait

Mice are very lightweight animals and can grab a piece of cheese and run. Some of them are very smart and know what a trap is and will be careful that’s why I don’t use cheese. I use peanut butter for mouse bait. They have to sit there and lick it off the metal. If the trap has been there for a day or more it will harden but they still can’t grab it and run, they have to chew it off the trap. The more time they spend on the mousetrap the better the likelihood they get caught. Besides, peanut butter is cheaper than cheese.

Be very careful setting your trap

Watch your fingers and only touch the outer edge of the trap when moving. They are very sensitive and need to be to catch a tiny mouse that doesn't weigh very much. Try to have a steady hand. Practice and you'll get the hang of it.

Not all cats catch mice

Some people think if they get a cat it will take care of their mouse problem. Sometimes they will but not always. I’ve had a few cats over the years and none of them caught mice. If you provide your cat with plenty of food and water like you should they have no reason to hunt for prey.

My Boston terrier killed mice when he was younger. He was a playful dog and thought they were a toy. After he got old, he couldn't hear and his eyesight wasn't very good so his mousing days were over. Even when he was younger I still put out traps in the autumn not wanting to count on him catching every one.

If you have pets be careful of where you place your mousetraps.

Dogs are curious and can be injured by a mousetrap. I make sure there is a small space smaller than my dog’s head to position my traps. Doggies like peanut butter too.

Mice are nocturnal

For the most part. They seem to be the most active between one and four in the morning mostly because everyone else is asleep. I have occasionally seen them during the day and early evening.

Finding the point of entry

This is the best way to keep mice out of your home. Homes without a cement foundation have a greater problem because mice can chew through wood. If you have a cement foundation look around pipes and cables for gaps you can fill with steel wool. They don’t seem to be bothered by insulation so that won’t work. Their fur protects them from the itchiness. I’ve seen them make a nest in attic insulation so it won’t deter them. If anything it is an invitation since they see it as great bedding material.

I have a doggy door so my Boston terrier can go in and out whenever he needs to. It’s a nice convenience for him and unfortunately also for mice.

A mouse can collapse their skull and squeeze their body into a space the size of a quarter so if you have any holes that size or bigger you can bet you will probably have mice come in especially if you live in an area that gets cold. Those of us living in rural areas have more trouble but cities have rodent problems too.

Protecting your belongings

If you have an ongoing problem or at least until you know you are rid of all of them you will need to take precautions.

I keep all of my keepsakes in plastic tubs in the attic making it harder for mice to get to. A family of mice got in a cardboard box of homemade Christmas ornaments my kids made when they were little and chewed them to shreds making a nest leaving behind a nasty mess. Nothing is sacred to mice.

Anything made of paper, cardboard, fabric or food is fair game to rodents.

Put all your grocery items in plastic containers. Even then, I’ve seen chewed places so check food stored in the back of cupboards on occasion to make sure a mouse hasn’t found his way in. Their teeth are very sharp and strong. If they can chew through wood they can chew through just about anything except metal. I store extra staples like pasta and cereal in the freezer.

I keep dog food and water out all the time so they don’t have to work too hard to find food. I think they send out bulletins letting all the other mice know what a great place it is at my house. “Just don’t eat the peanut butter behind the couch.”


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    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      The only good mouse is a dead one. We hired a guy to put out poisons and such because we had an attic infestation. I will pay for some guy to fall through the ceiling before I will do it myself!

      No ceilings were hurt during this commentary.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      That is another good point, Writer Fox. Mice carry diseases and you wouldn't want your pet to catch anything.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I think mice have always been a problem for people. I think the traps are much better than cats and, besides, you really don't want your pet cat to be exposed to diseases from the mice.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Teaches, some cats will catch mice but not all. Mice are a nuisance.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      When we lived up north we had a few of these visitors and had to deal with the mouse trap settings. Very good information on how to catch them as well as why we should. And yes, we had a cat that would not catch mice!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Tirelesstraveler, I used to throw them out too but have a hard time finding them so I reuse them when I can.

      Your dad knew, Genna. Those mice can grab a piece of cheese and be gone in seconds. They can't grab peanut butter. I live in a rural town with woods and fields all around me so we have an ongoing problem every autumn.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      This is the same trap I was taught to use by my father. He also used peanut butter..."forget the cheese; peanut butter works the best," he would say. We don't have a mouse problem -- only once in the past several years, thank goodness! Very informative hub, Pam. :-)

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      LoL, I am convinced mice are not nice. We are a Victor exclusive family.I put them on newspaper and toss the whole thing, rather than reuse.


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