Building an Eco-Friendly No-Kill Mousetrap

(where eco-friendly means using garbage from around the house)

A little after Halloween, I found a bag of leftover candy in my apartment that had a hole chewed in it. I figured it was probably a mouse, but since I hadn't seen any other signs, I forgot about it until last week when I heard a stirring from the trashcan behind me as I did dishes. I turned around and saw a mouse sitting on top of the nearly overflowing trashcan. It saw my movement and jumped down and scurried along the wall to the water-heater-closet.

I was freaked out.

In my mind the mouse grew into a large and scaly rat, slobbering on a pile of garbage in my apartment. I put some phonebooks by the door to the closet to try to contain him, knowing full well it wouldn't hold him back but I wanted to make his life more difficult, since he was currently making mine uncomfortable just by existing in my space.

I went away for the weekend and when I came back, I hoped that maybe he had just been passing through on his way to bigger and better things. I had put all of my food away where he probably couldn't get to it, but sadly he still managed to find a reason to stick around. I needed him out because I was really worried that he would come poop on my face while I slept.

Not killing stuff is something I'm into, so I looked into options for traps to capture the interloper alive. Sadly, my local grocery store was all out of the no-kill traps, but had shelves overflowing with poisons, sticky-mats, and the classic snap-trap (now with a weird plastic yellow-swiss platform for bait placement).

I passed on the traps and went to the internet, where I found a couple of interesting options for homemade humane traps.

Mousetrap #1:

The first mousetrap I saw when searching for 'humane mouse trap' was at ''. The concept is simple enough; Make an antlion den out of a 2-liter bottle. Unfortunately, the instructions make it a bit more involved than it needs to be and the concept makes some pretty hefty assumptions. For instance, the entrance to the trap is about 8-10inches off the ground. The instructions say "Mice can jump this high easily. If your mouse doesn't jump into this trap you probably have a lazy mouse" or something like that. I didn't like that logic and figured that my mouse was probably as lazy as me, so after a couple nights with no results I built a staircase of books to make getting into the trap easier. It reminded me of a pyramid or incan temple, with a steep staircase up to the top. Perhaps these great civilizations had rat problems of their own.

Even after greasing the entrance with olive oil and putting peanut butter and crackers in the bottom, the mouse didn't take the plunge. I did catch a couple of roaches though, which did not make me feel good at all.

Mousetrap #2

The second moustrap I tried, was suggested by an internet friend and involved putting peanut butter in the end of a paper-towel-tube, and setting the tube on the edge of a counter with a trashcan underneath it.

The idea is, when the mouse tries to get the peanut butter, he throws the tube off balance and it should fall into the trashan with the mouse inside it. The idea sounds ingenius and simple, however I had never seen my mouse on the counter and this trick made me discover that there were a bunch of little poops behind the faucet of my sink, which gave me the jibblies.

Sadly, as cool and easy to set up as this trap was, it did not catch my mouse.

Mousetrap #3 I really didn't want the mouse anywhere near me, particularly when I'm asleep. I try to sleep with my mouth closed but sometimes it opens and the last thing I want to wakeup to is a mouthful of fur and feces.

I set up walls in my kitchen and hallway to keep the mouse from his ultimate goal of pooping on my face while I slept. I took boxes and furniture and poitioned them at the bottleneck areas of the house, hoping the mouse would be crawling along the walls and bypass my room thinking he was still running along the baseboards.

The trap that caught the mouse was one of these wall-making objects, a trashcan that I kept my recycleable-plastic bags in. I assume the mouse tried to jump over the wall and ended up inside the trashcan. Once inside, the plastic bag layer made it tough to get the sortof push-off one would need to jump out, and so he was trapped. I awoke to his scritch-scratching in the trashcan, and when I saw him in there I quickly covered the top with some cardboard to keep him locked in.


mousies new home

Later that day, I took him to work with me and on dropped him off at "Blob's Park", a polka hall with a big open field that has been purchased by developers. The mouse scampered off into the woods, but hopefully once the new condos are constructed he can move on in and ruin someone else's life.

Mousetrap #4

Another thing I tried was making a song about getting the mouse out of my house, but I am unsure whether that had any positive impact. Possibly it let him know he was unwelcome vermin, and encouraged him to get trapped!

Here's the song. Judge for yourself!

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