Friday, October 23, 2015

How do you capture live mice?

I have a mouse problem.  Possibly other approximately mouse sized animals.  The cat did bring in a chipmunk once, though I was able to get it out with the cat's (initially quite willing, later confused, finally semi-coerced) help.  Once we found a dead mole that was about mouse sized.  (Well ... closer to chipmunk sized)  For it to have been killed in the house it first had to be in the house.

But mostly mice, and certainly there are no signs of things significantly bigger than mice (the only rats that have ever been sighted in the house were pets, now all sadly departed.)

I have no desire to kill the mice.  I want them out of the house.  If the elements (or predators) kill the mice after I evict them then I'm not particularly happy with that outcome but they are wild animals and that's a risk that comes with being born free in a species without a civilization.

So I want to catch live mice.

All have a heart traps I know are for animals rather larger than mice.  As if mice aren't worthy of the same respect we give to lager animals.

I care about living things, except non-mammals that feed on mammal blood in a non-opportunistic way.  Which is to say that I have no great quarrel with vampire bats (though we totally need to find a way to give them mass inoculations so they won't be a disease vector) and neither do I mind things like butterflies that will drink blood if it's just sitting there, but don't actually make an effort to extract blood from a living host.

I don't want to hurt spiders and they're worlds more different from me than mice.

But letting the mice stay in the house is not good plan.  It's actually a very bad plan.  (Nevermind that it's the option we've been defaulting to since we moved here when I was less than one.)  The problem is worse now that I'm the only human in the house.  The cat is a part time employee at best and much prefers to hunt them in the less cluttered wilds.  The gecko stays in its cage.  I'm the only thing that's around often that the mice are afraid of, though they aren't that afraid of me, and I can only be in one place at a time.  (The Kwisatz Haderach I am not.)

This means that they grow ever bolder because big scary human thing is only ever in one part of one room.

So the mouse problem needs to be dealt with.

But the question remains: how the fuck do I catch live mice?  There's all sorts of technology for killing them, what is there for catching them.


And as an aside, if I do catch them, is there anything that i can do to them which will make them deadly to fleas?

Because the flea problem only became the impossible to defeat flea problem after my sister brought over her dog and it had some kind of invasive super-fleas on it that spread to everything in the area.  (The squirrels never stopped and scratched themselves as if they were quite perturbed by being eaten by fleas before she brought her dog here.)

One assumes that, say, Frontlining some of the area mice might help things.  Of course Frontline doesn't come in mouse sizes and it would be a really bad idea to try to hold them still while you applied it.

Something that could be fed to them might work, but you'd still worry about overdose.


But the main point is that I want to catch mice in my house without injuring them.  How the fuck does one do that?


In case anyone was wondering, my house is not warm enough to simply buy snakes and let them loose.  If the fact that I wouldn't mind them being eaten by a predator I set loose while I don't want to hurt them in general seems like a contradiction ... snakes gotta eat.

Admittedly bringing a (non-cat*) predator in for the express purpose of killing mice isn't the same as putting them outside to deal with the predators there, or not, as they may.  But I think it's more a difference of degree than anything else.

* In my family house cats are an end in themselves.  That's why current one hasn't been fired due to her abysmal mouse record.


  1. I know that live-catch mousetraps are a thing - there are some at my house. (They're broken, but I don't think we have mouse problems at the moment, so I haven't bothered replacing.) I don't know how much they cost.

  2. "Humane mouse trap" seems to work on Amazon. One of the types I've used is thus:

    Mice can home quite effectively; I'm told one should take them at least a mile away before releasing them.

  3. We have had luck with glue traps. But yeah, they will come back...

  4. One time, we accidentally live-caught a mouse in a thermos that had its lid off. Not sure that'll work for you.

  5. Also - We have tip traps like Firedrake shows. They work pretty well, but they only seem to work once. They might acquire a smell of trapped mouse that keeps subsequent mice away...

    1. I washed mine out thoroughly after each catch, which may have helped.

      Also worth bearing in mind that mice can't survive without water for long - so don't leave these traps set if you're out of the house.

  6. I'm pretty sure when we had mice problems in one apartment when I was a kid, my dad borrowed live traps from a biology teacher at the college he worked at. You might check with the biology department at the school you go to?

  7. I wouldn't treat mice with any flea solution. Mice breed and die so quickly it'd be a drop in the bucket; as well, when treating for fleas you need to kill the flea eggs as well as the adult fleas feeding on the animals or you'll just get new fleas, possibly more resistant ones to boot. If you really want to get rid of the local fleas for the poor squirrels, you could probably do it temporarily with pesticides. But then they'd probably just pick some up from someone else's yard, and you'd kill good bugs.

    Don't use glue based 'humane' traps, if you see them. They're a little too strong for baby/young mice.

    If I spot them, I tend to have good success catching them by hand, often with aid of a cat (Good for locating the mouse if it runs out of sight, or herding it, even if the cat sucks at catching)- you want to make a little hidey-hole to herd the mouse toward that you can easily scoop the mouse up from, or chase them into a corner and block off all exits. Note that mice can jump pretty high - you need barriers over a foot. They can also climb really well, so the more vertical the better. A closet with a slide door works well, but a bag could work if it's long and dark enough.

    Also, this might be a weird solution, but you might try putting out a mouse-wheel. I don't know if wild mice outside cages would find them appealing or notice them, but wild mice in cages like them a lot. When you hear the rattling of the wheel you've located yourself a mouse. :3