Live traps for mice

Live trapping & releasing is the kindest method of mouse removal, but only if you do it properly

By Diane ForrestDiane Forrest

Live traps

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Live-release traps are effective and come in many different shapes and sizes. Some, like the Havahart ($14.99), are single-mouse traps. But the Ketch-All Repeating Mouse Trap ($24 – $28) promises to capture up to 15 and the Victor Tin Cat ($l8 – $22) claims to pack in 30. Mice are attracted into the metal cages or boxes by bait or the appeal of a new hiding spot. A dropping door or tilting floor traps the mouse; in wind-up models, the mouse is propelled into a compartment, clearing the way for the next visitor. Victor also produces smaller plastic versions of the Tin Cat. A twin pack of one-mouse traps costs $4 – $7 and the Mini-Cat, which holds four rodents, retails for $6 – $8.

Theoretically, live trapping and releasing is the kindest method – but only if you do it properly. You’ll have to check the trap at least once a day, especially the claustrophobic single-mouse version, so it’s not a humane option if you’re away for the week or the winter. Left for more than 24 hours, trapped mice will either turn on each other or die a lingering death from starvation, dehydration, or hypothermia. Some experts also question how humane it is to release your cottage guest into unfamiliar territory. “The mouse is usually in a hostile environment and the other mice are going to resist its presence,” says Harry Rowsell, founder of the Canadian Council on Animal Care. “You really have to research the right way to return the mouse to the wild and, realistically, nobody’s going to do that for mice.”

On the other hand, mice have a homing instinct and will return to the scene of their crimes after being dropped in the wild. So if you do release them, choose a wooded area where the refugees can find shelter and food. And make sure you take them a good long way from the cottage. “I take them 5 km at least,” says Ron Brooks.

This article was originally published on May 23, 2005

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