How To: 5 Clever Ways to Make a Simple No-Kill Trap for Mice & Rats

5 Clever Ways to Make a Simple No-Kill Trap for Mice & Rats

Once when I was a kid, my dad used a glue trap to catch a mouse in our basement. The result was so awful for the mouse that my mom and I made him promise to never use that kind of trap again. Call me a softy, but I'm a firm believer that you don't have to kill pests to get rid of them.

There's no shortage of traps, repellents, and poisons available, but if you don't want to kill or hurt the mouse, your options are pretty limited. Sometimes, you just have to get creative, but hopefully with better luck than this guy.

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Though I do admire his tenacity.

1. Bucket & Spoons

One particularly clever solution requires only a large bucket, a spoon, and some peanut butter. Put a dab of peanut butter on the handle of the spoon and balance it on a countertop with the bucket underneath. When the mouse runs out to get the peanut butter, it will fall into the bucket along with the spoon.

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Check out the comments on the original reddit thread for more tips.

2. Bucket & Cardboard Tube

If you don't like the idea of a mouse touching your silverware, you can make a similar trap using any number of materials, like this toilet paper roll version by Instructables user kre84fun.

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3. Bucket & Soda Bottle

Don't want to keep resetting the trap? Try skewering a plastic bottle and positioning it over a bucket so it spins when the mouse runs out to get the peanut butter like in the video below (skip to 1:25 to see it in action).

4. Bucket & Paper Plate

Similarly, you can also use a paper plate to make a repeating mouse trap.

5. Glass & Coin

Even simpler, Instructables user Tim Anderson just puts some peanut butter on the inside of a glass and props it up on a nickel. When the mouse tries to get the peanut butter, the glass should fall and trap it inside.

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Now What?

The hardest part of catching a mouse is figuring out what to do with it.

Once a mouse marks its territory, it can find its way back from a pretty impressive distance. If you plan to release it anywhere near your home, make sure you find and block the entrance it originally came through, or else your guest will be back in no time.

If it's determined enough to get back in via another means, you might as well learn to live with it, maybe teach it some basketball.

Got Any Other Ideas?

Know of any other simple no-kill traps you can make at home? Let us know in the comments below.

Mouse in container via hradcanska, Wile E. Coyote screen capture via Ryan Wells

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Thanks for the tips! I really wanted to get rid of these pests but I dislike killing animals. Gonna put this to good use.

-Stock Loc

Thank you for this - after reading comments on how people have had mice accidentally die some pretty nasty deaths on no kill traps I couldn;t bring myself to buy one so opted for researching making one myself. This is fab thank you. :) x

There are much better designed DIY solutions out there. A quick browse on a YouTube will introduce you to safer, more effective methods.

Always research precautions before using any trap, and avoid silly mishaps.

Thank you for this!! I just moved way out in the country and have mice coming out of my ears!!! I thought about adopting them but if it were me, I'd rather be free!

I caught 8 in my house and 6 in my car. I have 3 different types of live traps. The reason? The mice have figured out how to get a yummy snack, a place to puzzle for intellectual amusement then going on about their mousey day.

They are brilliant! I cannot use some of those traps without 2 hands and some thinking! I think adoption is imminent.

Get cats.

Keep them hungry (don't starve, just don't overfeed).

They will do the killing for you. There's no place for wild rodents near people. Read some stuff about the black plague.

The problem with keeping "hungry" cats - especially out in the country - is that they will kill native wildlife as well. Cats are an introduced species.

We had mouse problems in our house, and it came down to finding all of the entry points and sealing them up once we (humanely) caught the mice. The best way to work out where they are entering is to watch where they run when they see you enter a room =) As for your car, well, it shouldn't be as tricky as a house to find the gaps for them to enter.

Fun fact: rats and mice weren't the only ones to be host to the plague. Cats and dogs also did. It was carried on FLEAS not rodents. The rat that spread it the most is the breed rattus rattus (the black rat) which, mind you is nearly extinct. Besides now one of the shots they give you as a small child prevents things like the Black Plague. making your cat catch and kill rats and mice can make them incredibly sick. Catching mice causes more risk to you pet than doing these incredibly simple things. Tell me, would you rather spend no money on things you have everywhere or hundreds of dollars in vet billls. I own rats and they can be even smarter than most dogs. They are wonderful pets. They can pick up on human emotion almost better than other animals.

Cats and dogs do not host rat fleas... Rat fleas caused the plague because they carried yersina pestis in their Slavic glands.

I wondered abt your name. My maiden is Kipp. Are you by chance a relative??

Anyone who lives in south Texas will say to buy cats. If you have a farm or live out in the country I recommend getting cats they honestly take care of themselves with one daily feeding they will catch rodents , snakes, and other large insects. If your worried about the health risk to cats dont be. My sister has had plenty of cats who were bit by snakes and some how after a few days of being left alone they bounce back just fine.

That's horrible! Not only are you inhumanely killing the mice but you are also giving the poor cat you wish to 'enslave' to do all you dirty work! The cats need love and food what's wrong with you!

No one is enslaving cats lol they are free to roam my sister's property and they have a great life they are feed and you have a rodent free property its a win win

Thanks for the great idea. I have a glass with a coin and peanut butter set up right now. I got 2baby rats as pets that are still quite afraid and was cleaning their cage and put them in a huge box. Didn't realize such a tiny baby could jump so high. Needless to say I have a baby rat loose in my suite. Hope the glass trap works. Will let you all know.

Did the peanut butter, coin and cup work?? I've got a little mouse just trying to get in from the biting cold outside but he got himself jammed stuck yesterday. I loosened him so he went back into his hidey hole but I really need to get him out ASAP. I'm pretty sure he's starving to death in the hole since he can't get into our main floor. I want to get him the hell out of the house though!

yep. coin and glass is a great simple solution.

I just set it up the PB, coin and glass trick and in maybe 10 minutes I had the little sucker. Now what to do with him.

Did u figure out what to do after???

You posted this 6 months ago. Seeing as you did not post any sfollow-up

story, I take it you now have a huge rat running around in your suite

This would suffocate a mouse if you weren't there to release it right away. Plus the glass could fall on its tail or foot. I hope you found a better solution.

This setup (glass and coin) looks like an injury waiting to happen. I hope people think better than to try a method like this.

And this trap (as with all), requires close monitoring—the glass offers very little ventilation.

But please don't allow heavy objects to potentially fall onto the bodies of tiny animals (unsecured spoon "plank"— STUPID!)!!!! There are many designs out there which are far more streamlined and effective than the specific methods shared here. Take a moment to browse YouTube, and you'll be set.

Beware of the dangers of all traps. Keep a close watch. Make sure falls and closures are GENTLE. Decrease tension or add cushioning for easy tweaks to trap designs. Consider putting food and water inside the trap, in case you forget to check the trap and free the captive right away. (It seems so simple that it wouldn't be worth reminding people, but in fact, it tends to get overlooked in many designs —ensure there is adequate airflow in any closed trap to prevent suffocation.) Remember that you could catch more than one mouse at a time, depending on style of trap, and be aware of the fact that such a condition will prove devastating to the trapped animals unless they are released as quickly as possible. And finally, understand that relocating a mouse to a strange place during wintertime can be a death sentence, as the animal will have no established territory/shelter, or food store—Please consider how you can overcome that issue if you must address a rodent problem during the cold weather months. And, it's worth mentioning, that the relocating of wildlife beyond the property on which the animal was found, is against regulations in at least some states, and serves some practical purposes such as limiting the spread of disease among animal populations. There is a lot to keep in mind when trying to humanely remove unwanted animals from your home.

Option One worked for me to get a mouse that found itself in my Van. Used a small trash can and a plank. One mouse, One Spoon.

After reading around similar ideas, I put a few inches of water in the bottom so the mouse couldn't jump out. Seems the common mouse can leap tall buckets in a single bound. The critter drowned and then froze solid, but I doubt I've endangered the species.

Death by drowning is an awful way to die, and so cruel! Even a mouse trap would have a better chance of killing the mouse on impact. You totally missed the point if this article, I'm afraid.

Old medications are odor-free for the most part. Dump a handful of random pills into the water and you'll overload their system. Just remember! Don't use vitamins. Once you have caught the mouse/mice, empty the bucket into the toilet and flush. This method uses two problems to solve each other. How to get rid of unused, or expired, medications and mice at the same time. Flush!

Another injustice solution is alkaseltzer (?sp) with an ultra fine coating of peanut butter on it. If you balance your platform just right, with a little resistance to tipping, the mouse can take a couple of good nibbles. Once they hit the water and take some big gulps, their bellies will expand to the point of fatality. This solution is the cheapest of all.

For several mice, I use antifreeze. You just have to remember to empty the bucket or they will use the bodies of the dead mice to jump out.

Idiot oml

I'll kill any harmful animal , rats are the worst they carry rabies put you in the hospital or the grave yard .

Then why did you navigate to a page about humane traps? Seems like a waste of your time for you to be here and make a comment if you don't care about the animal's life...

rabies? really ? steve you need to educate yourself before you make comments like that. you really don't know what your talking about.

As someone who owns rats they are very unlikely to carry rabies. They die within weeks of contracting it. And besides you should have your rabies vaccine. Rats are wonderful companions if you know what to do.

We have a mouse running around our house and my husband is having a fit. I have been in medicine for over 25 years and have never seen the black plague or any other mouse, rat disease so I am going for the no kill solution. After all we are the ones that encroached on their space. Thanks for the ideas!!

I have a terrier who LOVES hunting mice. These ideas will help me catch a bunch of mice for him to exercise his "hunting prowess". Thanks!

The lady that wrote the article must have died from black plague.

Thank you for the ideas!

Genius! Wish I didn't have to wait until tonight to try it!

DONT USE The glass method as it would suffocate a mouse. I accidentally did that to an insect I trapped and decided to come back a little later to release. He wasn't getting air under there and died.

I have had some luck leaving a bag with some food in it on the floor and later come by and lift it up, see if its rattling on its own. Use either a garbage bag or a large ziplock but leave the top open. They try to nest in there when they find the food. lol

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