How do you trap a mouse? With cunning! When you think about it, traps have deceit built right into them. The little mouse goes after the food, but when it does…Gotcha! The mouse is trapped. However, you have to set the trap just right. Otherwise, the best mouse trap in the world would be useless.

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How to set a mouse trapVictor mouse trap

Mice are somewhat predictable. The key to trapping them is exploiting their behavior. When a mouse moves in with you, it does so to find food and shelter.

Seldom you will encounter only one mouse to contend with. Mice live in social groups that can consist of up to 9 mice. Due to their rapid breeding rate it is well advised to set several traps at once to avoid a full scale infestation.

Mice are sporadic in their feeding habits. They take only a small amount of food from several locations. To take advantage of this behavior, it is best to spread the traps out rather than setting them all in one place.

Did you know that mice are very inquisitive? When they encounter something new to their environment they investigate to determine what it is. Moving mouse traps around will encourage mice to take interest in them.

To avoid repelling the mice with strange scents, you should wear vinyl disposable gloves when handling mouse traps. Gloves will also help protect you from diseases that you could get from contact with mouse saliva, urine, droppings and nesting materials. Take care to wash your hands and disinfect any surfaces or items that may have been in contact with mice.

Once you have determined where the mice are active, place the mouse traps on the routes they travel.

Depending on the type of trap you choose, do the following: Mice generally travel along walls, place the opening of the trap in their path against the wall, or the bait and trigger end facing the wall. Remember, mice will be tempted to explore the trap.

Now that you are roommates 🙂 mice will start looking for food. Mice find food by sniffing for it.1 That is why when baiting your mouse trap, you should use food with an enticing aroma.

Using the right bait is crucial. What is a mouse trap without the right bait?

The best mouse trap bait

Contrary to popular belief, mice don’t really like cheese! This is according to a study done by David Holmes an animal behaviourist at Manchester Metropolitan University. Mice have a very sensitive sense of smell and will shy away from cheese with strong odors.

In their natural habitat, mice prefer foods with a higher sugar content like grains and fruit.

Pest control professionals recommend:

  1. Peanut butter
  2. Chocolate raisins
  3. Junk food
  4. Food that mice are already feeding on, where they have infested.

Keep in mind that a well baited mouse trap needs to be placed where mice are active.

Where to place mouse traps

The best place to set mouse traps are near their nesting place. Mice typically stay within a few metres of their nest. There will always be a good food source nearby. You should try and locate the food source and replace it with your mouse traps.

The most common nesting places are:

  • In wall cavities, roof spaces and under floorboards.
  • Behind or under cupboards, bathtubs, furniture and large appliances.
  • Dark corners, behind boxes and machinery.
  • In sheds, wood piles, compost bins, thick vegetation, animal enclosures.
  • In burrow holes under buildings.

How to find a mouse nest

To find out where the nest is check for the following signs of activity:

  • Smear marks – Black marks mice create by rubbing their bodies against surfaces. The smear mark comes from an oil in their fur. They do this to learn their routes to and from their nest. The smears can usually be found where they pass through holes, around corners, along walls, floors and skirting.
  • Mouse droppings – Droppings are black and thin, about 3-8mm in length. A single mouse can leave 60-80 droppings a day. Soft, moist droppings are an indication of freshness. If you are unsure whether droppings are fresh, sweep them up and check again the next day.
  • Ammonia like smell – Mouse urine have a strong smell and will become stronger the closer to the activity you get. When combined with dirt and body grease, the urine can form small mounds about 4cm high and 1cm wide.
  • Gnawing – The incisor teeth of mice continually grow, to keep them short, mice have to gnaw on materials to wear their teeth down. Gnaw related damage on gas pipes and electrical cables are especially dangerous as it has caused houses to burn down. Other common items to check include food, carpets, wood and furniture.
  • Scratching sounds – Mice are nocturnal (they are mostly active at night). They run around at night looking for food. Mice have poor eyesight but can distinguish between light and dark. The sounds are usually heard just after sunset and right before dawn.
  • Spotting mice daytime – It is a sign of heavy infestation to see mice during the day.


The best mouse traps

1The Mouse Hotel – Humane mouse trap

To catch mice unharmed, this is the best mouse trap as compared to other top selling live traps. The ease with which the trap is set is unmatched, (watch the short video below for a demonstration).

Within the trap, is a pressure sensitive platform that activates when the mouse steps onto it. A trapdoor closes behind the mouse, trapping the little critter securely inside. The addition of ventilation holes prevent the trapped mouse from suffocating.

The trap is transparent, making it easy to see when there is a mouse inside. The mouse hotel is reusable and will book mice in for a convenient stay. If you intend to use it outdoors, avoid exposing the trap to extreme weather conditions. Be sure to check the trap daily, especially in the morning.

You can release the cute mousey without touching it. When releasing, take the mouse to a remote location where it can forage.



2The Smart Mouse Trap – Humane Mouse Trap 

Endorsed by PETA, this mouse trap is a popular choice to catch mice unharmed. The trap is reusable and works effectively for catching average sized mice. Compared to “The Mouse Hotel,” this trap is not as reliable to catch light mice and is harder to set. As a simple solution, you can place 2 or 3 quarters inside the trap at the bait end to preload the trigger with a bit of weight.

Thanks to the transparent design it is easy to see when there is a mouse inside. The trap is well ventilated and the tinted material protects the mouse’s eyes against bright light.

You will need to check this trap every day for trapped mice or they might starve inside. After you caught a mouse, you have to release it as soon as possible. Take the mouse to a remote location with a suitable habitat. You can release the mouse without touching it.

The video below shows how to set the trap and a live catch and release.



3Victor Electronic Mouse Trap M2524

The electronic mouse trap is a more humane type of trap when compared to the snap trap. When a mouse enters the electronic trap, it is instantly killed by a high voltage electrocution for 5 seconds.

The mouse trap is safe to handle. In addition to the on/off switch, the trap deactivates when opening the lid. The trap delivers a 100% kill rate, is reusable and works with 4 AA batteries.

An LED indicator light blinks green once every 7 seconds for a period of 24 hours after a kill. The light will blink red when the batteries need replacements.

The trap requires a bit of maintenance to ensure optimal operation. The metal plates inside need to be inspected for debris after a kill. For your safety, be sure to remove the batteries first. Then wipe the metal plates with a water-dampened cloth.

To remove the carcass from the trap, open the lid and turn it upside down. The short video below demonstrates clearly how to set the Victor Electronic Mouse Trap M2524. The electronic trap is for indoor use only.



4Snap-E Mouse Trap

The snap trap is more humane than glue traps, however it does not always snap onto the mouse’s neck. When this happen the mouse will suffer and require a knock to the head.

The design of the Snap-E Mouse Trap improves upon traditional snap traps. Bait is placed inside the pre-formed bait cup. To set the trap, you simply pull back on the vertical bar.

The trigger is very sensitive and will release from slight pressure, even from light mice.

During snapping, the kill bar only needs to travel half the distance of conventional snap traps, which increases it’s effectiveness. You can release the carcass without touching it by pulling the vertical bar back slightly.

The trap is made from steel and durable polystyrene that resists stains and odors. It is reusable and low cost which makes for an economical choice that will deliver service for years to come. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. (Remember to place the traps out of reach from children and pets).




There you have it! Now you can catch mice by the dozens 🙂 Our article on how to get rid of mice, will show you how to humanely prevent mice from being a problem in your home.

Yang M, Crawley JN. Simple Behavioral Assessment of Mouse Olfaction. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. July 2009. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0824s48 [Source]