The 10 Best Mouse Traps
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in August of 2015. If you have a rodent problem in your home or workplace, one of these mouse traps will take care of the critters in a snap – literally, in many cases. For those of you with gentle souls, we’ve also included humane catch-and-release options that will leave mice uninjured. Whatever route you take, those unwanted visitors will be a thing of the past. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best mouse trap on Amazon.
Become The Mousemaster
These give off pheromones or certain food scents, and many mice will run across them without thinking twice about it.
These snap closed with tremendous force when a mouse, lured by a piece of food placed within the trap, triggers a pressure sensor and its mechanical release.
I lived in a frat house in Meadville, PA for a few years in college, and in addition to significantly bolstering my immune system by exposure to incredible amounts of germs, I became something of an expert on mouse traps. At first, it was a cute visitation from one or two mice who would sweetly scurry across my carpet. Little did I know that where there are one or two mice, there are likely dozens.
We tried a few different traps throughout the weeks leading up to our most successful capture period, which we turned into a contest. The vermin didn't know what hit them as we began our official 2007 Mousemaster Capture Competition. The rules were simple: You could only place traps in your own bedroom, and you had to have another member of the competition verify the capture and removal of each mouse.
At the end of the one-week competition, I came in second with 15 mice. First place went to a guy with 17, and third and fourth place tied with 12 mice each. That's 56 mice caught in a week in one large house. If you've seen even one mouse anywhere in your home, you need to set some traps. What kind of trap you utilize will depend a lot on you and the rodents in question, as there are essentially three categories of trap for you to consider.
First, you have your glue traps. These give off pheromones or certain food scents, and many mice will run across them without thinking twice about it. The glue ensnares their weak little legs and sticks them there to starve. Second, there are your snap traps, a category that includes the classic, spring-loaded wood and metal mouse traps as well as the modern plastic type. These snap closed with tremendous force when a mouse, lured by a piece of food placed within the trap, triggers a pressure sensor and its mechanical release.
The last type of trap on our list is more humane by design, and this is the non-kill version. A piece of food lures your mouse into a small enclosure, the door to which closes automatically behind him by the same mechanism that would cause a snap trap to crush him. Then, you're free to set him loose into his original habitat.
For our Mousemaster competition, we used snap traps across the board. We wanted the mice dead, and the glue traps seemed unnecessarily torturous. Using the same type of trap for each competitor also kept the contest at a more even keel, which is why the numbers ended up so close in the end.
Whatever your proclivities for mouse capture, there's something on this list for you to use. It's important to ask yourself exactly what level of carnage you can endure, however, as each category presents you with different kinds of cruelty or difficulty.
The best of them, however, like the ones we used in our competition, are always reliable.
The reason we thought the glue traps were too cruel was their slowness. A mouse would most likely get his feet caught first, which would mean a slow and brutal starvation death, at best. At worst, he would try to gnaw the areas of the glue trap around his stuck feet, tearing out whiskers on the glue and eventually getting his head stuck in a position that would only be appropriate in a horror film about a haunted Twister board. Then, he would starve to death.
Catch-and-release traps are fine if you're willing to drive a few miles away from your home to release the mice into a new habitat. Otherwise, it might just find its way back into your house. You'll recall that these animals are particularly adept at mazes. We need to be clear about this, however; if you release a mouse into a foreign habitat, the chances of it succumbing to predators or to lack of adequate water, food, or shelter are quite high. You're giving them a better chance than they'd have being crushed by a snap trap, but not by much.
Snap traps are probably the most humane method in the end, as they almost always ensure a clean, fast demise with little to no pain. The problem with these is that they aren't always as effective among the cheaper brands. The best of them, however, like the ones we used in our competition, are always reliable. They might snag a mouse by the tail or a leg now and then, which would necessitate your intervention, but this would be a rare occurrence. In my case, the competition took place in the dead of winter, so I simply dropped live but broken mice in the snow, letting cold numb the pain and take them off to the big sleep.
Improving On Perfection
Mousetraps are about as old as mice. You could classify any tool used to aid a human in the capture of a mouse as a mouse trap, though in its most recognizable form, the device reaches back to James Henry Atkinson's Little Nipper, patented in in 1897. According to the patent, this trap snapped shut in just 38/1000ths of a second, which ought to have closed the door on any and all further advancements.
The thing about a good idea, though, especially one that sells, is that most people think they can do it better. That's why, since the US patent office began issuing patents in 1838, there have been over 4,000 patents awarded for different classes of mousetrap.
No matter what style you look at, though, the basics are all in place. Lure the mouse with the promise of food and have it trip some kind of device, whether latched, spring-loaded, sticky, electrifying, or explosive in nature, and your mouse problem will be solved.
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