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What is a Humane Mouse Trap?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Many people who have mice in their homes would like to get rid of these pests. Mice can carry diseases and humans are best off in homes free of mice, not including pet mice. It can seem cruel to trap mice in ways that kill them and there are number of alternatives for getting rid of mice without instantly causing their deaths. One idea is the humane mouse trap.

A humane mouse trap or live mouse trap catches mice in a way that does not kill them. This is usually accomplished by means of some sort of cage that has an entrance but not an exit. Sometimes the entrance has special weight sensitivities that close a door once a mouse has entered. Not all live mouse traps are perfect and some may accidentally close entrance doors on mice if they’re small enough. Usually though, a humane mouse trap works well to capture mice, which can then be released far away from human dwellings.

You’ll find lots of varieties of humane mouse traps available online and in places like hardware stores. Some of them are suited to catching one mouse only and others can be used to catch multiple mice. The latter may be a better choice if you’ve got a significant mouse infestation in your home. Many of these humane mouse trap types are easily cleaned and reused so that you don’ t have to dispose of the trap once you relocate the mouse or mice.

One humane mouse trap that is recommended by the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the Smart Mousetrap, manufactured by the company Greenfeet®. This is an inexpensive trap that looks more like a plastic hamster or mouse cage. It has plenty of air holes so that mice won’t suffocate and you can definitely tell you've caught a mouse through the clear plastic covering. There are a variety of other humane mouse traps available, but not all allow you to tell if you’ve actually trapped a mouse.

Some live mouse traps are not really humane. A few brands come with glue paper inside the trap, which will cause the mouse to stick to the paper. You can’t release mice stuck in this way, and most people either allow these mice to starve to death or they kill them. When you use these traps without glue paper, mice can be caught safely and released in the wild.

Even though a humane mouse trap is supposed to be better for the mouse, there are some problems with the trap and release theory. First, it’s definitely not humane if you don’t release the mouse quickly. Mice can starve and die if deprived of food, which can be a terrible and painful death. Don’t use these traps if you won’t be home to check them frequently. Additionally, some mice are not very well adapted to living away from human dwellings and they may not survive or be able to compete well for food when they are released.

InfoBloom is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a InfoBloom contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon335567 — On May 21, 2013

Humane traps are seen very differently by many people. After 10 years in the rodent control field, I know some people think "humane" means sending the mice on a vacation pretty much and others think a quick death.

By anon302525 — On Nov 10, 2012

My mice could not resist the marshmallows placed in my humane trap - four caught in five days - and released in the woods - hope that is all of them but will carry on. My wife used Christmas mince pies to catch two small rats, which again, they could not resist.

By anon124542 — On Nov 06, 2010

Are you kidding me? Mice multiply rapidly, cause disease, who cares. it's called a pest for a reason. mice will always be here. they will never become extinct.

By anon124358 — On Nov 05, 2010

I've come to the conclusion that the purpose of mice are to be food for other animals. They're at the bottom of the food chain and so many other animals feed on mice (Like owls, hawks, foxes, and more). It would be rude of me to kill it and throw it in the garbage when other, more beneficial animals are out there scavenging for food. So I feel good about releasing them into the woods.

They at least have a fighting chance of surviving, or, if anything else, they can be food for another animal (continuing the circle). We've been doing the bucket trap and caught a whole family and released them. Hands down the most successful and inexpensive trap we've tried.

By anon113348 — On Sep 24, 2010

I love animals and hate the idea of killing a mouse. Humans have taken over so many habitats that it just doesn't seem fair to kill a mouse for sharing ours. My dad (who is the best dad in the whole world!) put up a humane mouse trap in our basement. So far, I've adopted two. I felt terrible releasing them outside since the day I found one of them, it was cold outside and raining heavily. The aquarium is pretty big so they have enough room to scamper around.

They are amazing little creatures with impeccable hygiene (believe it or not). I've named them Fievel and Pinky. Pinky is super friendly and comes right up to the cage whenever I'm in the room. He loves it when I pick him up and stroke him behind the ears. In fact, he's sitting at the edge of my computer snoozing while I type!

By anon105087 — On Aug 19, 2010

I live in the suburbs and we have a lot of mice around here. I've seen my dad kill a mouse before and it wasn't like some horrific event, but after having one run around my room all night, I have to admit, these are damn cute little buggers. So my parents bought a lethal trap and I put it in my room after seeing him scamp around for a bit, and the poor little guy got caught from running over it instead of actually eating the PB. Anyway, he didn't die from the trap, just got caught in the plastic claws, and after seeing him move almost five feet after getting caught, I took pity and let him go probably a half mile away, and haven't had a problem since. Didn't think I was a mouse lover, but how can you kill a little guy just trying to make it? Thank you guys for proving I'm not just a little wuss. lol

By anon98144 — On Jul 22, 2010

Its obvious PETA advises against using the Ortho Kill and Contain traps. They are threatening action against them.

By anon61245 — On Jan 19, 2010

I thought I saw a mouse and ran out right away to get a victor mouse trap. The only humane one they had was one that was green and it had a little ramp on it and the mouse goes in the ramp and when it goes in the ramp moves and closes a little door behind it.

After four days I had no mouse and thought I was just crazy and saw something out of the corner of my eye and it wasn't a mouse. Anyway, on the fifth day I'm sitting in my living room and look in my kitchen. There is the mouse, sitting on top of the mouse trap -- he just kind of looked at it -- and then sits on it and is taunting me. (he's so super cute too by the way.)

Anyway, he runs up on my counter and looks around for food then goes back into the furnace room. He did this a couple of times and I just watched him because he was so cute, and then I realized that he's too smart for the Victor trap and I wasted five bucks.

Anyway I get an old butter tub out of the trash, and a beer bottle cap also out of the trash and put peanut butter in the bottom of the butter tub and put the tub on top of the lid and had the bottle cap prop it up. I waited and watched from the other room. about an hour later he comes back and goes on the counter. I'm all excited at this point because he goes in the butter tub. He's in there licking the peanut butter that I put on the side and I get up and i'm like, maybe if i scare him he'll move and the bottle cap will fall, so I go in there and he sees me and runs out of the tub, cap falling behind him.

So i set it up again, and commend him for being smarter than I am. This time he's reaching up to get the peanut butter on the top and the butter tub falls right on top of the lid. I go over there, push it down so it snaps, turn it over, put it in a box and run outside and put him in my car, drive for a bit and put the tub on the ground and open it. He's all the way at the top, not really moving. I guess he was scared.

Anyway after I opened the lid and said "Go. Be free!" and waved my arms, he looked at me and scampered off. I'm sure the waving of my arms is what did it.

Anyway, did i mention how adorable he was? I hope the little creep doesn't come back.

By anon60641 — On Jan 15, 2010

I don't think killing it quickly or releasing it into the wild for it to surely die (apparently) are the only 2 options. I live in the suburbs..I could let it go in someone else's city alley. I really could care less about how it fares after I'm done with it though. I just don't want it coming back, and i don't want to have to touch a dead mouse on a glue trap..or kill it. If it dies after okay, sorry but... I don't want to see it. I'm still upset that I saw it scamper. I'm still hoping it's my mind playing tricks on me. Ran out that minute and bought a Victor live mouse trap, we will see what happens.

By anon58606 — On Jan 03, 2010

I release mine in the PETA parking lot -- next to all the rat traps they have in the bushes. Ironic eh? The humane traps work. I found mine at Lowe's. It is a victorpest, holds up to four mice, very effective and safe. We put them all in a big popcorn tin, caught 14 in two days, then released them outside PETA.

By anon54773 — On Dec 02, 2009

i have mixed feelings about this topic as well.

if catch and release, they may infest a restaurant and make someone sick, and that would be my fault. if i let them stay in my house and my kids get sick, it's my fault.

if i kill them, then i have killed.

in response to comment #4, so far, i have been releasing them in the McMansion neighborhood close by. and i'm serious!

By anon41037 — On Aug 12, 2009

I prefer to take the to the rich part of town. Let them go in someone's back yard.

By anon37262 — On Jul 18, 2009

When you use a humane mouse trap how far away from the house do you need to let the mouse free. We have a lot of mice and are now wondering is it the same mouse that is coming back all the time.

By simonp — On Jun 09, 2009

Honestly, what a load of old tosh. So you basically have two options, keep the mouse at home or kill it quickly. I'm no tree hugger but I do have a mouse problem and I do want to catch them without killing them if I can. I have learned a few things about these mice (cute little fellows) namely they are resourceful, intelligent and very cautious - all ideal traits for ensuring survival.

I prefer to take the view that if I can catch them and release them, they will have a shot at survival in the big wide world. Let nature take its course and I think you may find they adapt and survive pretty well. If not at least they have had a chance. Not really fair of us to make a decision to keep or kill.

As for bait, going to try popcorn. Am told this will definitely do the trick.

By anon23190 — On Dec 18, 2008

Very important point at the end there. Imagine you are a city mouse, living your life having learned and adapted to stealing food from humans, build homes from trash, and then suddenly you are captured and set "free" into the wild." Whole new types of food, new ways to build homes, stay warm, stay safe from a plethora of predators. Even if a mouse is somehow able to survive in this new environment (it is much more likely to die slowly from hunger, disease, or cold) then it will constitute and invasive species where ever you "release" it.

If you really care about the mice, let it stay in "your" home. But if you really want to sterilize your home, for understandable reasons. Use a method to kill it as fast and suddenly as possible. It is much more "humane" than giving it a sure, slow death. And then think about other, less visible, but more important areas of your life that you can "go green".

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a InfoBloom contributor, Tricia...
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