If you’ve come across a live mouse stuck to a sticky trap, you’ll discover quickly that these things are not designed to let go of the mouse. If you’re wanting to remove the mouse and release it into the wild without injuring it, you’ll need to find a kind way of loosening the mouse. Fortunately there are some good ways of doing this.
Don’t ever try to just pull the mouse off the trap without using one of the release methods. The glue on some of these traps can actually pull off hair and sometimes skin. It is easy to de-glove a mouse or rat tail with the trap glue.
Step 1: Place the mouse on the trap inside a plastic container
Place the entire trap, mouse, bait and all, in a clear plastic container that has surface dimensions a little greater than the sticky trap and that is at least 4 inches (10.2 cm) deep.
Wear rubber gloves if possible and keep your hands away from the mouse. Though mice are little and cute, they do have very sharp teeth and mice can carry disease and the bites hurt. A mouse can do some serious damage with its teeth, so even if you are using gloves, take care not to give the frightened animal a chance to bite.
Step 2: Pour a little vegetable oil over the mouse
Coat it very lightly, as well as coating the surrounding area of the trap. Use just enough oil, maybe a spoonful or two at most. Any sort of cooking oil works, but vegetable oil works best and tends to be the least expensive. The oil negates the sticky glue surface.
- Never use any other kind of oil. In particular, do not use petroleum-based, synthetic or lubricating oils as these will kill the mouse.
- Ensure that the mouse’s mouth and nose are not submerged in or covered by oil.
- Cooking spray is a good alternative to vegetable oil. You can concentrate the spray only on the parts that are stuck without coating any unnecessary areas. Also, aiming the spray at those areas and soaking them causes an almost immediate release of the mouse without wearing it out and causing it to be further injured.
Step 3: Place the lid on the plastic container and lock it down
Wait and watch. The mouse should be able to work its way free of the trap in a few minutes. This can happen almost instantly if the critter is not stuck very well, so make sure you put the lid on as quickly as possible. If the mouse comes unstuck with the lid off, it will almost instantly hop out of the container and once again be free in your building.
Step 4: Rarely, the mouse will need a little help
If it has been stuck on the paper for a prolonged period of time, it can become weak and dehydrated. Also, the plastic tray version of the sticky traps can be very sticky, and the mouse may have trouble getting out, especially if its back legs are stuck together or its tail is submerged in the glue.
- If this happens, use padded cloth, like an old potholder, to help get the mouse almost free. The cloth should be thick enough that you can’t get bitten through it but flexible enough that you can grasp the rodent with it.
- When you have the animal mostly free, put the trap in the container and put the lid on and let the mouse do the rest of the work. This can take a few minutes.
- Check to make sure no glue is covering the mouse’s nose. If there is any there, use a cloth to gently wipe it away. There should not be enough glue on the paper traps for this to be an issue, but could be a problem with the deeper plastic trays.
Step 5: Watch through the container to make sure the mouse is free
It should be able to move around, without its legs or tail stuck together. Once it is up and walking around, it’s time to release it outside. Don’t feel too rushed; there is an hour or so of air in the container, but not much more, so plan to have the mouse free within that time. Also, if you leave the mouse in the container for a longer time, it will start trying to chew its way out and damage the container.
Step 6: Take the mouse to a suitable environment, preferably a large field or wooded area, at least a mile from your building and away from other buildings.
Some rodent species have a daily range of close to a mile, so get them at least that far away, unless you want them to return.
Step 7: Set the container on the ground, preferably near some cover so the mouse can find a place to run to free of predators
Remove the top and take several steps back. The mouse should be able to hop out of the container. You may need to tip the container on its side a bit to encourage the mouse to leave.
Step 8: Clean everything well
Dispose of the old trap and bait in a sealed garbage can outside; the bait and trap can still attract mice and insects, but are now just a food source. Though generally clean animals, mice can carry a variety of diseases that can pose a risk to people and other pets (especially pet rodents), so it is very important to wash and disinfect the container and anything else used to catch and release the mouse. Disinfect and clean the areas where the mouse was living.
Step 9: Wash your hands very well
Step 10: Repeat the process
Where there is one mouse, there are usually more. Leave a few traps out in the same area for a couple of weeks. Keep repeating the process until you have not caught a mouse for a month. Watch for signs of new infestations and place new traps as soon as possible — mice breed really, really, really fast + several litters, as many as seven to 10, in a year.
Can the mouse trap be reused once the mouse is freed?
No, as most of the methods in this article suggest using water or oil to loosen the glue. Once that’s been done, the trap won’t be reusable.
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