Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Terrible Traps

This is a terrible photo to look at. But it's not so terrible as what I saw when I found this mouse still struggling this morning, the rear of its body clenched in the jaws of a trap I had set last night. I released the mouse to a safe warm place, where it lay until it died. I am so ashamed to have caused this little creature to suffer so. May God forgive me.

I bought this trap because it said it killed mice instantly. Well, it didn't. So I threw the trap away. The brand name is Tomcat. Do not buy this brand.


But what should I do now? I love mice, but I don't want them chewing on wires or leaving their droppings all over my dishes. These Deermice always find their way into my house each fall and seem to go back outside each spring. All winter we hear them scurrying around in the walls or surprise them when we open a bag of birdseed and find them feeding inside. Once in a while our cats will kill one and leave it for me to step on in the morning. Sometimes the cats catch fleas and tapeworms from the mice. I've thought about using live traps and releasing the mice far away. I wonder if that would work. I've read that they're very good at finding their way back home. How far would I have to take them?

If anyone knows how to humanely rid a house of mice, I sure would appreciate suggestions.

9 comments:

Woodswoman Extraordinaire: said...

I'm so sorry! I have had a similar experience with a "humane" mouse trap. I think the glue traps were the worst - how to get the mouse and its feet off in one piece remains a mystery to me. *shudder* I have had to drown a few to put them out of their misery.

Our live trap solution: I used to create my own live trap in our pantry, which is where the mice would congregate. I would set up a kitchen 13 gallon garbage can, empty except for a peanut butter slathered cracker in the bottom. If I placed the can right next to a shelf I knew they scurried across, I generally found a mouse in the bottom of the can in the morning, looking up at me with accusing eyes and peanut butter on his whiskers. We then had to put a lid on the can and transport said mouse quite a distance so s/he wouldn't just come back in.

It wasn't fool proof - sometimes I'd go a few nights without any takers, but it certainly did work. Mind you, it never eliminated our mouse problem, but then, that apartment was so infested it was incredible. At least it did allow me to remove them, one mouse at a time.

Good luck!!!

desertnutmeg said...

i am sorry you had this experience-been there myself.
Totally serious-Peppermint Oil. I put a drop or two on cotton balls and then place in drawers, behind furniture, in cabinets etc. Some people drop on doorways or make a spray of oil and water or oil and vodka. Just remember! Oil permantly stains fabric, wood and will melt plastic, so you have to consider carefully. If you run a search, you will find a multitude of people, besides me, who swear by this!
Feel free to email me at desertnutmeg (at)gmail(dot)com
I hope you feel better (mentally /emotionally) soon!~nutmeg

desertnutmeg said...

uh, that should be "permanently." Sigh, i get so "duh" in the afternoon- blast these stupid hormones!! ~nutmeg

Woodswalker said...

Thank you, Woodswoman and desertnutmeg, for your helpful suggestions. And also your commiserations. Every time I see the photo of that poor creature, my eyes fill with tears.

I think I will try the peppermint first, and if that doesn't work, I'll go with the garbage can.

squirrel said...

Oooh, that is hard to see and realize what was going on. One year I trapped a couple and kept them in a terrarium for a short while and they were so much fun to watch. Deer mice are the cutest little things.

Nevertheless they do cause problems. I took two a great distance from the house but that didn't solve the problem. I'm not sure if those two came back but I suspect they did. Finally I just used the old fashioned mouse traps and they killed them instantly and I was able to place them outside for other critters to partake. After about 5 kills they were gone. That was a couple of years ago.

I have a covered wood pile that I think they are now nesting in. Perhaps providing a warm place outside for them to nest might be a good solution.

suep said...

When I lived in an old mill house in Vermont, my landlord tried a little sonic device that emitted a sound to sort of repel mice. We didn't hear it at all.
But I suspect that might also drive the cats nuts, too...
hey! you have cats... hmm.
No seriously, my heart goes out to you, and all the little mice whose lives are probably pretty short anyway.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Mice - we love 'em, we hate 'em. There's no easy solution.

Those of us with soft hearts like to think the humane thing is to live-trap them, take them for a long drive and turn them loose. The cold hard facts are that if you do this, you have taken them from their home area and dumped them in a place they do not know. They are now easy pickings for a predator. They may adapt to the new surroundings, but then they may not - they could starve. This is especially problematic in the fall, winter and spring when you have effectively removed them from their caches of food and dumped them in a barren land (no food stores, no home, no idea where safety is). This is only compounded if you have let them go in the territory of another mouse, which will defend it's turf and food supplies.

So, often the most humane thing is to dispatch the animals (a quick death is better than starvation). I'll never use glue traps (often advertised as the most humane) - they are vile and horrid, and the animals suffer suffer suffer. Snap traps can be effective and humane, if the animals are caught across the backs of their necks (often they are not). Woe to those caught by the nose (I've seen it happen), or toe, or leg.

I had a professor who claimed the most humane way was to live-trap and then stick the animal, trap and all, in the freezer. That was fine until the day I checked on some I had done this with (he wanted the animals for study skins) and found the animal bloody because it had peed in the trap, stuck to the freezing urine, and then ripped itself loose. I'll never do that again.

So, is there an answer? I don't know. I'm convinced that for the soft-hearted, no easy answer exisits.

Carolyn H said...

I have a cat who's a great mouser. I don't like to see him kill the mice but at least it's pretty quick.

Carolyn H.

New York Land Man said...

I once read of someone humanely releasing mice from glue traps by putting them and the trap in a bucket and then putting a bit of vegetable oil on them, which lubricates them enough to wiggle their way free.