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I was sitting down watching TV one evening when all of a sudden a little brown mouse ran across the room and dashed right under the washing machine :-O It was out of sight for a few seconds and then stuck its little head out and looked right at me. It seemed to be just as surprised that it was in my flat as I was! So the next day I headed to the local DIY shop in search of a mouse trap. I didn't want to kill it (and have to clear up the end result) using the traditional style of trap so I chose to buy one of these humane mouse traps which catches the live mouse and allows you to set it free.
The trap is very simple to set up. It is basically a plastic tube with a bend in the middle and a door at one end. The end of the tube needs to be baited with a little bit of chocolate spread or peanut butter to attract the mouse. To set the trap all you have to do is put it down so the end nearest the door is on the floor and carefully open the door. When the mouse goes all the way in its weight will tip the tube up and the door will flip shut, trapping it inside. It is important to check the trap regularly as the mouse can get stressed if it is in the trap for a long time.
Of course, catching a mouse is obviously not a 100% certainly no matter what kind of trap you use. The instructions with this trap state that it needs to be placed directly in the path of the route that the mouse uses to travel around. This is important as mice always tend to use the same routes which will typically be very close to walls and obstacles. (Although my mouse half ran and half skidded right across the middle of the room on the laminate flooring and obviously didn't know where it was going, making me think it was a first time visitor!) Some mice will also be naturally more cautious than others when confronted by something unknown whereas others will be bold enough to investigate traps baited with nice smelling food.
I placed my mouse trap by my washing machine and left it there for a few days but I never caught anything. I only ever saw it that one time and I haven't seen or heard any evidence of a mouse since so I think my failure to catch a mouse is down to the fact it had completely vacated my flat rather than because the trap was no good. It is hard to rate this product because I still don't really know how effective this type of trap is at performing its function but I do feel that it was a good buy and I want to rate it 4/5 simply based on the following:
1) It is humane and doesn't kill the mouse
2) It can be used more than once and baited as often as needed
3) It is less dangerous for pets and children than the traditional style of snap trap
4) It's really easy to use and can be set up in seconds
As I mentioned earlier, I bought my trap in a local independent DIY shop but they can also be purchased at larger DIY superstores, garden centres and online. They cost in the region of £3 to £4 (chocolate spread not included!)
Finally, remember that If you do catch a mouse, it is recommended that you release it at least a mile away from your house as they are not silly and can find their way back to you if you set them free nearby!
When we lived in our previous house we had a large garage which had been converted into a shed in which we stored all sorts of things such as garden tools, compost, planters, paints, sun loungers - all the usual stuff you find in a shed. We also started feeding the birds and we purchased two big sacks of food - one of seed and one of nuts which we left on the floor of the shed. Yes I know now!!!!!
One day we went into the shed to find that the sacks had been munched through and something - presumably a mouse - was eating the food meant for the birds!
We went to B & Q and got two things - the first was two large plastic boxes in which to keep the food and the other was a mouse trap.
I am not frightened of mice and I work on a live and let live basis but we didn't want them taking up residence in the shed and then migrating into the house so they needed to be caught. I insisted on us finding a humane trap so that we could catch them and then go and release them somewhere safe for them to live out the rest of their days.
The one that we bought was the Rentokil Live Capture Mouse Trap which cost about £5 and can be reused as many times as you like.
The trap is made from heavy duty black plastic and comes attached to a piece of card which gives you the instructions for use. If you take a look at the picture at the top of this review it shows a trap primed for use. The oblong shaped device is open at one end and it rests on two supports to keep it that way until it has a visitor. The trap is bent in the middle, for want of a better way of describing it, so it will rock back and forth. The bait is put inside - something sweet or seeds or nuts will do - and when the mouse goes in his weight rocks the trap, the door closes and the mouse is caught but safe and unharmed.
All you then need to do is take the whole trap somewhere safe, open the end and out runs a happy mouse.
Since ours was in the shed we had to make sure that we checked it daily when it was primed so that we could remove any mice before they came to any harm trapped in there with no food or water.
I would definitely recommend this mouse trap for use anywhere. It is easy to set up, it works brilliantly and nothing gets killed. After all mice are God's creatures too aren't they?
This type of trap could even be used by someone who doesn't like or is scared of mice as you don't have to actually touch them at any time during the process.
Mind you, having said that, we don't need a mouse trap where we live now as we have Mew who doesn't mind killing things at all! He catches mice and rabbits on an almost daily basis from the fields that surround our cottage! I will just say that he only catches things in order to eat them. I have told him that if he starts catching things just for fun I will put a bell round his neck to stop him!
I love animals, and at one point I had six mice, 3 hamsters and a rat, so you can imagine the hell if one of them escaped from a cage!
One of the mice, who sadly is no longer with us, had an amazing habit of escaping all the time, and he seemed to get wise to all methods we would use to catch him again, but there was no way in hell I would use a normal mouse trap, those things are just pure evil and if I had my way in life they would be banned!
I went to the local hardware store and asked if they had any human mousetraps, and this was what they recommended I should use. It basically works on a weight and leverage system, once the mouse climbs inside towards the other end, the trap tips and shuts so the mouse can not get back out. The door is easily opened again to release the mouse into his cage or back out into the wild.
I found that the best food to use to lure the mouse into the trap was peanut butter, as this has a strong enough smell to attract their attention enough to not notice they are walking into a trap! Almost feel bad for them lol!
The peanut butter trick worked quite well, and I easily had my mouse back in his cage, not that he stayed there too long mind!
I think these traps are a great idea, as it saves any mice having to die, and is nicer than having to clean up a dead mouse from a trap. This also is a great idea if you have small children (or silly men!) in your house who could easily get themselve caught up in a traditional style mouse trap and lose a finger or something, plus we have all seen the leerdammer advert, mice are now more athletic lol!
These traps can be bought in hardware stores, some large supermarkets, pet stores and even on Amazon. They are re usable, so if you ever need to use them again, no problems, just have to remember where you put it!
MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!
While spring cleaning our living room, we made the unexpected and unpleasant discovery of mouse droppings (little black pellets) by the skirting board behind the sofa. This was the second time we had been "visited" by an unwanted house guest in the last three months - probably wood mice - attracted to our property by a combination of cold and wet weather, the wide country lane that runs behind our property, and an opportunistic infiltration when the French doors to the back garden were left open too long.
Both times, I have opted to use Rentokil's humane Live Capture Mousetraps to catch and then release the little blighter. Whilst I did not have any particular moral compunctions about using lethal means to get rid of these unwanted pests, I had more practical issues to consider. With an inquisitive and occasionally disobedient five year old, I did not want to risk injury to little fingers by using an ordinary "snap" type trap, and I was also uneasy about introducing any form of poison into the house. As such, the non-lethal and less hazardous option was my only realistic choice.
WHAT IS IT?
The Live Capture Mousetrap ("LCM" for short) is a long rectangular, black, heavy duty plastic rectangular box which looks like a very shallow "V". At one end is a hinged lid with two legs. At the other end is a yellow removable cap in which you stick the bait. After it is baited, you stick the trap on a flat surface - preferably behind a sofa next to the skirting board (or somewhere else along the edge of the room where you have seen evidence of mouse activity) and open the end with the legs, so that they rest on the floor.
At this point, the first part of the trap is sitting on the ground, but the back end - the bit with the bait - is raised about an inch off the floor. The idea is that the mouse enters through the front end, and when it enters the back of the trap, its body weight shifts the back part downward, forcing the front end up. The hinged door with the legs then snap shut, trapping the creature inside. The trap is ventilated, so the creature can still breathe easily while imprisoned. To release, you simply flip open the front and release the animal somewhere appropriate.
DOES IT WORK?
In the last three years, I have used this style of trap three times (twice recently), but with differing degrees of success. The first time, I laid two of them - one in the kitchen, near the back of the fridge where a mouse had clearly taken up residence, and one in the living room behind the sofa. The morning after I put them down, I found the one in the living room had been gnawed from the outside, leaving a small pile of black plastic shavings where the mouse had desperately tried to get at the peanut butter.
It appears the trap had been sprung prematurely, before the mouse had got in - possibly because it went to the back end first. The one in the kitchen was undisturbed. However, the second morning, the one in the kitchen snared the little critter, and I was able to release it outside my back gate, where it scampered off down the country lane.
The second incident - late last year - was quite surreal. I placed two traps behind each of our two sofa's, and, waking in the early hours for a totally unrelated reason, I padded downstairs to check them for mice. The first one had not tripped, so I checked the bait and put t back. The second one also had not tripped, so I picked it up as well to double-check and was startled to see two beady eyes staring back at me, with little mitts covered in peanut butter. The little chappie had clearly been enjoying himself, but the moment was so unexpected that we both sort of stared at each other for what seemed an eternity (probably only a few seconds) before I gathered my wits quickly enough to shut the lid manually as quickly as I could. It was still dark, and despite being in my bathrobe and slippers, I rushed out my front door and released it next to the storm drain. It took a moment to get its bearings, turned and gave me a farewell glance, before nonchalantly diving into the drain.
Using the LCM after our most recent discovery was entirely straightforward. We caught the mouse within a few hours of putting down the traps - but not before spending half an evening (until 3am actually) chasing it around our barricaded living room, upturning sofa's, lifting up coffee tables and creating all sorts of mayhem in a vain attempt to corner the wee little beastie. He was far too quick for me, and despite one promising moment when we engaged in a tug of war between the end of a broom and a wicker basket, I never even got close.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
The main benefit of this style of trap (as opposed to poison) is that you know when you have dealt with your problem. In addition, compared to lethal traps, with this system you never have to touch or see the mouse (except when you release it) and there is no unpleasant corpse to deal with. It is also the safest option for use around pets and children. The trap uses the simple force of gravity to close the lid, and surprisingly, it stays very effectively shut until released (using a tab at the top of the lid to lever it open).
The downside is that it has to be placed on a flat surface and slightly away from the wall, so that the friction against the skirting board or wall does not stop the trap from springing successfully. The other issue is that the mouse can easily trigger it before getting in if it approaches it the wrong way. In addition, as I found in my amusing face to face encounter, if the mouse is too small, its body weight may be insufficient to tip the LCM shut - especially when combined with the skirting board (or grabby carpet) problem.
However, the biggest drawback to these traps is that you have to monitor them on a fairly regular basis (at least three or four times a day). Although mice are used to moving around in very small spaces, they will obviously get distressed if trapped for too long. Extended distress means an almighty mess. Mice have no bladder, they pee as they go, so if they stay in for too long, they pee and poo themselves silly.
This is what happened the first time I used this trap. I actually went away, overnight, and did not return until the following afternoon, by which time I found the triggered trap in the kitchen, on its side, and sitting in a small puddle of mouse pee. It smelled absolutely foul, so I not only had a mouse to release, but a disgusting mess to clean up on the floor as well.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
These Rentokil traps are widely available from most well-known DIY stores. I buy ours from our local Homebase for £4.99 each, and it is also available on line from Amazon for the same price. This makes it a more expensive proposition than traditional traps, which retail for around the same price but come two to a pack. However, if you are looking for a non-lethal solution, this seems to be the best (and only) budget option.
TIPS FOR USE
Using this trap was my first experience of mouse-catching, and I have learned a few practical lessons along the way. First, wear a pair of heavy duty gloves - both for hygiene and protection. Cornered mice can (and do) bite, and you don't really want to be handling pee and excrement if its been in the trap too long. Secondly, if the trap has sprung, I would recommend NOT opening it until you are outside - mice are very quick and will surprise you with their strength and agility relative to their size.
Open it facing away from you - either on the ground or tilted toward the ground to release. They tend to stick their nose out, have a sniff and the rocket off like an Exocet missile. After a bit of research, it seems you need to release these critters a fair way from your home, as they have keen homing instincts and can often find their way back - especially if they have a liking for your chosen kind of bait!
The best things to bait the trap with are peanut butter or chocolate spread (like Nutella). Both of these work very well. I tend to use the former, as it has quite a strong and distinctive smell, has a nice, thick consistency (especially the crunchy variety) and stays moist for ages without slipping out of the bait cup. Mice like dark places and tend to stick to the edge of the room, so skirting boards, under radiators, and behind furniture are the best places to place a trap, especially if there is clear evidence of activity (the little black poo pellets are a dead giveaway, but also look out for shavings of gnawed wood, fabric or plastic).
The LCM has its drawbacks, and, more often than not, it is likely to take a little longer to catch your little pest than the more traditional, lethal alternatives. However, if you are willing to persevere, the success rate is quite good - and given the lack of other budget options for live capture, it is an fairly effective solution. It is simple to set up and use, easy to clean and re-use and represents reasonable value for money at its RRP.
However, it is best suited to a catching single, opportunistic, invader, rather than dealing with larger scale problems. On balance, given that I needed a child-friendly solution, it provided an acceptable balance between safety and effectiveness.
© Hishyeness 2010 - Also on Ciao
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