Yikes, there's a mouse in the house!

In the wee hours last night, I saw a little brown figure (mouse!) run out from behind the desk in my home office and into the little clothes closet. It took a moment for my tired brain to register the event, but I did get a second look quickly enough to see the little guy disappear behind the stuff sitting on the closet floor. Argh.

Being my first ever encounter with such an enemy–I promptly freaked out, began researching furiously before I could settle down for bed, and ordered a few kinds of traps for quick delivery today, both no-see sorts of traps and plastic snappers. They should arrive by tonight, but I may just go to Home Depot this afternoon and get a few plastic snappers to get the project going. They also have some sort of mouse attractant gel you can use as an alternative to peanut butter, which seems easy and neat but perhaps not as effective according to reviews.

I’m keeping the closet undisturbed until I get my supplies in hand (I am hoping he’s probably just sleeping in the back there anyway until nighttime). I think I will try the no-see traps first as I would much rather not ever have to see or touch the bugger, even though the snappers seem to be more effective according to reviews. I will set a few around the baseboards near the closet before I open the door and poke around in case he makes a run for it. If I don’t see him, I guess I will set one in the closet itself and see what happens.

This is the top floor of my house so there is no regular food up here, so maybe he fell down from the attic or something? It’s also a townhouse, so maybe he is roadtripping from a neighbor’s place.

Any other tips/strategy? My wife suggested putting the snappers inside a paper lunch bag to make the disposal easier, plus mice apparently like to root around in dark bags anyway. Will that work? Also, is PB the best bait to use, or is that special mouse attractant stuff any good?


Grew up in an old house. Houses have mouses. Not really an option to be squeamish when it’s the ‘80s and anything but the ol’ spring-loaded spine-snapping bar-o’-doom, if it exists, is for degenerates and Communists.

It’s just a mouse. You’ll be fine :)

Flush it out and step on it.

Traditional mouse traps work great. Sometimes they lick the peanut butter off and don’t apply enough pressure to release the trap. I usually just take a piece of cheese or apple or something and mush it around the release so that they have to apply pressure to eat it.

Peanut butter is definitely what you want to use. I would put some on the triggering mechanism and then wipe a lot of it off so the mouse would have to really get in there and gnaw on it to get it out. if you put a big lump on the trigger they can sometimes get most of it without triggering the trap.

Normal traps work fine. You can almost always grab it by the base of the trap and put it in a plastic Ziploc bag to throw it away. So you don’t need to hide them in paper bags.

At the office we capture them alive and feed them to a snake we got especially for them.
Before the snake we just drowned them in a barrel.

Sorry for the freckles, I can’t help that.

Oh just an FYI. You do not have “A” mouse in the house. You have several and you’ll have plenty more if you do not get them handled. It may be just a mouse but a mouse can be a real pain in the butt and expensive as well. Mice have an affinity for breaker boxes. I worked as an electrician’s apprentice for a summer and we got at least 2-3 calls a week where mice had either chewed up wires or nested and eventually shorted out breaker boxes. It was always a simple fix but there is no such thing as a cheap electrician call.

Chewing on wires is definitely what I am worried about the most. He’s up here on the top floor and there is a cable drop through the ceiling in the closet he ran into, so maybe he got in through there from the attic.

I want to open the closet to take a closer look, but I don’t want him to just run out somewhere else (if he’s still in there, I think I heard a little scrabbling in there earlier) before I have traps set up. Also, I am thinking I should just let him venture out tonight on his own, since if I flush him out he might just bolt right past the traps without stopping for a snack.

This is not the sort of strategy game I envisioned playing today.

I don’t get families of mice breeding in my house, but occasionally – once every few years or so – one comes in from outside. In general it’s pretty easy for me to corner it, box it in a shoebox or something like that, and dump it outside again without even the momentary angst for such a tiny little life… No doubt my attitude would change if they were all over the place.

If you ever give up on the no-kill approach, Amazon sells an electronic mousetrap that works really well. Mice would often outsmart the snap traps, but no mouse has ever run off with my bait in the electronic trap. As a bonus, it’s bloodless, reusable, and far easier to set up (hint: wrap peanut butter in a layer of tissue paper to avoid a mess). And for some reason it’s more attractive to mice than the snap traps (i.e. I nearly always catch the mouse on the first night, the snap traps could take a few days). Best of all if you have squeamish family members, you can’t see the mouse until you empty the trap (an indicator light tells you when it’s time).

@magnet - Excellent I’m going to try that in my garage! Mouse droppings are especially dangerous for my lungs as they dry out and become dusty airborne there. Can you do an Amazon (or any) link to the exact thing you use?

Here is the one I use

Put it lengthwise against a wall, because mice like to run along walls and explore little hidey-holes. Don’t overbait, a teaspoon of PB is more than enough. Put the PB into a small paper “taco” and lean it against the back wall, so it doesn’t spill onto the plates. There are holes along that wall so rodents can smell your delicious feast.

Once it’s on, check the indicator every day or two.

I like the fact that, somewhere out there, there are people whose job is inventing better mousetraps :)

Counterpoint: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/311/a-better-mousetrap?act=0#play

I looked at the electronic traps, as I am all about technofixes, but I was wary of having to clean it and possibly debug it. I wonder whether there are wifi smartraps out there with cameras and an app (probably so).

I’m pretty good with insects, but skittering rodents give me the creeps.

It’s far easier to clean than the snap traps. Even if you don’t reuse snap traps, every so often the trap will, uh, basically gib the mouse. That may require decontaminating the area around the trap.

In contrast, the electronic traps leave the mouse dead of a heart attack but completely intact. You just need to open the top and dump the mouse into the trash. If you are fastidious, I suppose you could wipe down the chamber but I rarely do unless I see a drop of mouse urine.

Not sure what you mean by debugging. The electronics are not much more complicated than a doorbell.

I’ve dealt with mice in our house. They sneak in from outside and then work their way around inside the walls.

I’ve never used mouse attractant. Peanut butter works well as bait. I’ve also used dried shrimp as bait with success.

As for types of traps, I’ve tried some live capture traps without any success. Snaps traps have been very effective and easy to use so long as you aren;t squeamish

We lived in an old house with a big backyard for almost 30 years. The first few years we saw mice, we used live traps. But then we figured out that when we were taking them outside and let it go all they did was run around for a while and eventually come back into the house because it was cold outside! At that point we went to the traditional type of mouse traps and really didn’t look back.

Supposedly, the plastic snap traps kill without decapitating or leaving a bloody mess like a metal trap might do. That’s one of the reasons I thought about placing them in paper lunch bags, just in case the bloody mess perk triggers on a crit.

By debugging, I meant either the plates getting dirty with bait or mouse gunk and not firing off, or not delivering enough juice to kill.

(I overanalyze things.)

Mice will often nest under the refrigerator since it is often warm as it radiates the heat. I used to assist repairman when I was a kid and I cannot tell you how many times a mouse caused a problem by getting stuck in the fan. i always place traps by the refrigerator for that reason. But you to have to remember they are there in the morning.