How to get rid of a mouse

Do you have a mouse in your house? Learn how to set a mousetrap so that it will catch that pest.

Do you hear scurrying feet in the attic above you? Do you find little black droppings in your kitchen drawers? It sounds like you have a mouse in the house. Fortunately it is not difficult to get rid of a mouse. If the mouse has a family, it will be harder, but not impossible.

The classic mousetraps made by Victor work very well. These consist of a wooden base, a spring-loaded bar, and a wire latch. The worst aspect of these traps is that they can be intimidating to learn to set! First, be aware that even if the bar snaps your finger, it's not as painful as you think it would be. Even more important, though, is the fact that you can hold the trap by the edges of the wood base and eliminate all chances of being snapped.

To set the trap, first bait it on the metal loop designed for this purpose. Some people use a tiny piece of bread and butter or a dab of peanut butter, but cheese is the most reliable bait. Don't use too much, or the mouse may steal the food without setting off the trap.

Next, pull back the bar firmly and hold it above the base a fraction of an inch. With the thumb of one hand, hold it firmly while positioning the wire latch with the other. The latch has a curved end that fits delicately under a little notch on the bait holder. Before letting go of the bar, let up pressure a bit to make sure the latch is going to hold. It should be holding the bait up at a tempting angle. If it doesn't latch, try again. When set, carefully slide the trap into the desired location holding it by the edges opposite the end with the bait. Remember that if it should accidentally go off, it can't get your finger if you're holding it by the end opposite the bait. It will startle you, but that is all.

The best place to locate the trap is near the place you saw the mouse. If you haven't seen it, but have heard it, set several traps in out of the way spots in the kitchen, such as on the counter behind the microwave oven, or under the sink. If your stove has a storage drawer at the bottom, this can be a good place to catch a mouse. It is tricky to place a trap down in a drawer, though. Remove any extra things stored in the drawer to give yourself room to place the trap. Make sure there are not things nearby which will interfere with the working of the trap.

After placing the traps, keep an ear open for the sound of a snapping trap. If you have several mice, it is very important to remove the mouse quickly so the other mice won't figure out what the trap is all about! To remove the mouse, take the trap to the bathroom, hold it over the toilet, lift the bar, shake the mouse loose, and flush it down the toilet. Alternatively, you can drop the mouse in the trash. The cleanest way to dispose of the mouse is to throw trap and all into the trash. The traps can be reused, but are not very expensive if you'd rather replace them. Always wash your hands after setting or emptying mousetraps.

There are other types of mousetraps available. All of them come with instructions. If you use a trap designed to spare the life of the mouse, be sure you travel a long way from your home to release it, and don't release it near other homes.

Sticky traps are designed to lure the mouse and keep it adhered to the sticky surface until you can dispose of it. The trouble with these traps is that they don't kill the animal quickly.

Some people choose to use mouse poison in their homes. Poison will kill mice, but it is messy, and the mice are likely to crawl inside a wall to die. Their decomposing bodies will smell bad and you won't be able to find them to remove them. The only real advantage to using poison or a sticky trap is that they do away with the unpleasant task of setting traps. If you just take the time to learn to set a trap, you will find that it really isn't difficult or scary at all.

Finally, to really declare war on mice, get a good cat. Folklore says that a slender cat with big ears makes a good mouser. Tortoise shell cats are reputed to be good at catching mice, but a good mouser can be any color. Be sure to praise your cat any time it kills a mouse. If your cat has the habit of playing with the mouse and then letting it go, be sure you place your traps in spots that are inaccessible to the cat. This goes for children and other pets as well.

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