The Best Mouse Trap Thus Far
We used up our last glue trap and couldn’t buy any more (we were still up in the mountains at the time and shopping options were very limited) so I went online and found this “tilting plate” trap which I was able to build in 15 minutes or so for FREE. I’m happy to report we caught three mice the first night! The glue traps are kinda’ expensive and did seem a bit on the inhumane side plus I then had to drown the varmints in a plastic bag and store them until we could get rid of our trash — not exactly convenient. Now they drown themselves in short order and all I have to do the next morning is gently remove the hinge pin and the tilting plate, walk out a short distance away from our house and pour ’em out onto the ground — easy breezy. And if predators don’t mind the soapy flavor too much, they get a free meal outta’ the deal. No poisons = safe for remaining wildlife. One guy wrote about putting his dead mice on top of nearby fence posts first thing each morning. After the first few days, the crows were sitting there *waiting* for their FREE breakfast!
The pics below detail how simple this trap is to build. I used a plastic Folger’s coffee “can” and heated up the end of one of our metal shish-kabob skewers to melt two small holes through the plastic near the top. (A nail held with pliers over the burner flame can be used as well.) These two holes are across from each other — centered on the can diameter.
We have a whole bag of those bamboo skewers so I used one of them as the hinge pin.
Then (using scissors) I cut a paper plate down a little smaller than the top of the coffee can. I folded down two sides vertically and used the pointed end of the bamboo skewer on a soft surface to carefully poke two holes through the vertical sides. (One can spin the skewer in these new holes to make sure the fit isn’t too tight.)
The placement of these holes is really the only “critical” consideration as 2/3 of the plate should remain on one side of the pivot pin and rest on top of the can. The other third of the plate hangs out in mid-air and that is where the peanut butter bait is — on top but at the middle point of the outer edge.The idea is that when the mouse walks over to get the bait, the plate tips and dumps him into the soapy water below. (I use Dawn dishwashing liquid — a puddle about the size of a quarter — and fill the can no more than half full with water.)
Ideally the weight of the empty plate itself (once the mouse slides off) causes the plate to fall back down kinda’ level and reset the trap automatically. Another consideration is the molded-in “handle” of the coffee can. I melted my pin holes so that the handle ended up under the supported portion of the plate to make sure the mice can’t slide down onto the handle and maybe have a chance to get away.
Once their feet get wet and slippery in the soapy water, it’s all over. I also trimmed the bait end of the plate a bit so that it doesn’t reach down into the soapy water and get the plate or the bait wet.
But I noticed that sometimes the plate went past the tipping point and stayed there. The trap didn’t reset itself — not good. (I reset it manually once the first night.) So I added a 2nd bamboo skewer — 1″ down from the prior pivot pin holes and 1/2″ towards the bait which allows the plate to tip nearly vertical (unloading the mouse) and then reset automatically every time.
Not only is this trap FREE to build but one must only use a tiny amount of peanut butter at the outer edge or the weight of the bait tips the plate prematurely. Then it’s just a matter of sitting the trap on the floor where the mice are most likely to come in at. I also put a smaller container (about half the height of the coffee can) right next to the trap so the mice can reach to get up on top of the trap.
They never even get a taste of the bait but one should replace the bait with fresh peanut butter every evening for best results. We’ve found that field mice tend to be most active just as it’s starting to get dark so that’s a good time to replace the bait though the trap can be left set up 24/7. This trap is also perfectly quiet whereas mice struggling in the glue traps and banging the traps around have woke us up before and I lost one which I tossed outside (glue trap and all) in the dark. I’ve also had them escape from the glue trap several times inside which hardly seems possible but it happens. This new trap dispatches them in relatively short and humane order and it’s perfectly quiet — no survivors. Others have built similar contraptions with larger buckets which can be left unattended for up to one week at a time. One guy went to his cabin every weekend and one time he found 30(!) mice in his bucket — now that’s effective and poison-free population control. This trap works so well, I doubt we’ll ever again have to waste money on any store-bought mouse traps. 🙂