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How to Make a No Kill Mouse Trap

2 mice

Mice came in my shop last fall and come spring I had a thriving colony. I did not want to trap and release them in the dead of winter but now that spring is here I am on a mouse trapping campaign.

Mr. Google as usual had many suggestions and I picked this style pretty much at random and also because I had all the materials at hand. Or at least I had as soon as I checked out my neighbour's recycling bin for a soft drink bottle. They had several but the coke plastic bottle was slightly stiffer and stronger so I took it.

I checked my closet for a metal clothe hanger and found one which was quite sturdy. It also had a little cap on the end of the curved bit to finish the end of the hanger. High class hanger I think.

2 holes

I then found the balance point of the bottle. I just put it on a pencil and found the spot where the bottle see sawed onto the pencil perfectly balanced. I then marked this balance spot with a magic marker. I also marked the same spot on the other side.

I found a nail that was a bit larger than the clothe hanger I had and holding it with a pair of pliers, I heated it. I was then able to melt my holes on each side of the bottle. I melted just a bit more FORWARD so that the bottle swung back.

mouse trap dis assembled

I cut a piece of wire 5 inches wider than the bottle and curved over one end to make a little loop. I left the other end alone.

I found a piece of wood just a bit wider than the bottle. I just looked in the scrap pile. It does not matter much how long the piece is but I made mine 4 inches longer than the bottle

Scrounging in the wood scraps I found a piece of 1x2 and cut 2 pieces from it. They are about 5 inches long. These will be the pieces on which the bottle pivots.

I took my bottle and placed it on the base of wood and placed the 2 little pieces on the spot where the holes were made in the bottle. I marked this spot on the little pieces, then added a mark 3/4 of an inch higher. That's where I drilled a hole in each of the 1x2.

At this point I placed the wire through the bottle and little pieces of wood. This helped me align the side pieces. I glued and screwed the little pieces of wood so that the front of the bottle reached about 3 inches from the end. After the glued had dried, I threaded the wire through the wood and the bottle and back through the wood and checked that it see sawed nicely. Don't worry at this point if your bottle is not perfectly balanced or perfectly straight. It only needs to pivot well.

mouse trap assembled

You now need to cut a piece of 2x4 so that it is slightly angled. The piece of wood sort of leans back so that when the bottle is pivoted down the bottle opening is blocked and when the bottle is pivoted so its bottom is down the opening of the bottle is free to allow a mouse in. I just cut little chunks off the end using my chop saw, till the angle was good and the bottle could pivot smoothly without catching. When the opening was pivoted down, then the opening was blocked by the piece of wood but when I let go of the bottle it would pivot back smoothly. I glued the 2x4 onto the base. I added a little wooden U in the front but I don't think that does anything.

Notice the little knob at the end of the wire through the wooden piece. This came with the clothe hanger. This keeps the wire from coming out in case the mouse pivots many times and might dislodge the wire. It's unlikely but possible. You could also use a piece of rubber eraser.

I glued and screwed the various pieces together but I think hot glue would work just fine and be faster.

How does the No Kill Mouse Trap Work?

mouse trap

My mouse trap is all assembled and I've put some peanut butter at the top to bait the trap. I also rubbed some peanut butter on the wood so that the mouse would find it's way to the opening of the bottle. Disregard the mouse and pretend it's not there. When I checked my mouse trap it sat nicely with the bottom of the bottle resting against the base as it should but after adding the peanut butter the weight of the peanut butter was enough to make the opening pivot down. I added a bit of duck tape and this was enough weight to pivot the bottom down again. Since the mouse has to get in the bottle opening it needs to be pivoted up.

Along comes the mouse, sniffs the peanut butter, then somehow goes into the bottle. They look too big to fit in but they have no trouble at all going in.

mouse trap

Once the mouse steps into the trap, the bottle with the mouse is heavier at the front and it pivots down and the opening is blocked by the piece of wood. If the mouse moves back the bottle pivots up and the mouse gets lots of air but can't reach the opening, but if it goes forward again the bottle pivots down and the opening is blocked. There are no sharp spots and nothing to hurt the mouse. The mouse didn't want to move forward so I had to lift the bottle to show it in the closed position. Imagine the mouse is forward.

To release the mouse just remove your eraser or little cap in the end of the wire, slide the wire out and take the bottle to wherever you are going to release the mouse. I have piles of brush by the garden and the mice seem to like it so that's where I put them.

mouse trap mouse trap

Here is a mouse in the bottle about to be released. He was a bit worried. They are cute little things and jump and climb really well.

I put the bottle down and backed off for a couple of seconds and the mouse scooted out of the bottle. I rinsed the bottle and re set it with fresh peanut butter.

In 6 days I caught 6 mice. If you make this trap, check it regularly. It would be a bit nasty to go through the trouble of live trapping the mice only to have them starve before you release it.

Here is a video of the mice and the trap.

mouse trap

I suspect that I have rather more mice than I though I had and it might take a bit of time and another trap or 2 to catch them all. So I built another trap that can hold more than one mouse at a time:

email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine