From time to time, you might find that you come across the odd uninvited house guest in the shape of a mouse, looking for somewhere nice and cosy to stay the night. Or, if you have a cat that likes to bring you live presents, you could end up with a furry friend running around. It's never too early to prepare for rodents entering your house, but it can be difficult to know where to start.
While they're sweet to look at, mice can cause havoc in your home, nibbling through walls and boxes, and potentially even causing issues with wiring or spread diseases.
Read on for our full guide on dealing with mice, as well as the best mice traps you can use to trap your unwanted guest humanely.
How do you know if you have a mouse?
Despite being nocturnal and therefore making them hard to spot during the day, mice tend to leave little clues for us, such as droppings, marks on walls or gnaw marks - and of course, holes in walls, cupboards and boxes. If you've seen any of these, it's likely you have a mouse or two.
According to the Woodland Trust, there are many different types of mice in the UK that can find their way into your home including house mice, field mice, harvest mice and yellow-necked mice.
They've gotten smarter over time and have actually become very good at living with humans, so traditional methods like sprays or home remedies may no longer work, but it's always worth giving these a try, too. Read more on peta.org about living with mice.
Steps to get rid of mice quickly
When heading indoors, the biggest pull for mice will be food sources. Keep your kitchen and living areas clean of crumbs, keep food in airtight containers and ensure your rubbish bin is also sealed to reduce smells. Find out more about keeping your home clean and fresh here.
Avoid leaving any garden debris such as paper or cardboard in piles near your home, as mice are also attracted to these. If you have bird feeders, mice may also be tempted to head your way, so try to keep them far from the house.
If in doubt or you're struggling to contain the problem, it may be time to speak to a professional for some advice.
How to catch a mouse humanely
Many people opt for a live mouse catcher which means the mouse can be released afterwards. According to PETA, glue traps, poison and other kill options can mean a rodent will suffer for days before eventually dying in agony, which nobody wants on their conscience.
There are many different types of traps, some of which include: jaw mousetraps, spring-loaded bar mousetraps, electric mousetraps, live-capture mousetraps, glue mousetraps, bucket mousetraps and disposable mousetraps. Personally, we would recommend a more humane and natural one.
We've listed the best-selling non-kill, humane mouse catchers for you below, but keep reading for our top tips on what to do before and after.
Best mouse traps
1. KEPLIN Humane Mouse Trap
This is the best-selling mouse trap on Amazon due to its success rate, it's simplicity to use and its price.
How it works: Place a nut or other tempting treat inside the trap, and lock it once the mouse has been caught. The trap features a sensitive spring on a pedal, which triggers the door to close. The trap can be cleaned out after you have freed the mouse, and used over and over again.
Review: "Bought this based on reviews and I'm pleased to say it fought our mousey friend within hours! I placed it near where there were droppings and used Nutella as bait. It was slightly fiddly to set up and I was afraid the mouse might be able to set the trap off from the outside, as I kept doing while I was positioning it! But it was all fine once in place. This was one of 5 humane traps we had deployed!"
2. GPISEN Humane Mouse Trap
This trap is very sensitive, so will have no problems catching your house guest. There's lots of room for them to move around, it's simple to use and easy to clean.
How it works: Place the bait inside the trap, and wait for the mouse to enter. U-shaped slots on the door keep the mouse inside until you can remove it; then wash, and use again. This trap is big enough to even catch rats; the extra room in this one means the mouse has plenty of room to move around until you can release it.
Review: "These are superb. We had a family of field mice living under the shed. Having been there all winter, they weren't a problem, but with breeding season upon us, we needed to relocate them. Placed two traps this morning and within an hour I caught one. Second came this afternoon. Totally unharmed. Took them for a walk into some nearby woodland and released fit and healthy. Highly recommended."
3. IIWEY Humane Mouse Trap
This trap is designed to mimic a real mouse hole and comes with an instruction manual to get the best use out of it. If the mouse is very small, this may not be as efficient, but you can tape a coin to the trap to help trigger it.
How it works: Similar to previous models we've chosen, simply load the trap with bait and wait for the mouse to step inside and trigger the door closing, to safely wait for you to release it.
Review: "This literally does what it says on the tin. We had a rogue mouse on the loose in our utility room for a few days that got away from the cat, thought I would give this a go as it wasn't that expensive and to my delight, we got the little blighter on the first try, put some cheese in the food compartment in the evening and found it about an hour later, then released it as safely as possible. Very effective."
4. Pest-Stop PSTTB Trip Trap Boxed
This budget option gets the job done, but won't break the bank. It's easy to use but isn't as big as some of the others on the list.
How it works: Load up the bait, wait for your mouse to enter the trap and safely be captured inside, then empty safely ready to be cleaned and used again.
Review: "This is the best humane mouse trap I've tried. 3 mice within 12 hours of them (2) being delivered. I feed the garden birds so have peanuts, fastballs and sunflower hearts stored in the garage. Every year, despite all the food being in plastic containers with well fitting lids, we get mice move in for the winter. If you don't keep on top of them you get a team and then a crowed and so on. If you don't like killing rodents then these work very well, toasted bread never fails."
5. The Big Cheese Live Catch Mouse Traps (2-Pack)
Simple but effective, plus you get a pack of two, so they're great value too.
How it works: This mouse trap has a simple 'tip and trap' mechanism, keeping the mouse in place with a locking bar to prevent escape.
6. SWISSINNO SuperCat CATCH ALIVE Mouse Trap
Made from grey plastic, this mouse trap is not just humane but also shields you from seeing the mouse, if you're not keen on looking at the pests.
How it works: It's activated by a trigger, keeping the mouse safely inside eating the bait that you've inserted. Release it into the wild without worrying about making eye contact.
What is a live catch trap?
A live catch rodent trap is usually a chamber or cage which is fitted with trigger-activated doors. Once the mouse has started tucking into a tasty treat, the door will shut without harming the mouse and will keep it safe for you to be able to release it. These humane mouse and rat traps are reuseable, of course, and can be used time and time again to safely catch the mice.
Best mouse trap bait - what attracts mice to mouse traps?
Wondering what to put on a mouse trap? Despite eating seeds in their natural habitat, mice are attracted to high-calorie sweets and fatty foods, such as peanut butter, cheese, bread, chocolate and honey make the best bait for mouse traps. Marshmallows and beef jerky are also good options.
Related: How to get rid of silverfish
Where should you put a mouse trap?
If you've identified a special route that your mouse likes to take, put the rodent trap in its path. If you're not sure where he's travelling, place it near the mouse droppings as it's likely he'll return here. The good thing about most of these mouse traps is that they're small and compact so can easily be tucked away in the corner of any room without looking too unattractive.
How to set up a mouse trap?
Whichever humane mouse trap you choose should come with a set of instructions to tell you how to set it up correctly. Ensure you read through any guidelines and check for any online tutorial videos before attempting to set it up.
What should you do after setting the trap?
You should check the rodent or rat trap as often as possible, as mice can die from stress or dehydration in just a matter of hours. You don't want all your effort to help the little critter get out alive to be for nothing!
Related: How to get rid of mould
Where should you release a mouse?
It's important to take your mouse as far away from your home as possible, otherwise, they will simply make their way back in. General advice suggests that three miles is an acceptable distance to deter it from heading straight back. The traps mentioned are no-touch traps, so there's no need to handle the mouse when you release it.
Will mice leave on their own?
If you'd found a nice cosy home with plenty of food, would you leave? We didn't think so. It's likely that mice will come and go freely, but it's rare that they will move their nest back outside, even if the weather warms up.
Do mice know to avoid traps?
Mice have an incredible sense of smell, so while they may not know to avoid a mouse trap, they will know if a human has been near it - so they'll avoid the area. Wearing gloves when setting up a trap can help to keep your scent away from it.
Do mice come out during the day?
Mice are nocturnal, preferring to stay hidden during the day and search for food in the evenings and overnight. That's why you often hear scratching when you're trying to get to sleep.
Related: Best carpet cleaners for pets
Mouse traps that kill
There is a huge range of mouse traps that aim to kill, and as such are not humane, and there are lots of reasons why not to use them. These traps include:
Traps using poison and bait
Mouse glue traps
The dangers of using kill traps
There are plenty of reasons why a humane mouse trap is preferable and recommended, and not just because they're better for the mouse. We know that humane mouse traps keep the mouse safe and out of harm, and you can get rid of them out of your house without killing or hurting the mouse; inhumane traps will injure, hurt and harm the mouse, causing them pain and suffering - nothing an animal lover wants.
Snap traps are one of the most popular types of mouse trap, but they do kill the mouse - normally instantly - and we prefer a trap that doesn't result in mouse death.
Other reasons for choosing a humane mouse trap include the possibility of a mouse getting injured by a trap, then disappearing behind your walls or under your floorboards, and dying in an inaccessible area - meaning that decomposing mouse body is going to smell.
Related: Advice on maggots
Sticky traps are troublesome because again they trap the mouse and leave them stuck - potentially for days if you don't check it regularly, resulting in a slow death. They can only be used once, shouldn't be used outside, and should definitely not be used around children.
Children - a reason in themselves to choose a humane mouse trap. Not only does a humane option teach children about looking after animals in the right way, but they're also much safer. Curious children will be fascinated and you don't really want them fiddling around with mouse traps, or the half-dead mouse stuck in one.
There are also disposable mouse traps, which aren't recyclable or eco-friendly, so we don't recommend these either.