Better Mousetraps

(and rat traps too)

by Pam Green , © 2006, 2020

If you are troubled by the presence of mice, the kind that don't communicate with your computer, and you don't have a mouse-catching cat in your household, then you probably are in search of a mouse elimination method that is safe for use around dogs. Likewise if you have a problem with rats, you almost certainly want to be rid of them. Both mice and rats can be a source of Leptospirosis , which infects dogs and humans. Mice can be a source of Hanta virus, which infects humans. Rats , as we should all know, are a source of Plague, also known as The Black Death.

mouse traps

Ordinary mousetraps risk snapping on an inquisitive nose or paw unless placed totally out of reach of your dogs (and cats, if any). Ordinary rat traps are dangerous to any size of dog and likewise to curious children, and indeed I am always afraid of catching my own fingers in these traps.

Poison can be a lethal danger, whether obtained first hand by eating the bait or second hand by eating the dead rodent, and thus is an unacceptable risk to your dogs and other pets


Glue traps are effective for mice and are safe for dogs and cats , though they might get caught up in a dog's coat , especially the Bouvier beard, and they are rather inhumane to the mouse. I have found that glue traps do not work very well for rats , although others report better results with them. (By the way, if a glue trap lands glue side down on your floor, you can un-stick it by repeated applications of any type of cooking oil, which will act as a solvent. The same should work for a glue trap caught on your dog's hair.)

victory with the Victor trap

The Victor Quick Set mousetrap, a moustrap which is safer for use around dogs.

The "Victor" mouse trap

The Victor "Quick SetTM" mousetrap seems to me to be reasonably safe for all but small dogs (who might insert a paw or nosetip into the trap's business end). I'm not so sure it would be safe for use around cats, as they like to fish their paws into everything. The trap is set by squeezing the end at the top of the "V" , thus opening and setting the business end at the bottom of the "V". When a mouse is caught, you can re-open the trap with your hand or , if you are more fastidious, with a kitchen tong (in upper right of picture). Then the trap can be re-set. If you set the trap right at the junction of floor and wall, you will be setting it right on the path that the mice travel, and thus will be most likely to catch a mouse. When set on a mouse pathway, the trap is fairly succesful even without any bait. If you do use bait, I suggest peanut butter smeared onto the plastic body of the trap, not on the trigger portion. The trap trigger is so sensitive that the weight of bait set on the trigger will prevent the trap from remaining set, ie will spring the trigger. Even though I consider this trap relatively safe for medium to large dogs, I still suggest placing it as much out of reach of all your pets as possible, and likewise out of reach of children.

I prefer to place the trap inside a "strawberry box", ie the plastic box that a pound of berries is sold in at the grocery store, with a hole cut in each end to allow the mouse to enter. Place this along a travel route in an area outside the reach of dogs.

The Quick Set mousetraps come in packages of 2 traps for $5, which is about twice the cost of ordinary mousetraps, but well worth it and cost effective as the traps are more readily re-used than the ordinary mousetrap. You can re-use each trap many times.


Rat traps

Unfortunately the Quick Set mousetrap does not come in an equivalent Quick Set rat-trap. However I have found that "The Black HoleTM" , which is intended for gophers, works very well for rats. There is another Victor product "The Black BoxTM" that is intended for moles and gophers. Of the two , I prefer the Black Hole. Both products act to garrot the rat or gopher with a wire that is triggered by a trip plate inside the trap.
For more information about Victor traps, see <>.

Of course another way to keep your home free of mice and rats is to add almost any of the small rodent-killing Terriers to your pack, eg a Jack Russell or a Border Terrier. A Terrier will probably be more compatible with your Bouviers than a cat as not all Bouvier will let a cat live in peace. But remember that owners of these Terriers do not refer to them as "terrorists" just to make a good joke !

update on rat traps

"Tom Cat" makes both mouse traps and rat traps, made of a strong black plastic material. The rat traps look like a larger more powerful version of the mouse trap, and they are very effective ! I've used them a lot. Place them wherever my dogs tell me rats have been lurking. (FoxTheWickedQueensland is very good at pointing out rat lurk areas.)

If you want to bait the trap with peanut butter, you can use a wooden "craft stick" (same as a popsickle stick) or other item to place the bait onto the trap's trigger. Do NOT use your fingers, as you sure do not want to make a mistake and get fingers caught !

You won't be able to set the trap or release the caught rat with just a kitchen tong. I step on the set / release end with my foot. Then remove the dead rat with kitchen tongs. (I then take the dead rodent out to an open area where I hope a vulture will benefit. I can do that because I live in a rural area. You will probably prefer a garbage can.)

For both mouse and rat traps, I place the set trap inside a container that has holes at both ends, then set the container where rodents lurk or travel. Make damn sure that you set it where your dogs or cats can't reach it !

For mouse traps, the plastic box from a pound of berries makes a good container and it's easy to cut holes in it. For the rat traps something bigger is needed. A cardboard box would work or a plastic one. Usually the rat will cause the box and trap to move , fall away, from it's position as the rat is caught. Plan for this to be somewhere out of reach of your dogs. (My rather predatory Kelpie, Bug, has been known to eat the part of a caught mouse protruding from a trap. ugh !!!)

TomCat rat trap, not set

TomCat trap, not set, view from above

TomCat rat trap, set inside container

set trap, inside plastic container, cover with hole removed
placed in kitchen area where rat can find it
(area blocked from dog access, blocking items removed for photo)

further UPDATE :

I don't see the Victor trap at my local hardware, but there's a mouse trap called "Intruder, the better mousetrap" that looks essentially the same. "TomCat" makes a mousetrap that is a smaller version of their rat trap. "Jawz" makes a mouse trap and a rat trap. The rat trap comes in two versions, in one of which the trap is inside a cover. All of these are spring-loaded easy-to-set and easy-to-release the dead rodent, then re-set and re-use.

Look in the Pest Control section of your local hardware store.


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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 1/1/06 revised 1/02/06, 1/28/2020
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