Do mice have an aversion to spring loaded mouse traps

The first spring loaded mouse traps came about in the late 19th century. A mouse can start breeding within a month or two of being born.

So that is probably at least 500 generations of mice that have lived alongside mouse traps.

Is there any evidence that mice, due to natural selection, have developed an aversion to mouse traps? The mice that are naturally afraid of mouse traps are more likely to survive and reproduce than the ones that are more bold one would assume.

Or is the % of mice exposed to mouse traps such a small % of the mice out there that it didn’t matter?

It’s just plastic and metal (or wood and metal), I don’t think there’s anything in there that they wouldn’t like that they wouldn’t find along the edges of a house or garage. IME, most people don’t know how to properly bait them. That and for how often you see them on TV (especially on older shows), how often do you really see them in a house?

No evidence here that mice have evolved to be smart enough to avoid these traps.

In some locales however, they’ve become quite ingenious in safely getting the bait.

Probably not enough time for any evolution to take place. 500 generations is hardly enough.

There’s also nothing to identify a trap – no characteristic smell, for instance. The materials are all over the place (wood and metal) and there are traps made of plastic now that mice wouldn’t have come up against a century ago. Traps also depend on certain behavior patterns that serve the mice well in general (they tend to run along walls, which is good when there’s a predictor, but no good if there’s a trap put there).

You could ask the mice I’ve trapped with the spring traps. A dab of peanut butter with a piece of Frito attached brings them every time.

The old wive’s tale I was taught was that if you heard the trap being sprung and immediately removed the fresh mouse corpse, you could reuse the trap. but if the mouse had been there for more than a brief time, there would be a smell of decay which would cause any other mice to avoid that particular trap. I never tested this theory in a scientific fashion; it may be giving too much credit to mice intelligence.

I use those sticky traps, that just get thrown away. Checked one behind the dryer in the laundry room and it was loaded with a dead mouse a week ago. Didn’t get to removing it until garbage night and there was a second mouse. So the notion they are alarmed by a dead mouse doesn’t seem to necessarily be the case. There’s a seam in the wall they are getting in (I assume) from the attached garage, need to fix that.

IME, No, mice do not avoid traps that have held their dead relatives for over a weekend.

I have one trap that has been trapping mice for over 52 years that I know of. I have often set it on thursday, gone away for the weekend, & found a two-day dead mouse in it on Monday. Tuesday morning it had caught another mouse.

Also, IME, peanut butter over a short string attached to the trigger works very well.
I often put two traps near each other on the same wall. The set spring bails facing each other about 6" apart works well for me. I have caught two mice on these two traps overnight before.

I used to have some major mice issues until some Ferrel cats moved onto my property.

If you load those traps with gooey brownies you will always get a mouse.

PS if you are finding them in your laundry room, they might be coming in through the dryer vent. That’s where mine were coming in.

I got a cat. She took care of it. Forever. Much more efficient than continually having to make brownies so I had good bait.

Will has cats?!

This - if your traps aren’t working, you’re not using peanut butter.

I wouldn’t want to use a sticky trap. I had a mouse get stuck on one in the garage(My wife likes them to prevent bugs getting in the garage), and it screamed in fright for two hours. I finally had to roll it in some newspaper, and crush it with a hammer.

Did you know mice scream? Neither did I.

It’s one of the few things that American industry still knows how to manufacture economically. Lititz, Pennsylvania. I have a few nailed to my walls, for note hangers.

500 generations is plenty of time for natural selection to occur- but natural selection isn’t necessarily weeding out enough trap-fearful mice to create a strain of mouse that won’t go near them. There’s a very good chance that any given non-fearful mouse has given birth of has sired several litters of mice before they meet their end in a trap. The traps would have to be numerous enough, I mean hundreds or traps per household- to create a evolutionary pressure for natural selection to favor trap-fearful mice. They just breed much faster than the traps can kill them.

A family of rats found some old bags of cashews and pecans in my basement pantry that I’d long forgot about.

Since then I’ve had great success with live cage traps. A little marshmallow dipped in peanut butter is irresistible, and usually catches a rat within a couple hours. Caught about 8 of them over a week or so.

Glue traps are cruel. The squealing was probably from the pain of trying to peel himself off of the glue to escape. If you’re not around to promptly dispatch a trapped mouse, then they slowly die of thirst or starvation; not a good way to go.

Either live-catch them and release them far from your home, or kill them quickly with some kind of snap trap; don’t make them suffer needlessly.

I used to use peanut butter but the mice here have learned to lick most of it off of the bait pedal without setting the thing off. So, now I jam a half-peanut into the curled-up part of the pedal and that seems to work.

Tried one of those new-fangled plastic clam shell traps but after witnessing a mouse literally jumping up and down on it to get the bait loose, I gave up on those.

We tried one of these, because they’re easier to set, but never again.

Twice now they’ve caught a rat across part of its body, horribly maiming it but not killing it. We could tell because we’d suddenly hear frightening eeking noises from the backyard, and then my husband has to go out and finish the job with a shovel, which is a gruesome task.

It’s back to the old wood-and-metal traps for us.

Oh, and I watched a couple of videos about those electrocution rattraps, but they don’t do a great job, either. Sometimes they quickly kill the rat, and sometimes the poor thing convulses about, and then gets up and walks away unsteadily after a minute. Nope to those, too.

Often when a mouse catches a limb in a sticky trap, they’ll chew it off in order to escape. :frowning:

My son and I rigged up a mousetrap many years ago, and sent it to Ranger Rick, which published it. Start with a dinner plate and a Danish cookie tin (or the like), and prop up the edge of the inverted tin with a long enough vertical breadstick, that will leave about a two inch opening. The mouse goes in and enjoys the breadstick, until the tin falls, trapping the mouse inside, where he eats his fill for the rest of the night. In the morning, my son takes the whole thing far enough from the house that the mouse can’t find his way home again, lifts the tin from the plate, and watches the mouse scamper away to find his new home (somebody else’s pantry). Catch one every night until they are all gone.

I caught the mice that started this thread, but I was watching youtube videos about mice and mousetraps and the mice seemed very scared of mousetraps. I didn’t know if that was their normal behavior or if that was something they either learned or had built into them via natural selection.

My method was to superglue half a peanut to the trap. The mice seemed to like that.