What's the most humane way of killing mice?

Glue traps sound horrific.

Poison apparently kills them very slowly through internal bleeding and is painful. Is that true? Is there any poison that kills them more humanely?

Electric traps are apparently unreliable at actually killing the mouse.

Are the traditional spring-loaded snap-traps reliable at killing the mouse? I’m not too squeamish about the mouse dying, as long as it dies quickly and painlessly.

Snap traps, in my experience, seem to kill mice pretty quickly. The bar comes down violently on their head or neck; I won’t say it’s absolutely painless in all cases, but if there is any struggling or thrashing, it tends to be very brief.

If you’re concerned about minimizing a mouse’s suffering, consider the alternative, which is being taken by a predator who will show no such concern. The mouse will be gripped and/or shredded by a bird’s beak, or a quadruped’s teeth and claws possibly over the course of a few minutes. If it’s a given that a mouse is going to experience a violent death, then dying over the course of a couple of seconds in a snap trap seems like the better option.

I agree with Machine Elf. In my experience, snap traps either break the mouse’s neck/back, or the trap is sprung with no capture at all. I’ve never had a snap trap get a mouse by the tail or some other body part that leaves the mouse flailing around in pain. I think the key is using peanut butter or some other sticky substance for bait – something the mouse can’t grab and dash away with.

Live traps are even less painful.

To quote the eminent Dorothy Parker:

But what do you do with it? If you release it near your house, it’ll come straight back. If you release it into the wild it’ll die of starvation or being eaten by predators because house mice aren’t adapted to survival in the wild. Releasing it near someone else’s house seems to defeat the point.

I think the classic snap-traps do sound like the best option, I’m basically just looking for confirmation that those type of traps don’t tend to trap mice by their legs or tails accidentally, for instance…

Lethal Injection

Hoook 'em up to a Kevorkian machine.

Eh, live traps are less painful now, but then what? You have to move a mouse very, very far away for him to set up housekeeping elsewhere. If you’re not willing to drive your found mouse 10 miles away before releasing it, it will come back, just like the stories of lost cats and dogs finding their homes many miles away. In the meantime, he may suffer painful malnourishment, dehydration, cat attacks, fights with other mice for territory or food, etc.

The life of an outdoor mouse is brutal and short, no matter what. The life of a house mouse is relatively kush, actually, and I have no problem with snap traps when the mice break our deal and start being a presence inside the home.

Plus, you know that toxoplasmosisthat people are freaked out about getting from their cats’ litterbox? It’s actually carried by mice. Your cat is toxo free, unless it’s caught and eaten an infected mouse. You’re protecting your kitties and your family members from brain infesting protazoa by keeping the place mouse free.

I’ll concur with the others that the typical snap-trap are the most humane.

IMO poison is the worst and the mice will hole up to suffer and die, usually somewhere inaccessible, leaving their carcass and an awful smell behind for you to try and find.
Bucket traps are efficient in killing a large number of mice but the drowning part is pretty horrific.
Glue and live traps leave the mice to suffer for a long, long time until they finally dehydrate and die.

The best bait is a bit of peanut butter for smell with a dab of chocolate syrup for taste. It’s like crack for mice!
Nutella also works well.

From the OP:

…emphasis mine.

Whynot beat me to it.

Mice also can potentially carry a myriad of other parasites and diseases such ticks, fleas, tapeworms, Hantavirus, Typhus, Leptospirosis, Salmonella, dysentery the list goes on.

  1. Catch mouse in live trap
  2. Dump live mouse into paper snack bag
  3. Close top of bag
  4. Walk Outside to concrete pavement (sidewalk, driveway, street)
  5. Place bag on ground
  6. Stomp
  7. Eulogy

Rodents that are raised as food (for reptiles) are usually killed by putting them in the freezer. Some consider this to be pretty humane (they just go to sleep and never wake up).

Of course it only works if your mouse is in a captive state to begin with.

Unfortunately, I have seen a mouse with only it’s legs caught in a snap trap. I don’t think they guarantee a quick death, although the odds are probably in favour of it. I do agree they are far more humane than glue traps.

Ideally, you want something that can kill the mouse more quickly than it’s nervous system can respond. A nuke is probably overkill, high explosives should be perfectly adequate for the job.

Jeezus. I with humans would stop being so selfish and get over our own squeamishness. Humane for who? The mouse? Is that why we humanely kill people who need killing by leaving them out in a snowbank? Sure, eventually you fall asleep and die, so I suppose you could consider the death itself technically humane, but the minutes or hours of torturous cold and frostbite before that, where you feel your toes stabbing with burning pain, and then you don’t feel them at all, and the air is scorching your lungs with its cold fingers and you’re coldcoldcold bone cold and this sucks and why can’t you just get warm?

I mean, I’ve never frozen to death, but I’ve spent some cold nights in a tent, and it’s pretty damn torturous.

I used to work in the basement of an office building. Every now and then there would be a hatch and you’d get about a dozen mouse sightings on any given day. There was one lady I worked with who’d always struck me as a savagely hot feral country girl who was captured, sort of tamed, put into a dress, and then released into the office. Brilliant, and very capable but…she could catch mice with her bare hands as easily as you or I could grab a doughnut out of a box. Then she’d put them in a bag, and stomp on it. She challenged me to come up with a more humane way of dispatching them–poisons, snaps, glue, catch & release into the wild for predation–and I had to admit she was right. But it was all so horribly incongruous to me at the time.

the anticoagulant poisons cause the mice to seek water. they will likely leave the house and do that well before they die.

the snap traps will kill instantly. the trick is to force the mouse to trip the trigger which is done effectively with peanut butter. the metal trigger type has a hook to hold the bait, wedge a peanut chunk from crunchy peanut butter under that. another bait trigger has a larger plastic platform with holes in it, smearing creamy peanut butter into those holes works well. don’t overbait the trap, you want little bait there so the mouse has to move hard against the trigger to get it. peanut butter is very stinky, mice have smell to seek out that type of food.

if you have a situation where you can check the snap traps every day or two then they work well. a sprung trap with a dead mouse in it doesn’t work, though it will still feed other mice.

if you have a situation where you can’t check every day, like a crawl space, then poison bait works well. put the bait in a bait station (heavy [ to the mouse] enclosure with mouse sized holes in it) or nail the bait to a small piece of wood. the mouse has to eat the poison in place and can’t carry it off and cache it, you can also see how active that location is.

They never did in my house. At least, every time we’ve had to set out the poison, we’ve had to deal with the stench of death and hunting for the source.

It might be more humane than it sounds. The mouse will probably succumb much faster to the cold than a human. Being a much smaller creature, it’s ratio of surface area to volume is many times higher. If it’s core body temperature drops quickly enough it wouldn’t suffer much. A typical freezer runs at about -18 C, a mouse probably can’t survive that for long. I wouldn’t make any assumptions without seeing actual data.

Perhaps they suffer for only 5 agonizing minutes, then? Oh, that’s humane.

And do we know anything about the time perception of mice in cold? The hours between midnight and sunrise take about two weeks in my freezing tent.

Once core temperature significantly drops, humans tend to report drowsiness rather than actual pain. As I said, I wouldn’t make assumptions either way.