When mice visit your home or office at night, you won't need to buy snap-traps, glue-dishes, arsenic, or expensive cages to get rid of your unwelcome guests.

This webpage provides instructions for assembling a non-lethal, catch-and-release mousetrap, using materials that you already have. The trap is cost-free, easy to prepare, and will not snap on your fingertips. Best of all, it allows you to relocate mice outdoors without harming them.

INTENDED USE This trap is intended to be used indoors and overnight. It is not intended to be left unchecked for more than one day. Mice need to eat and drink frequently to survive, and if a mouse is trapped for more than one day without food and water, he may die of starvation.

CAUTION-DON'T BE STUPID! Mice bite when scared, and they may harbor viruses and bacteria that can be transferred to you via fleas, ticks, lice, etc. Do not pick-up a trapped mouse (dead or alive) with your bare hands. If you have children in your household, take precautions to ensure that they do not play with any trapped mice.


· toilet-paper tube, or paper-towel tube cut in half
· plastic or metal wastebasket, approximately 20 inches tall
· bread-crumbs or other food to serve as bait
· tissue paper
· several sheets of crumpled newspaper

STEP 1. Crease toilet-paper tube to flatten one side. The tube should resemble a tunnel, and will not roll around when laid on its flat side.

STEP 2. Place the toilet-paper tube on the table where mice have been visiting, so that nearly one-half of the tube overhangs the table's edge.

STEP 3. Insert some bait into the end of the tube overhanging the table.

STEP 4. Empty the wastebasket of any trash, and place more bait and the tissue-paper into the bottom of the wastebasket (this will encourage the mouse to eat and go to sleep down there). Then lay the crumpled newspaper loosely inside the wastebasket, to absorb the impact of the mouse's landing (slant the newspaper toward the bottom of the wastebasket).

STEP 5. Position the wastebasket beneath the toilet-paper tube, such that the tube will fall into the wastebasket when tipped off of the table.

If you are using more than one toilet-paper tube, it is preferable to use a separate wastebasket beneath each tube. Mice are territorial, and catching two mice in the same wastebasket may encourage competition (or worse, if they are different genders).


Mice are instinctively attracted to holes and tunnels, and from a mouse's perspective, the toilet-paper tube mousetrap appears to be a cozy hiding place. The mouse will investigate the tube and head toward the bait.


When the mouse crawls through the tube and steps beyond the edge of the table, the tube (and mouse) will fall off the table and into the wastebasket.


After landing on the newspaper in the wastebasket, the mouse will slide and crawl down toward the bottom, where he will find the delicious snacks that you left for him.


Feeding the mouse a good meal discourages him from trying to escape from the wastebasket. After eating, the mouse will make a nest in the tissue paper in the wastebasket, and doze off to sleep.


Do not attempt to remove a live mouse from your wastebasket with your hands. Dump the mouse onto the ground by turning the wastebasket upside-down and tossing the mouse away from you, or by laying the wastebasket on its side and waiting for the mouse to run out.

The toilet-paper tube will probably be contaminated with mouse urine, and will have a mousy odor; this could discourage other mice from entering the tube. After catching a mouse, throw away the toilet-paper tube and newspaper, and wash the wastebasket with detergent.

Mice have relatively short lifetimes, and you may have caught a dying mouse. If your mouse is dead, dump it into a hole and bury it, or dump it onto plastic bags or newspaper, wrap it up, seal it in more bags, and throw it in the trash. If you trust the out-flow pipes from your toilet to accommodate a dead mouse, you may also flush it.


The use of this trap requires good judgement and common sense. I cannot be personally responsible for mishaps that may result from its use.


Your comments or suggestions regarding the mousetrap or my website are welcome. Please write to Allow a few days for a reply.

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Updated April 17, 2009.

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