How Should I Kill This Mouse?

I’d been noticing mouse droppings behind the trash can under my sink, so yesterday I went to the hardware store to buy some poison (the little bags of green pellets).

Poison is my preferred method of killing, since it’s silent and the actual dying happens out of sight—the little guy (I imagine) trots back to his apartment, kisses his wife goodnight, lies down for a nap, and never wakes up. Then, hopefully, the decomposition happens somewhere deep enough in the deepest recesses of my house (or better—he staggers outside), so I don’t have to smell the death, either.

Unfortunately, yesterday at the hardware store I was talking on my cell phone, and what I thought was a multi-pack of poison bags was in fact a combo-pack containing four bags of poison, two snap traps, and two glue traps. I didn’t realize this until I was home and I had opened the package, so—with my wife coming home soon, and wanting to be able to report that I had done my assigned errand—I put out all the traps: snap traps behind the oven, glue traps under the sink, poison bags behind the dishwasher. See, honey, I did my job.

Not so fast. Because after my wife had gone to sleep last night, I heard some funny noises coming from the kitchen. I opened the door under the sink, and found captive #1 stuck to trap #1, but not stuck enough to keep him from making a racket. So I did my manly duty: I swept it into the dustpan, carried it outside, tossed it trap side up on the ground and bashed the poor thing with a giant crowbar to put it out of its misery. I then picked it up with a grocery bag, triple-bagged it, and threw it in the garbage pail in my garage.

Overall, this was a highly unpleasant experience I did not care to repeat. Unfortunately, overnight captive #2 got himself trapped, and as we speak he’s trashing around under my sink.

Hoping there was a more humane (and, let’s be honest, pleasant-for-me) alternative to bashing it with a crowbar, I Googled it:

Yikes. How about …

Hmmm. The Google-supplied answers to my question fell into three broad categories:

  1. “Don’t use sticky traps, they’re inhumane.”
  2. Ridiculously more complicated and time-consuming methods than the crowbar strategy, including a) drowning it in a five-gallon bucket (or, impractically, in your toilet, if you don’t have a bucket and a hose handy); and b) gassing it with carbon dioxide—an approach that requires, first, a handy source of pure carbon dioxide, and second, some kind of bell-jar-of-death contraption. While I’m confident in my ability to build such a thing, the mouse is thrashing around under my sink as we speak, and option B would require additional time neither I nor the mouse has at this point.

So, in case you found this post through a search engine, and assuming it’s too late to not buy a sticky trap because they’re inhumane, how should you kill a mouse that’s already stuck to a glue trap under your sink?

  1. Bring it outside (use a dustpan, if that’s handy, or I guess, pick it up in a grocery bag [or two or three], being careful not to let it bite you. Do this quickly and try not to squeal.)
  2. Drop it on a relatively hard surface, trap side up.
  3. Bash it with a heavy instrument, preferably a sledge hammer or something that has a large surface area (so you don’t really have to swing it and you can be sure you get it with the first blow).
  4. Pick it up with a few grocery bags like you would dog doo.
  5. Throw it in your outside/garage trash cans.
  6. Use poison next time.




About Henry P. Belanger

Henry P. Belanger is a writer, reporter, and an editor-at-large at the Good Men Project. Contact him via email.


  1. Two mice were stuck in a glue trap in this little cabinet built into the wall by my kids’ art table. They were squeaking like birds. I was trying to concentrate on work, but once I checked it out and saw them, struggling, I tried to find a way to put them out of their misery. I wished for some kind of long, electrocution stick or something. It doesn’t feel great, but at least they are not squeaking, slowly and painfully dying. I put an unused glue trap where that one was.

  2. Why does everybody think mice are innocent. They kill other creatures. Steal from each other, kill each other. eat their babies. These mice are criminals, remorseless, violent, criminals. 9 times out of 10 the mice you killed had it comming .

  3. RatKill says:

    I caught 5 rats with 2 glue traps and used my fire extinguisher and it died in seconds.

  4. Simple enough – just put it back in the box and return it.
    Hopefully you bought it at a big box ‘hardware store’ – to hell with them, let them deal with it.

    If that seems cruel (it is) to the rodent, instead gas it to death with pot smoke.

    Please visit the facebook page for more great ideas.

  5. Take it outside and hit it in the head with a hammer. The first blow should kill it instantly, hit once or twice more to be certain, and then wash off the hammer.

  6. Spring traps baited with just a bit of peanut butter are the most humane, quick & reusable method.
    Who would trap and release a tick, mosquito, cockroach, sewer rat…..?
    [Years ago… The interior walls of Rock Center. Building are made of hollow gypsum blocks, while doing elevator lobby restorations we disturbed whole tribes of mice… Called in the exterminator who set dozens of glue traps… Monday morning the laborers went around and found dozens of headless mice.. Evidently the rats like to bite the heads off of trapped mice. Grown men who would only dispose of the traps with long handled shovels…Many times during demolitions I’ve seen guys stomp mice with their feet and smack them with shovels.]

  7. Common Sense says:

    So this says speak your mind right? Here we go.

    The only way I’ve ever been able to catch mice in my home is with glue traps…

    That being said I usually will hear them squeaking right away when caught on the glue trap, then I just grab a plastic bag for a glove, get a little vegetable oil and walk out my front door.

    I proceed to place the trap on my neighbors lawn, toss a bit of cooking oil on the mouse, and he’s free to run back to where he came from in the first place, my neighbors dirty ass house…If he makes it he has a bad ass story to tell his mouse buddies, if not he’s perfectly marinated for the cat walking down the street to take care of the natural order of things for me. (For all of you saying I wouldnt have the problem if I killed them, eat it, theres a mouse factory next door.)

    Moral of the story and a tip for good men: Real men keep clean houses, they also don’t go around wasting time killing small animals… That’s some psycopath sh*t!!!

    We do however take care of the problem in about 2 whole minutes. O yeah and Mary you probably have more disease in your mouth than that mouse. Someone should put you in a bag.

    end rant

  8. Be careful with poison if you have dogs or cats. Dogs are especially sensitive to rat poison and can bleed to death internally if they ingest the poison or a poisoned mouse. Cats metabolize the rat poison a bit differently so it can make them very ill, but they have a better chance of survival. We use the snap traps and the glue traps in drawers. Bat your eyelashes at your husband and ask him to pick up the glue trap, put it in a plastic bag (leave open), place it on a hard surface (glue side down), and step directly and firmly on the trap/mouse until he hears the disease carrying rodent pop. Yes it’s gross, but it kills the mouse quickly. Be sure to tell your husband how strong and manly he is.

  9. Mellisa Carrabello says:

    You all are crazy! Inhumane or not, I want them to suffer! Glue traps rule! I’m tired of being scared of going into my cabinets scared of what I may find. I’ll always use the glue traps 🙂

    • Thank you.. me 2! They are nasty and i absolutly do not care if they are intelligent obvipusly bot intelligent enough 2 not get caught and to stay in the walls.

      I currently have one stuck to a plastic tray glue trap that i set a heavy glass bowl over just in case he does turn savage and bites his leg off to get free he will still be stuck.. im hoping he will just sufocate underthere and that will be the nd of it. I know there is at least one more in the kitchen i can hear it rummaging around on those plastic bags you put your griceries in so ibe set sole morr glue traps and we will see what i catch….

  10. Having a rather large foot and growing up in the country has given me a bit of tolerance to killing mice I suppose. Here is what I do.

    1. Catch mouse in a glue trap.
    2. Take it outside along with 2 plastic bags. Make sure you have on shoes.
    3. Put the trapped mouse in one bag (set the other aside, you’ll need it in a moment) and set it on the ground. DO NOT TIE THE BAG. You need the airflow.
    4. Place the bag on the ground, glue side down.
    5. STOMP. (If the tied the bag before stomping it would bust like a balloon)
    6. Pick up off the ground, put in the second bag, toss in the garbage.

    Now this may sound inhumane but honestly is it any worse than possibly having to hit it multiple times with a crowbar or letting it SLOWLY die by poison (which can seriously backfire if they die in a spot where they will stink from decomp but is hard to reach)? At least my 16EEE will take it out in one swift hit.

  11. Mouse hater says:

    I used to swear by poison – it kills the little rudewords. However, they aren’t the nice of houseguests and are ruder when they die. They die in walls and floorboards are impossible to find, let alone remove. The smell is disgusting, and attracts maggots and flies. Last time it happened – we had so many flies, they looked like a carpet on our ceiling. I have glue traps everywhere, and they finally caught some! After all the destruction they cause – eating our food and leaving droppings everywhere – I am delighted to kill them! Smashing their heads gives me so much satisfaction. Or, if that’s too barbaric – put some poison over them in the glue trap.

  12. In nature, you don’t always die a quick death. Youtube “african wild dogs kudu” if you don’t believe me. Animals get their guts ripped out alive all the time. You can’t save them all. Crushing the mouse in a glue trap is about as quick as an animal can hope to die.

    So don’t give me all this animal rights crap. Release the mouse and it’ll make another batch of little mice that’ll end up having to be killed.

    For those of you who want to kill the mouse – you can take a skewer, make a notch in it -> stick it under the mouse’s neck, tie a string to it -> pull string back -> strangle the mouse

  13. Sometimes the trap misses! I found Ms Rodent quivering next to the trap and walked around with her in a towel trying to figure out how to put her out of her misery as she gasped. I’m going to have the starter fluid handy next time. Cats much prefer little birds, lizards, and any thing that makes little jerky movements (endangered or not) to mice.

  14. I live in NYC and I luckily only have to deal with about six stray mice a year that have wandered into my apartment. I used glueboards in the past, but swore never to use them again, because of their cruelty…I hate mice…but still.

    I just used one again because i had a stubborn mouse that lived happily under my fridge and never touched a snap trap. I laid it down on a Saturday morning , so it wouldn’t suffer long if I wasn’t home when it got caught.

    Within two hours, it got stuck. I never heard a mouse scream so loudly when I checked the trap. I freaked. I googled how to kill it. I had no nearby carbon dioxide…no sledgehammer (city folk) no handgun (believe it or not) and didn’t want to just toss it in the trash.

    I finally got a bucket, filled it with water and dropped the board in. I held it down with a broom. I have no idea how long it took the mouse to die because i left it there for half an hour.

    Snap Traps are more “humane” because, for the most part, they are dead within 10 seconds. Glue traps can suffer make a mouse suffer torture for hours.

    It seems silly blogging in defense of a mouse (and I do hate them), but snap traps are effective and more humane. The key is to get lots of traps…one every three or four feet. Snap-E’s work best , because they have a small container (instead of a tab) to hold the bait, so the mouse can’t grab and run. I rarely see a trap go off and not catch the mouse.

    The best of all is prevention…block off any entryways where a mouse can get in. If you can fit a pencil into the hole, a mouse can squeeze through it, too. Then you don’t have to worry about killing the mouse (ok, a small part of me cheers when I see one in a snap trap…but not stuck to a glue board..i do hate them, but still)

  15. Oliver Street says:

    Ether is an effective and humane anesthetic. “Starter Fluid” from an auto parts store is ether pressurized with propane in an aerosol spray can. To humanely kill a trapped mouse: fold a paper towel twice; making a square four layers thick; inhale and begin holding your breath; spray the square with ether nearly soaking it making an ether saturated pad; immediately place the ether saturated pad over the mouse; cover the mouse and ether saturated pad with anything handy to retain the vapor – a kitchen dish towel, a plastic bowl, an inverted trash can, etc.; step 8-10 feet away from both the mouse and where you sprayed the ether; resume breathing normally, but avoid inhaling ether. In a few minutes the ether will have dissipated and you can dispose of the carcass. The mouse should have ceased struggling almost immediately, lost consciousness, and continued inhaling ether until its nervous system shut down completely after which it’s heart stopped. If you’re uncertain of the matter, uncover the pad, respray, re-cover, and wait 10 minutes. NB: Always avoid inhaling the ether yourself. The one time I forgot to, I woke up with a sore throat and my tonsils were missing.

  16. Personally, I don’t think it is humane at all to kill a small defenseless animal. People have this idea in their heads that mice are out to kill you…lol. Mice don’t care about us they just want to survive like everything else. I use a glue trap to catch them. Then I take them to the park with a pond about 3 miles from my house and douse them in vegetable or olive oil (minus the head) to get them off the trap. They run away. If some other animal wants to kill them fine, that is the circle of life. But I don’t see any difference in tying cats up and drowning them (to put them out of their misery aka shelter style) and doing it to mice. I really don’t think its right to try to justify it because we have a preference from one animal to another. I actually don’t see why it’s necessary. I guess if you like to kill things go for it. But there really isn’t a reason you need to. The mouse I caught at least has the opportunity to live like every other creature wants. And it’s far away from homes and has a habitat it can survive in. If you live in NYC this wouldn’t be so feasible. But most places in the US this isn’t a problem.

  17. I stand in defense of the author. Today I either had to kill 2 abandoned infant mice or let them die of starvation/exposure. I opted to drop them in a baggy and smash them between 2 bricks. Yes it was gross, but death was instant.

    I tried live traps once. Caught mice every day for 3 weeks. They looked like the same mice over and over again. I used a snap trap for 2 days and the infestation was resolved. I was releasing them 1/4 mile away too and I believe they kept coming back for more peanut butter. They were the fast little field mice though so I expect it was just a nice little jaunt for them each morning.

    I tried a glue trap once and while my roommate and I were brainstorming on how to painlessly kill our captive the little guy got away leaving 2 toes and a bit of tail behind in the trap.

  18. I’ve been recently dealing with a mouse for about 3 wks til today. I bought a closed de-con trap but that didn’t work. So the exterminator came and gave me some glue traps. Today I woke up and looked by the stove bcuz I noticed the trapped had moved up some. And what do u know there the lil fellow was squirming on tha trap. I told my boyfriend he was caught and he boiled some hot water, poured it on him and threw him in a doubled plastic bag. I’m just thankful we caught him bcuz my 15 month old could have been bitten by it.

    • WTF?? Your boyfriend poured boiling water onto a trapped mouse? I have no problem killing mice, but I’m having trouble thinking of a more agonizing death. Maybe flaying alive would qualify.
      For readers with a gram of sense I have some suggestions. Drowning in water works pretty quickly, but it’s hardly an easy death. Suffocating with carbon dioxide is not painless. The body reacts to CO2 the same as suffocation or drowning. The easiest way is probably anesthetizing with an ether-based engine starter and then drowning. Smothering with a gas denies the mouse oxygen without the suffering of CO2.. Propane would work, just don’t blow yourself up. You would have to put enough gas into the container to drive out all of the air. Butane should work very well as it is heavier than air. It will even fill a container with an open top (out of the wind). A decompression chamber is reportedly the happiest death possible, but too much effort to build and and to operate. Good luck everybody balancing your conscience with protecting your selves and your families.

  19. Which one is better Smash it with a hammer or drown it?

    • I used an aluminum baseball bat I got at a donation store for $3.50. I used tongs to put the glue trap and the mouse in a bag, then smash down on the skull like you are hand-mashing potatoes. It’s quick and you can smash 4-5 times fast to get it done, outside on the cement. I imagine a hammer would work well on a small mouse. but if you catch a bigger one, the end of a baseball bat has a larger surface area and you can find one cheap bat at a second-hand store, if you don’t have one already.

  20. ‘Snap traps are nice because they do the killing on their own so you don’t have to worry about humane.’ – Spenser

    Humane for who? You or the mouse? So because you dont have to see it or do it with your own hands it’s humane? And I’m no animal activist, I just think the whole, ‘out of sight-out of mind’ approach, is really ignorant. People seem to be more worried about getting a stain on their consience than the terrified animal stuck to the trap.

    Do yourself and the mouse a big favour, grow a pair of balls, give it a quick death and move on to the next.

  21. Put mouse and trap in plastic bag (must be plastic with no leaks). Spray in a quantity of “Engine Starter.” (pick up at local auto supply or many other stores) Engine starter is ether and other volatile compounds. Tie the bag tightly shut. (now you know why no leaks) The mouse falls asleep and the other compounds in the engine start do the rest of the work.
    Use the smallest bag that will contain the mouse and trap and still allow you to tie or clamp it shut. If the bag leaks or is too large, the concentration will not be high enough to work and you end up with a groggy sick mouse.
    Snap traps are still the most humane way, short of capture and release.

  22. I had seen a mouse in my kitchen a few times and didn’t want to wait for it to start eating my food and chewing my clothes before I got rid of it. I remembered to get a trap while I was at the store and just grabbed a glue trap not knowing any better, I’ve never had to kill a mouse before. This morning I found it stuck on the trap screaming it’s little head off 🙁 I googled it real quick and found this. I was definitely not going to smash him so I filled a tub of water outside, grabbed the trap, and held it in there. It died within seconds. I wont use the glue traps again because I know better now and I live somewhere where I can catch and release them. However, the glue trap worked great and I felt like drowning it was a decent way to finish it off.

  23. @Aimee – why the anger? They are mice, not people. They will eat your food, destroy your property, and spread disease and have no conscious (in other words, they would gladly kill you if they had the means and intelligence).

    I used regular traps, but find glue traps to be the most effective. I felt a little bad at first. but after the first one and seeing the damage they did to my things, the guilt quickly went away. There are two things you can do with a mouse in glue: smash them or drown them. You have to make sure you get it in one swipe if you smash it, otherwise it will needlessly suffer if you only get the body and not the head, or vice versa. I timed how it took to drown a mouse and it was never more than 10 seconds, and was easier on my conscious, so I would recommend filling a little bucket with water, sticking the trap in it, and counting to 10, and then move on with your life.

    For those of you who don’t like the glue method, here are your options: 1. live with the mouse and let it and soon tens to hundreds of others destroy your property and clothing, eat your food, spread disease, leave droppings in your tupperware and bathroom sink, etc. 2. use traditional traps, but it could take a few weeks before you actually catch one, 3. catch the mouse alive and keep it as a pet, taking on all of the responsibilities associated with it, including the risk of it biting you (and it will given the chance) 4. catch the mouse alive and release it, letting it get literally torn apart – alive, mind you – by a cat, owl, coyote, or other predator, 5. catch the mouse alive and let it come to mine or thousands of others’ homes, where we will also promptly kill it. Meanwhile, I will continue with the glue traps, living mouse free, disease free, dropping free, and guilt free, because the alternative death for a mouse is much, much worse.

  24. I just stumbled upon Henry P Belanger and am now his biggest fan.

    Aside from the glue traps. Dude, so sick. I stick with the old school seventy-eight cent Victor snap traps.

    Seriously crazy about your unique voice and style.

  25. Digger ODell says:

    Tried live traps & snap traps for several weeks–neither worked. My mice were getting bigger, eating & contaminating food packages in my cupboards and pooping all over my house.

    Bought some cardboard enclosed glue traps and caught the little devils within 3 hours. I found that a 10# sledgehammer makes an excellent, quick “mouse swatter”

    I feel neither regret nor joy. It was a necessary clean-up job.

  26. There had been a very intelligent mouse in my house for months. It had been destroying all of my food. I had to keep everything in Tupperware to prevent the little sucker from eating everything and making a mess. I first bought a box trap that is supposed to catch the mouse and allow you to set it free. I put peanut butter in it. It did not work. I then bought a spin trap which spins and kills the mouse once it goes inside. That failed as well. I then broke down and bought an old fashioned snap trap and the damn thing snaps without anything touching it. After my fingers losing all feeling trying to set the crappy things I eventually gave in and bought a glue trap which was not too glue filled. I wanted to be able to save the mouse once stuck; it never went on the damn thing. I tried to bait it and still nothing. Finally, after all of my exhaustion and failed attempts to get this mouse out of my house I bought the worst trap ever! The extra sticky glue cartridge traps. I no sooner put it down and the mouse was stuck. The mouse was very stuck. I began crying uncontrollably. What had I done? The mouse was crying too in fear. In a state of panic I knew I wanted the mouse to go to heaven and be in a better place without suffering. I could not do what my neighbors have all done and simply throw the mouse in the trash alive and let it die slowly. I took a plastic bag and placed the mouse on trap inside and bashed the little guy with my high heel. I am so disgusted with myself. That was so hard to do. I have never killed anything in my life and have always been a huge animal lover and here I am killing an innocent creature of God. I can never ever do that ever again! I feel like a murderer! I hate myself for this. I was afraid to buy the poison in fear the mouse would die in my house and would stink up the place. I now will take that chance. Please do not use glue traps! You will hate yourself afterwards. I may never recover from this. They they work best but they are so inhumane! Don’t do it!

    • I hope you have already recovered… See, every time you disinfect the house, you kill billions of microorganisms… Just like all other God-created beings do, we need to make our place to survive. It gets tougher the biggest the animal is, but it´s still necessary the same. You did the right thing. Which doesn´t change the fact any of us would never like to do it again. So, just let it go and go on, and put your energies to better use by doing good to others -humans preferably since there are millions with sore needs. And you will be happy.

  27. Glue traps are an awful idea. I caught a rat in one in my garage and it had already begun to knaw off it’s foot to free itself. So a placed a napkin over it a crushed it under my high heels and tossed it in the trash on my way to church, I then asked for forgiveness.

  28. I’d suggest buying a cat, but after having seen what cats do to their prey, the word “humane” hardly springs to mind. Using olive oil with the sticky-trap has worked well for me in the past, but given that there’s a mouse plague in Australia (that leads to a correspondingly terrifying deadly snake plague), releasing alive is an option that’s not wise to take up.

  29. i had to deal with an infestation of my apartment when i moved in. the one strategy that works BEST is using a snap-trap baited with poison. they like the poison (that’s why it seemingly works) but are killed immediately.

    btw: a live trap isn’t really a feasible alternative if you live in the city. you simply end up releasing them near another person’s home.

  30. You know it is technically possible to capture a mouse without killing or damning it to death, right ?

    Our scientists invented a certain contraption called ‘The Live Trap’. You can set up ‘The Live Trap’ to capture the mouse and then release it in a safe distance from your and other houses.

  31. Sticky traps aren’t the most humane possible way of capturing a mouse but you can always release them once they have been (especially if you are quick enough to hear them thrashing around before they are injured). Just grab your sticky trap and some cooking oil. Run outside, preferably to somewhere else they could make their home and cover them in oil. The trap releases and the greasy mouse bolts off.
    Snap traps are nice because they do the killing on their own so you don’t have to worry about humane. The neck or spinal cord is often broken and they die rapidly (though this is not always the case).
    Good luck inventing a better mouse trap.

  32. This article is sick. I can’t believe you are using such inhumane behavior with some witty quips as something “blog” worthy. I think you should look up humane in the dictionary, I wouldn’t expect to see your picture plastered next to it. Learn from the first mistake and get rid of the sticky traps you moron. (yes I am sinking to your level) I understand not everyone wants to be HUMANE as many people I know to fo the catch and release method but you are just looking for problems and better yet pathetic topics for this blog. Grow up and get a clue.

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