Snap Traps

When you think of mouse traps, this is probably the one you’re picturing in your mind. I just want to start off by saying that even though the snap trap is very traditional, it’s not necessarily the best trap for your needs. I encourage you to explore all of your options before deciding that this is the only choice for you. Technology has evolved significantly in the arena of pest control and getting rid of mice. Take the time to explore your options and then proceed knowing that you’ve made a well informed decision. That being said, snap traps are good and one of the few types of mouse traps that work time and time again.

The typical snap trap is characterized by a wooden board with a spring loaded bar that snaps when the trap is tripped. It doesn’t have to be made of wood, though that’s likely the type you’re most familiar with. There are several designs that are made of a plastic, or polystyrene material. Unlike the cheap wooden ones, these can be used year after year. The reusable snap traps are great, but one thing you will have to remember is that you need to dispose of the dead mouse when you’re done. The disposable traps you just pick it up and drop the whole thing in the trash. The reusable one, you will have to disengage the bar and drop only the mouse in the trap. Then you’re going to have to clean the trap according to the manufacturer’s directions (if none are provided, you can use a mild detergent preferably one that is not strongly scented as that may deter future mice). You have to clean it, not just because it’s dirty, but the scent of the dead mouse may also deter future mice from walking into the trap, thereby minimizing its effectiveness.

To get this trap to work for you, it’s very important to have the right bait.  If you think that’s cheese, then you’ve been watching too many movies.  I’m going to let you in on the secret bait that’s sure to work: peanut butter.  Now it doesn’t matter if it’s creamy or chunky, so don’t ask which is better.  What makes this a good bait is that it attracts mice, for one.  More importantly, it’s sticky and requires a mouse to fully commit to getting the peanut butter.  Mice are naturally very timid and cautious creatures. Once they get a little taste, they will go in for a little more because the bait is stuck to the trip paddle ……. and that’s when the trap will get ’em!

Are you tired of the mouse stealing the bait? Have you ever deployed a snap trap, where the mouse somehow gets the bait, but the trap doesn’t get the mouse?  That’s exactly what we’re trying to prevent with the peanut butter. It could be that the trigger isn’t sensitive enough, but maybe the mouse was able to just lift the bait from the trap without tripping it.  Because peanut butter is so sticky, it will help in tripping the paddle to launch the snapping bar. Now I can see a lot of people putting a whole mound of peanut butter, thinking more is better. This is the WRONG way to approach it. Sometimes “less” truly is “more.” If you put so much on there and the mouse can eat off the sides of the mound for a month, without getting close to the trap, what have you accomplished? Or even worse it takes a bite, triggers the trap, but is so far away from the snap that the bar misses – nine lives are for cats, not mice! Then all you’ve done is given it and all of its friends a free meal. These are the most common pitfalls when deploying this type of trap.

Probably the worst part of using snap traps is dealing with the dead mouse after you’ve caught it. Sometimes the bar will come down so hard that it will actually decapitate the mouse and you’re left with an even bigger mess on your hands. This isn’t the norm, but it’s been known to happen. If the sight of dead mice leaves you weak in the knees, then you might want to consider using a different type of mouse trap – one that conceals the mouse and hides it from view. If you’re not worried about seeing a dead mouse, then this just might be the way to go. This type of trap is probably the most commonly used for a reason – that’s because it works.

So how do you use snap traps to get rid of mice? The people that complain they can’t get rid of mice using snap traps are probably having problems because they are not properly deploying them. I’m not going to get into the details of where to place traps here, I’ll save that for a future article. What I do want to tell you is that you can’t deploy one snap trap and think your mouse problem is going to be solved.

Experts recommend that you use around 6 traps per infected ROOM!

If you just see signs of mouse in your kitchen, you’ll want to deploy 6 traps in your kitchen. If you see signs of mice in your kitchen and your garage, you’ll want to deploy at least 6 traps in each area. Don’t be fooled into thinking that one snap trap is going to be the end of your mouse problems. You’re going to need more than that.

That’s about all I’ve got on snap traps. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comment section, and I’ll try to get back to you in an expedient manner. So let’s wrap things up by summarizing the pros and cons.


  • Very inexpensive
  • Easy to bait and set (if you don’t by the really cheap ones – those can be a pain)
  • Effective at catching mice
  • Humanely kills mice nearly instantaneously


  • You can only catch one mice with the trap
  • You will have to see and handle a dead mouse as well as dispose of it
  • Not pet friendly or good for use around small children

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6 Responses to “Snap Traps”

  1. Fio Updike Says:

    I have tried several plastic traps, one was black, and they did not work. Got a twin pack of Ortho Home Defense in white plastic with a red plastic trap activator plate. It also has a little “tab” to pick it up by when you catch a mouse. Love that feature. Have had it a few days and have captured two mice. Killed them, actually. And one was really big! I used a little dab of over ripe banana and the tip of a fresh strawberry for the last one. Worked overnight. Would highly suggest my friends try this product. Also, easily cleaned. I soak in hot water in a bucket with cleaning product like Fantastic, a little soap and Clorox. Gets rid of the dead mouse scent.

  2. Hilary Says:

    Bet this is a new one! We found a mouse caught (electrocuted?) in an uncovered electrical socket box.
    How do we dispose of it without getting electrocuted ourselves?

  3. Shawn Biggs Says:


    So I was wondering about the snap traps. So i caught 4 mice with the traps. I threw the mice away and set the trap again but it has been 2 days now and I haven’t caught any mice. Does that mean they are gone? Are they smart enough to go another way since they know a trap is over there? Do they have food to eat for days and don’t need to come back until 4 days later? and since I killed 4 mice are their families looking for them? Did they leave my house since the mice didn’t return back to the nest? and how many mice to I have? If there is 1 does that mean there is 100 of them?

    Answering his question would help my family out a lot

    Thank you so much

  4. mousetrapsthatwork Says:

    Shawn –

    Most mice are caught in the first 24-48 hours of setting traps. That’s pretty standard. Just because you haven’t caught mice in a couple days, doesn’t mean they’re gone though. You should continue to set the traps and check them regularly. Vary the trap placement. Mice are curious but also cautious. Once they’ve “explored” the trap, and it didn’t get them, you shouldn’t expect them to keep coming back to it. If it’s in a different place, it’s new – a change to their environment – so they will cautiously investigate. Hopefully that’s when it springs on ’em.

    I don’t think you have to worry about a bunch of mice raiding your house to find their long lost relatives.. that being said, if you don’t take preventative measures, they’re going to keep coming. Seal all your food containers, and eliminate their food source. I’m talking the plastic sealable kinda – a cardboard box will be shredded in no time, and just give them nesting materials. Also walk around your house and look for possible entry points. They can fit through a hole the size of a pinkie, so seal up even the smallest of entryways.

    Having one mice doesn’t necessarily mean you have a hundred, but if left untreated it could quickly grow out of control. You definitely want to eliminate the problem before they complete the mating cycle. On average, a single litter might be 4-7 to mice. The kicker is that a house mouse can produce around 8 (yes, eight!) litters per year. That means, if you have mice more than a couple months, they’re going to start multiplying and fast.

    Hope this helps! Good Luck!

  5. michelle Says:

    I have tried the live traps and caught a couple but they are not working now, the mice are taking the bait (chocolate) out and leaving the trap. Is this because they are tiny or large? (the droppings are small) I am an animal lover who hates to kill anything, but I can not stand the thought of even one mouse in my home!! It is giving me nightmares! I am thinking of using a snap trap, but am worried that it will just snap down on its leg or tail and it will be alive when I check it out in the morning! I do not want it to suffer.

  6. Rats In My Attic Says:

    I’ve had great success with Victor brand rat traps. I had the misfortune of using Tomcat brand rat traps that were completely useless. The Victor traps are very sensetive and will snap with the slightest toouch; whereas the Tomcat traps require a lot of pressure on the bait pan to trip them. If you’ve got those mogul-size NY sever rats on your property then a Tomcat trap “might” actually do its job.

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