Understanding the principle and practice behind humane mousetraps make them easier to use. Here’s what you need to know.
Pest traps are made for a specific purpose – to eliminate pests from homes, offices and schools, among other places. Many, if not most, of these are designed to maim and, thus, kill pests like rodents including rats and mice, the most common and bothersome pests in inhabited places.
But there’s more than one way to get rid of rodents, especially the pest species! In fact, many people believe that it’s important to control pests in a humane manner, a point of contention with others who believe that pests, particularly rodents, should be disposed of through killing in whatever means possible. After all, the latter camp says, rodents bring diseases that bring harm, even death, to humans – leptospirosis is just among many examples of rodent-borne diseases.
This brings us to the question: What then is the best way to remove rodents from your home? We believe that the humane way is the better way because it means protecting the rodent population. While it initially seems that rodents should have no place in the world, they actually have crucial roles in maintaining the balance of nature. Thus, they also deserve to be treated humanely when driving them away from human habitats.
Yet another question: What does humane rodent removal mean? We will take a look at its answer as well as the answers to other relevant questions that may have been on your mind.
Definition of Humane
Emphasis must be made that the term “humane” will mean different things to different people – and that’s okay, too, because everybody has an opinion on rodents. According to the official dictionary definition, nonetheless, humane is characterized by sympathy, compassion and even tenderness for people and animals, particularly for their distress or suffering. It’s also defined as acting in a manner resulting in the least possible harm to people and animals.
And this is where the contradiction comes in. Describing mousetraps as humane is an oxymoron – if these are designed to trap rats and mice, then these can’t be considered humane since these can result in the animals’ harm. Many mousetraps, for example, are designed to trap rodents by trapping their limbs or bodies resulting in their immobility; many can even nearly cut in half smaller animals.
But there are also cage-like mousetraps that allow for humane removal of the trapped rodents into the wild. These are the most commonly used humane mousetraps in the market today – and these are safe to use, too.
Capture and Release
Based on the above-mentioned definition, the live capture mousetrap is the only one of its kind in term of being humane. Basically, it’s designed to capture a live animal, usually unharmed even when it’s already captured, which allows for their release later. It doesn’t have spikes and other sharp protrusions that can cause harm to a captured animal, too.
For this reason, organizations advocating the use of humane rodent control strongly recommend the use of live trap cages, particularly in areas with moderate to high populations of protected native rodents. This is the case in countries like the United States and Australia where the protection of native species of flora and fauna is often covered by law.
In some cases, the native rodent population has to be protected against pest species, usually introduced from other areas, because the balance of nature has to be restored. With the rodent native population being treated humanely in their capture and subsequent release, they can thrive once again and become part of the area’s natural ecology.
What about the non-native rodent species that are more pests than anything else? While rats in the home aren’t welcome, they should also be treated as humanely as possible, thus, their capture and release into the outdoors.
Homeowners are well-advised to take preventive measures against future rodent infestations, too. Otherwise, the issue will persist and nobody’s winning, so to speak. This website put together a list of some of the best humane mouse traps so you can find one that will work best for you.
Humane Design Aspects
Of course, the cage-like design isn’t the only design aspect that makes for a humane live catch mousetrap. Manufacturers also design these mousetraps with the following aspects in mind.
- There are no toxins and toxic materials used in the construction of the mousetraps. Yes, it seems counterintuitive but keep in mind that humans will also be handling the live catch traps so the absence of toxins in them makes sense.
- In the same vein, you shouldn’t use rat poison and the like as bait. These animal poisons result in slow and painful death since animals don’t eat sufficient amounts to immediately kill them – they then die a slow and painful death, something that isn’t exactly humane.
- There are also little to no chances for secondary poisoning, whether in people or in animals, particularly pets. This is vital for households with pets, especially cats, which are curious by nature about other animals. You don’t want your pets to eat a dead rat and be dead after a few days due to indirect ingestion of animal poison.
Again, there’s more than one way to get rid of pests and it isn’t just the capture-and-release model. There are also mousetraps that use, say, carbon dioxide (CO2) pressure in activating the striker impact. The fast and forceful impact delivered to the pest will cause an immediate death, thus, there’s no distress or suffering involved in the process.
There’s also the snap trap option, a common and affordable mousetrap although it has its share of disadvantages, too. The snap trap is the one usually used in homes, offices and schools as well as depicted in cartoons – think Tom and Jerry – with the usual bait being cheese or peanut butter.
Yes, snap traps are among the most effective mousetraps available but in terms of a humane kill, it isn’t highly recommended. A trapped mouse, for example, can only have one or two limbs on the trigger resulting in an injury, perhaps a serious one. But it isn’t a clean kill so there’s suffering involved – and it isn’t what we call humane.
Why the focus on humane when the rodents, especially the pest species, will be killed anyway? Yes, there’s that point and it’s a valid one. But a slow and painful death isn’t one that we would like to wish, much less inflict, on anybody, not even for an animal considered as pests.