How To: Build A DIY Humane Mouse Trap

updated May 10, 2019
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It appears that my recent house guest was an elderly member of a rodent community underneath our building. Our friend and neighbor found another rodent brought in by her cat in her adjoining unit, and was notified that some workmen discovered a nest of mice living beneath the building in the foundation. She’s been looking to get rid of it, but humanely, but isn’t too keen on traditional traps. Check out a humane trap solution we found online below…

Most mouse traps rely on poison or quickly killing the animal to rid of the uninvited house guest problem. But we prefer the idea of trapping and releasing, being careful about (not) handling the creatures, since they can carry disease, so we’re going to recommend this solution: this affordable and humane DIY solution at Humane Mouse uses a 2 liter soda bottle and other readily available household items to trap mice without resorting to killing:

(Image credit: Gregory Han)


  • A Pair Of Wire Cutters Or Dikes

  • Screwdriver (Phillips Head)

  • Pocket Knife Or Utility Knife

  • Drill And 5/32″ Bit Or An Ice Pick

  • Permanent Marker

  • Rubber Band

  • 3 Clothes-Pins

  • A Pair Of Scissors

  • Measuring Tape Or Ruler


  • A 2 liter cola bottle

  • About 12″ Of Small Gauge Wire (Solid, Not Stranded)

  • (2) 8″ x 3″ Coarse Threaded Drywall Screws

  • 8′ x 8″ x 3/4″ Piece Of Wood

Step 1: Remove the cap and cut the plastic ring from the bottle using wire cutters or dikes .

Step 2: Measure 8″ from the bottom of the bottle with a measuring tape or ruler and mark the spot with a permanent marker- Do this all around the bottle (4 or 5 marks)

Step 3: Now put a rubber band around the bottle and line it up with the marks you just made

Step 4: Use the rubber band as a straight-edge and draw a circle all the way around the bottle

Step 5: Use a pocket or utility knife to puncture the bottle on the line you just drew

Step 6: Take your scissors and finish cutting along the line completely around the bottle

Step 7: With your drill and 5/32″ bit (or around that size) make 2 rows of holes near the base of the bottle (about 20 holes altogether)

Step 8: Drill 3 holes about 1/2″ from the top of the bottle. The holes should be at least as equally spaced from each other as you can get them without having to measure (just eyeball it)

Step 9: Use 3 clothes-pins to hold the top of the bowl flush with the top of the container

Step 10: Use a permanent marker and trace through the holes to mark their positions on the bowl

Step 11: Using a drill and 5/32″ bit or an ice-pick, make holes in the bowl where your marks are

Step 12: After suspending the bowl in the container with the holes lined up, use the (3) 4″ pieces of small gauge wire to hold the bowl in place. Keep the wire tied in such a way that most of it is outside of the bowl.

Step 13: Now We Can Start On The Base. The base should be made from an 8″ x 8″ piece of at least 3/4″ plywood, particle board, or whatever is available. It does not have to be exactly 8″ x 8″, just close. So if you find a piece that is, say, 6″ x 6″, use it. It should be at least 3/4″, however, for weight and so that the screws that will secure the trap to it will be able to “bite” into the wood without going all of the way through it. Measure to and mark the center of the base using a measuring tape or ruler and permanent marker

Step 14: Place the bottle on the mark in the center of the base

Step 15: With the 8″ x 3″ drywall screws at an angle, screw the trap to the base on either side- the screws are sharp enough to make the holes in the bottle bottle by hand, then you simply use a screwdriver to screw it into the base. You may have to take the bowl off and use your hand to hold the trap down while you screw the trap to the base- make sure the trap sits flush onto the base. The screws will stick out- this makes them easier to remove when you go to clean the trap, and ensures that you do not over-tighten them and go completely through the plastic.

Now, put the bowl back on and you are finished!

For the complete step-by-step instructions with photos for each step and additional instructions of where to place the trap and how to improve its effectiveness, click here.