Taking the mickey (mouse)
July 25, 2006 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Rats/mice. I seem to have a new friend living in my flat. It's small, brown and furry and I'd like to dispose of it (them?) quickly and effectively. I have absolutely no intention of giving it the humane treatment as I simply don't have any way of removing a living creature from my flat in london to somewhere else (no car etc.). How can I kill it? Kill it up good.

I'd like to avoid getting an exterminator in as I don't have a great deal of time on my hands at the moment, should it come to that, I presume my landlord is liable for the monies?
posted by iamcrispy to Pets & Animals (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Poison. Typically warfarin. Not a good idea if you have pets, as they make it taste good to animals. Or a good old-fashioned rat trap. Those work pretty well if you can place them strategically and bait them with something good. Peanut butter works well, but maybe british mice have different tastes.
posted by GuyZero at 3:44 PM on July 25, 2006

Yeah, if you're not overrun with them, an old-fashioned moustrap will kill them. Kill them good!
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:45 PM on July 25, 2006

Previously dealt with here and here.

And why are you so opposed to getting rid of it without killing it? There are parks in London, near you, surely? Dealt with here if you have a crisis of conscience.
posted by afx237vi at 3:50 PM on July 25, 2006

Mousetrap with peanut butter as bait. Also, clean out your pantry and anywhere else you have food stored (trash can?) in containers that could be breached, like cardboard boxes. Taking their food away makes them hungry and seek out new sources of food.

This is a great guide.

Use multiple traps in one place, and face the actuators away from each other.

I'm not a fan of poison because then you have to deal with dead, stinky, hidden mice.
posted by SpecialK at 3:52 PM on July 25, 2006

Peanut butter, mousetrap, dustban, bin. Works every time. Real issue is that there are rarely solitary mice - you need to find out how they get in and block it - ideally with something like expanding foam. Look for gaps in floorboards, skirting, especially under stairs or places that are dark and cool.
posted by A189Nut at 3:52 PM on July 25, 2006

The disadvantage to poison is that a rat could die in an inaccessible place, and smell awful for a very long time. Here's a site that's tell you how to get rid of rats with traps or poison.
posted by wryly at 3:52 PM on July 25, 2006

Is there any possibility of your bringing in a cat, even on a temporary basis?
posted by redfoxtail at 4:01 PM on July 25, 2006

You absolutely, positively do NOT want an animal dying where you can't get at it or don't know where it is.

(Speaking as someone who has had mice or rats die in

1. Car A/C Fan Unit -- the fuckin' WORST. Not only destroyed fan but every time the AC ran for years the smell was there.
2. Under monstrously heavy fridge
3. Sink of infrequently used cottage
4. Inaccessible crawl space)

Vermin >> The smell of dead decaying vermin
posted by unSane at 4:05 PM on July 25, 2006

You have to figure out if it is a mouse or a rat if you go for snap traps, since you need different sized traps for each. I don't know how big London rats are, but there is a huge size difference in New York.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:06 PM on July 25, 2006

I used to put down glue traps and then, when the mice were stuck to them, drown the mice in the toilet. They are vermin; get rid of them!
posted by mattbucher at 4:06 PM on July 25, 2006

If you use peanut butter, I've found it needs to be really fresh. Maybe refrigerate it before using, that way by the time the house gets quiet the aroma will start wafting through the house. Use fresh peanut butter each night if necessary.
posted by chef_boyardee at 4:11 PM on July 25, 2006

Mousetrap baited with peanutbutter.

This package successfully killed the mice that came in during the winter when I lived in the sticks.


A mousetrap will not necessarily kill all of the mice it catches. Hell, sometimes it doesn't seem to even hurt them very much, just pins them down so they can't run away. In these cases, you will walk up to a still-living mouse that looks up at you with big, sad mousie eyes. Steel yourself to what must be done, but do it humanely.

(1) Scoop little wee mousie into bucket.
(2) Take bucket outside, to where there are cars.
(3) Put bucket under (running) car's exhaust.
(4) Dead mousie in 5--10 seconds.

This is far preferable to the more classic "bash it with a shovel" method. I have bashed a mousie in a trap and had it just bounce out and run away, only to come back later hurt *real* bad and apparently wanting out of its misery. I still feel guilty about it, no shit. Don't go that way. Gas it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:15 PM on July 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Try and find US made black plastic traps sold in the UK under the Rentokil brand.Avoid the wooden Little Nipper brand.
posted by Dr.Pill at 4:17 PM on July 25, 2006

Rats are incredibly cagey about food, since rats can't vomit. Poison is hard to get rats to accept. Mice, less picky about what they eat, are killed by poison more reliably.

Since poison doesn't work so well on rats, I go for mechanical traps, too, any time I have a rodent problem. Glue traps have always seemed flaky to me, and since the scene in Forget Paris in which Debra Winger made them famous by having a live pigeon stuck to her head with one, I wouldn't use them.
posted by paulsc at 4:22 PM on July 25, 2006

Get a cat. Problem solved. Of course, you have to like cats.
posted by Decani at 4:47 PM on July 25, 2006

Glue traps are my personal favorite. and disposable too.
posted by Megafly at 5:15 PM on July 25, 2006

Steel wool is also good for blocking entrances - it's flexible enough to fit and they can't chew through it.
posted by concrete at 5:59 PM on July 25, 2006

That story was great fandango_matt!
posted by roboto at 6:26 PM on July 25, 2006

As you're probably realizing, rats != mice. Mice are little and kind of dumb and easy to trap/kill. Where there's one, there's probably more, so you might need multiple traps. After that, figure out how they got in and block the entrance (steel wool, expanding foam). They only need a tiny hole to sneak in!

Rats are bigger, more solitary and much, much smarter. Many are warfarin-resistant so poison isn't so helpful. One strategy is to place several bigger traps directly outside their hiding place. They tend to be very sensitive to novelty so they avoid new things (like a strange new food or a trap right outside their hidey-hole). Putting several of them helps since they can't avoid stepping on at least one of them as they sneak out to find a snack.
posted by drmarcj at 6:47 PM on July 25, 2006

If it's mice, get a dehumidifier with a big water tank. For some reason, in my experience, mice like to commit suicide in there.
posted by tastybrains at 6:57 PM on July 25, 2006

One trick I use with mechanical traps is to layer the peanut butter so thin that it just *barely* coats the trigger. No globs, just the thinnest possible skiin of peanut butter coating the mechanism. That makes the mouse/rat/whatever it is get his face in there to lick at it, and blammo! Dead rodent.

Also, in case you're looking for some comic relief from this deadly game, I highly recommend you stop and scroll through Harvey the Mouse Must Die.
posted by nyterrant at 7:41 PM on July 25, 2006

tastybrains, please expound. How many rodents have met their fates in your dehumidifier?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:41 PM on July 25, 2006

I spent a summer living in a frat house infested with rats. Finally one morning when one of my roommates was home alone, she'd had enough, so she went and got one of the fraternity brothers, who caught the rat in a trash can, beat it to death with a peanut butter jar, and then added another mark to the running tally of rodent kills he kept on said jar. This is not necessarily a method I recommend, but it did work.

If you do decide to go up and personal, please (a) try and wear gloves or something and (b) do not use a food item to beat the rodent to death. I just don't think it's sanitary.

On a more sober note, glue traps can be distressing, because things stay alive on them. We had them in our attic when I was a kid, and every so often my parents would come down with a struggling lizard stuck to the glue trap and it was time to break out the mineral oil. I don't know what they did to the struggling rodents stuck to the glue traps. I like to think it involved adoption by a kindly family with a country home.
posted by posadnitsa at 7:53 PM on July 25, 2006

How many rodents have met their fates in your dehumidifier?

At least 4-5 per year in the basement dehumidifier in our old house. Yes, it's gross.
posted by tastybrains at 9:19 PM on July 25, 2006

(1) Scoop little wee mousie into bucket.

2 pour cold water into bucket and wait a couple of minutes

much more convenient and just as effective ... not as fast, but you can do something else while you're waiting

after all, it's quite possible that you'll find the mouse in the middle of the night and won't feel like going out to start the car in your bathrobe
posted by pyramid termite at 10:32 PM on July 25, 2006

Sure, but drowning the poor wee mousie seems so much crueler and sadder than giving it a near-instant gas death.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:53 PM on July 25, 2006

Tall cylindrcal waste basket, papertowel tube perched on countertop above waste basket, bait at the end of tube, mouse goes in tube for bait, tube tips dumps rodent in basket. make it fun
posted by hortense at 11:02 PM on July 25, 2006

Ask around about the poison that dehydrates the mice so they go outside looking for water to drink and then they die out there. A nice, dehydration death.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:02 AM on July 26, 2006

peanut butter works well here in the states, but since these are british rodents i'd go with nutella
posted by mdpc98 at 8:10 AM on July 26, 2006

Believe it or not, the most effective bait for snap traps is chocolate. The little crapping bastards can't resist it.

I use little bits from a plain milk chocolate Hershey bar, wedged in or smeared over the bait holder. Try it tonight and Mr. Squeaky will be dead by morning.
posted by KRS at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2006

I used to bait mouse traps with peanut butter, until I discovered the “grilled cheese” trick. Pinch off a piece of cheese about the size of a kernel of corn, and smush it onto the bait pan. Then turn the trap so the pan hangs down and gently heat with a Bic lighter until the cheese just starts to melt... allow to cool and set trap. You now have cheese glue stuck to your trap and its good to go for however many mice get close enough to smell it for the next month or so.
posted by Huplescat at 4:04 PM on July 26, 2006

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