Some parts of South Australia are again experiencing a mouse plague. I started to notice a few rodent arrivals a week or so ago as the unwelcome house guests aren’t observing the “quiet as a mouse” guideline. I’ve never heard such small creatures make so much noise.
I’m actually pretty fond of mice – I think they are cute little creatures and I’m in awe of their energy and agility. Unfortunately, they do a lot of damage and co-habitation really isn’t desirable in most scenarios for a variety of reasons.
While prevention is better than cure, sometimes you may find the need to exterminate the critters. Trap and release may seem more humane, but it can cause more problems as mice breed so often and have a litter size of 10 – 12.
Years ago, I used poison baits, not thinking much about the suffering of the mice and the wider environmental consequences. A poisoned mouse can keep on killing if other creatures devour it during the days before its excruciatingly painful demise; and afterward.
I then started using traditional mouse traps instead, which while rather brutal are pretty effective. Unfortunately there have been a few occasions when I’ve found a mouse still alive in the trap; so they had suffered for some hours. Some people don’t particularly like using snap traps for this reason and other issues.
Around the middle of last year, the folks at Victor sent me a Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap to test. I gave it a whirl, but it wasn’t a fair test as mice weren’t a problem at the time – however, that changed recently.
Cutaway view of the Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap
The trap, powered by 4 C sized batteries, is quite a clever design. There are two small stairways leading up to the shock chamber, where you place the bait. Once in the chamber, the mouse is forced to move through a rather narrow passage which brings it into contact with a couple of plates. The plates deliver a shock, which Victor says kills the mouse within a few seconds. After that phase, the floor of the trap automatically unlatches, dropping the mouse into a removable collection chamber. The collection chamber can hold up to 10 mice. The floor flips back up, the trap resets itself and it’s ready to go again – totally hands-free operation.
I remembered I still had the trap at midnight a couple of nights ago when I couldn’t sleep due to the antics of my little furry visitors. The trap came with batteries, which I fully expected to be flat given the amount of time that had elapsed since my initial test, but they still had plenty of charge according to my multimeter (the unit also includes a low battery warning LED). One set of batteries is enough to dispose of 150 mice according to information on the Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap site.
Setting the trap is easy – a small smear of peanut butter on the rear wall of the shock chamber, snap shut the lid, power on and check to see the green light goes on briefly. The start-up phase is accompanied by a brief buzzing, but then the trap goes silent. I also put a tiny smear of peanut butter on a couple of steps leading up to the chamber.
I placed the trap in the general area of the noise and then lay back down, hoping to catch some sleep as well as mice. It wasn’t long before I heard a very brief squeal, then a whirring noise followed soft “clunk”. By this stage I was pretty exhausted after the lack of sleep the night before; so I didn’t bother getting up to check on the trap. Next morning, the green light was flashing, indicating I had a mouse. I opened the collection chamber and there were not one, but three of the little guys; all stone dead. There was no outward indication of any injury or trauma, they were just dead.
Last night I repeated the exercise. This time around there wasn’t even a squeal – just the quiet “whirr” and “clunk” noise and then silence. This morning there was another 2 mice in the trap.
Sadness about trapping the cute critters aside, I was very impressed with the Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap. I thought I only had a couple of mice causing me grief, but it’s grabbed five so far and I’ll continue using it for a while. From what I’ve been able to observe so far, the electrocution process is incredibly quick. I haven’t heard any thrashing or anything to indicate the animal suffers for more than a couple of seconds. In-built safety features include a shut-off when the top lid of the chamber is open in case you forget to switch the trap off when baiting.
Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap – is it green?
It certainly seems to be a more humane and cleaner way of dealing with mice – but is the trap environmentally friendly? Compared to using poisons, yes. However, while a compact unit, it’s still a fair lump of plastic, with associated electronics; plus batteries are required. That said, if the Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap lasts well and you use rechargeable batteries, that reduces its overall environmental impact a little.
All things considered, if you’re averse to using spring loaded mousetraps for whatever reason, the Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap is certainly worth considering as a humane, clean and more environmentally friendly alternative to baiting. The company also makes an electronic rat trap – I haven’t tested that product as yet; but if I do get a chance to try it, I’ll post a review.
(Note: it appears the Victor Multi-Kill Electronic Mouse Trap is currently only available in the USA, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and France. I’m checking with the company regarding to see what the situation with the UK and Australia is).
There are of course other green ways of dealing with rats and mice with prevention being the main focus – pick up some earth friendly rodent control tips.