Trap Placement & Next Steps

Once you have a known-good script configuration and the sensors are tested to your liking, you'll need to figure out where to set your trap and sensor platform.

Mouse-related Considerations

  • Mice tend to travel along baseboards, behind furniture, and generally in places of concealment.
  • Mice like to repeat routes and paths - if you've seen them running along a particular wall, they'll probably do it again.
  • The opening of the trap should be near or along an expected mouse path. It may seem silly, but if you imagine them traveling on a straight line, and put the trap in the path so that they'd just run right inside, you'll probably be successful.
  • Remember that mice are well-known to chew on electrical wires and components. I haven't lost any hardware to this yet during this project, but it would in no way surprise me.

Hardware Considerations

  • Power: Consider placement near an outlet, or use a decent extension cord.
  • WiFi: The baseboard where I set my trap is just at the outside limit of range for the wifi dongle I used; you may want to test this before committing to a location.
  • Drafts & temperature fluctations: The PIR sensor can get a lot of false positives on drafty baseboards or other areas with a lot of temperature variation on a surface area. You will likely have to test this, and adjust its positioning until it's stable.

Animal Welfare & Human Safety

It's worth noting that there's some debate as to whether live traps are more humane than traditional kill traps.  There's an argument that mice habituated to human dwellings, when released in the wild, are unlikely to survive anyway. The Adafruit Learning System is not the place to hash out that argument, but please proceed with care when engaging in any project involving live animals.

With that disclaimer out of the way, a couple of specific notes about live traps like the one I used for this project:

  • You should never leave traps set when you expect to be absent from the area for any period of time longer than a few hours.
  • Traps should be emptied relatively quickly, or mice inside can suffer badly from dehydration and confinement.
  • Even a seemingly unbaited trap, especially if it smells like previous mice, can quickly catch a rodent.
  • Don't be surprised if you catch more than one mouse at a time.

Finally, please remember that wild rodents can carry diseases transmissable and possibly even fatal to humans. Once traps have been used, please exercise caution in their handling, and the handling of other accessories and hardware which have been exposed to mice.  You might consider using gloves to handle traps containing rodents; you should certainly wash your hands thoroughly after touching used traps. In documenting this project, I used a mild bleach solution to wipe down the outside of the trap and the baseplate before taking photos.

Final Pythonic Mouse Thoughts

This guide was first published on May 01, 2015. It was last updated on May 01, 2015. This page (Trap Placement & Next Steps) was last updated on Sep 23, 2019.