Build a better mousetrap

If you’re of an even slightly sensitive disposition, the problem of mice in the home is nightmarish. Cats are either brutally violent or (step forward, Mooncake, Official Raspberry Pi Cat and Friend of Mice) a pushover.

Mice? What mice?

Mice? What mice?

A snap trap with back-snapping force and liver-squirting power is just horrible to deal with, and I don’t want to talk about it. The glue traps in which the mouse gets stuck in ever-more-panicked contortions, subsequently leaving you to have to hit it very hard with a spade or drown it in a bucket, just don’t bear thinking about. And even the humane traps are pretty…inhumane. In the time between the thing going off in the night and your remembering to check it when you get home from work the next day, a mouse is liable to die of terminal claustrophobia. Which can leave you feeling rather guilty. (Trust me on this.)

Alain Mauer and his Raspberry Pi have come to the rescue. Keep watching – there’s a live mouse test at about 1:10. No mice were harmed etc. etc.

We really like this – it solves the problem of speedy notification so nobody dies of stress, doesn’t harm the mouse (so you can take it outside and drop it off at somebody else’s house somewhere safe but far away from your own kitchen), and relieves the problem of rodenticide guilt.

Want to make your own? Everything you’ll need, including CAD design for the case (which in the video above is made from sheet PVC, which can be cut by hand or in a CNC milling machine); schematics for the infrared barrier he uses; and all the software, is available at Alain’s website. Thanks Alain!


Dan avatar

Instead of sending notifications, could you also combine this with a Tesla coil for instant, humane, mess-free vapourisation?

snowballEarth avatar

Ah!, the tesla coil – you been playing Command & Conquer Red Alert me thinks

buzz avatar

That would not win you a blog post by gentle soul Liz.

Buddy avatar


Yvan T. avatar


It can be adapted to other type/size of rodents across the hose/garden. like squirrel, ground hog, skunks, racoon…

especially the racoon when they toss over your garbage can and make a mess….

jonathonmidjelee avatar

i love hot dogs ;)

bluecar1 avatar

or if combined with the cat toy launcher project and aimed carefully it would be self emptying, just need the pi camera near the end to get the surprised expression on the mouses face (theme park style photo) as it whizzes off the end of the ramp?

Mike T avatar

Now that is funny. Rarely do hilarious entertainment and good hygiene mix. Sounds like a good Kickstarter plan to me.

whheydt avatar

All very well, but I still tend to favor the ball bearing mousetrap method. A good one will actively remove rodents, rather than waiting passively for one to come into range.

Zak Zebrowski avatar

My first cat (Rax) would run away from mice…

Niall Saunders avatar

I think what is really needed is a method of interfacing the Raspberry Pi to the following:-

Niall (still unable to suppress a giggle, despite knowing “what happens next”)

alexeames avatar

Excellent. Loving the live demo at the end as well. Great idea.

MalMan35 avatar

Don’t mean to sound cruel but I used feel that way about mice until I triped over one while shoveling. I beat the tar out of it with shovel :p. cool project though. Just make sure you take the mouse FAR FAR away or they will just come right back. I know from experience. ;)

darkstar avatar

Existing Longworth and and Sherman traps work jolly well. The Longworth has a nice big nesting box at the far end which can be filled with hay. Once they are in this nice cool+dark place they relax and goto sleep.

You can tell if you have a house-mouse because the trap vibrates when you pick it up. If it’s a field-mouse then it just blinks cutely at you when you remove the tunnel.

Tom_A avatar

This reminds me of a “humane” trap a roommate once purchased that came with instructions on how to hook up a “drowning” tank just in case you weren’t feeling all that humane. We released the captured away in a field although one poor critter would have benefitted greatly from a trap triggered warning system.

Dogs have owners, cats have “the help.” The look on that cats face isn’t saying “what mice?” It’s saying, “Why haven’t YOU done something about this yet?”

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