So you found out you had mice in your home (notice I said mice, not mouse) and spend days or weeks, and maybe even months trying to catch them all, right? So now that you caught your mouse, what should you do with it?
There’s several things you can do with mice you catch, so let’s go over it.
Where to Let the Mouse Go Free
If you caught a mouse alive in a humane trap, then that means you probably want to keep it alive. The question is where can you let the little bugger go so that he has another chance at life, yet he doesn’t become a problem for another human.
My favorite place is to simply let the mice go at a local park. I choose a park that’s not near residential areas so that there’s a lower risk of mice becoming someone else’s problem.
You should also check your local laws and ordinances to make sure that it is not against the law to release wild mice. If you think about it, there are many mice in the wild, so you’re not really going against nature here. And you’re also not releasing a wild and dangerous animal, so there shouldn’t be an issue with most cities.
Mice are also eaten by many other animals in the wild, so you could potentially be feeding those other animals. I’ll go over that part later.
Creeks or Wooded Areas
If your local park is a no go or you don’t want to risk messing with the law, your next bet is to release the mouse near creeks or wooded areas. This can be anywhere that seems remote and away from homes or businesses.
Mice love to go into little cracks and holes, so creeks and wooded areas offer plenty of those. In fact, they also love to eat nuts and seeds and I found those to be one of the best baits for mouse traps, so the wooded areas provide plenty of that as well.
If you live in a more urban area where there aren’t many parks or remote wooded areas, then you can simply drop off the little guy at an abandoned building. By abandoned, I mean ones that are boarded up and have not been used for a long time.
As long as they’re away from current residences, you should be fine.
So why would you let the mouse go near abandoned structures? This is mainly for their survival. The mouse you caught in your home doesn’t really know how to live in the wild, so these abandoned structures allow them to find a new home. Granted, this home will not have the same yummy food as your kitchen or the same heating system as your house.
What Happens to the Mice You Release in the Wild
So let’s get to the truth. What is going to happen to these poor little innocent creatures when you release them in the wild?
There are various things that can happen and these are the three most likely scenarios.
Mouse Becomes Food for a Predator
There are many animals that hunt and eat mice such as birds, cats, and snakes. And most remote and abandoned areas have plenty of those. So there is a high chance that the mouse you set free will be eaten very quickly by one of those.
Is it mean to release mice so that another animal can eat it? In my opinion, no. It is simply mother nature at that point. The survival of the fittest applies to every situation. If a mouse is really smart, there’s also a chance he will not fall prey to those predators.
Mouse Freezes to Death
Another likely scenario is mouse freezing to death if the temperature outside is very low. The mouse you caught is used to living in cozy temperatures of your home, so obviously when you set it free, it could struggle to find a cozy new home and freeze to death.
Once you set the mouse free, his or her clock starts ticking down. Whether they survive or not is ultimately not up to you.
So is it mean to release a mouse only to have it freeze to death? Again, I don’t think it is. When you let the mouse go “in the wild”, the mouse is the one that becomes responsible for its own destiny. Now obviously if you throw the mouse in a pile of ice or freezing river, then yes, that would be mean. But otherwise, it is up to the mouse to survive in their new habitat.
Mouse Survives and Lives Its Life
The best scenario for people that want to let the mouse go is for it to survive and live its life. Now keep in mind that most mice in the wild still live less than one year. Even mice that are kept as pets don’t live longer than two to three years.
That means their lives in general are pretty short. So if you set a mouse free and he can live another couple of months, then that should be a pretty good success story.
And with mice being opportunistic animals, they are always ready to adapt and evolve no matter where they are. Even though they might shiver and shake in cold temperatures, it doesn’t always mean they’ll freeze to death.
If they can find food and shelter on time, then their survival will be much more likely.
So why not just use kill traps and let them die a fast and painless death?
A lot of people use the snap traps which usually kill the mice instantaneously. Isn’t that better than to let the mouse freeze or be eaten alive?
Well first of all, the snap traps do not always kill the mouse instantly. Sometimes it will snap their spine or neck, but keep them alive to suffer a painful death. Other times it could only catch a piece of their leg and break it off, and again, they’ll get away and be in excruciating pain.
Glue traps are even worse. They keep the mouse in one spot so that their core body temperature drops and they either freeze to death or suffocate to death if their nose gets glued to the board as well.
The kill traps do not guarantee a fast and painless death.
Because of that, this is where your own morals come into play. I personally don’t want to kill a mouse if I don’t have to. Some people are fine with killing the mouse and that’s okay too. Mice are not a threatened species so there’s plenty of them out there. Killing a few mice will not do anything to their population in the long run.
But if your morals are like mine and you don’t want to kill them if you don’t have to, then catching the mice and releasing them into the wild is the best thing to do. This gives the mice a second chance at life, and depending on how strong, fast, and smart they are, they just might survive to life their lives a bit longer.