Is It Illegal To Release Mice Back Into the Wild?

by Derrick | Last Updated: April 7, 2023

A mouse is probably one of the only wild animals you will ever trap in your home. However, releasing a trapped wild animal can cause problems and, in some cases, result in legal prosecutions. So, do you have to worry about a court summons arriving at your door when you release mice into the wild? 

It is not illegal to release mice back into the wild, in most cases at least. In some areas, releasing mice or other rodents onto a neighbor’s property can be a crime. However, even in these areas, releasing the mice into the wild away from anyone’s home is still legal. 

Keep reading this piece for a breakdown of releasing mice back into the wild. I’ll offer some tips and give you some pointers on preventing rodents from returning. 

Things To Consider When Releasing Mice Back Into the Wild

See below for some essential things to consider when releasing mice back into the wild. 


One important thing to consider when releasing a wild mouse you’ve caught is how far away you release them. You don’t want to release the animal too close to your home. 

Mice and other rodents love to stay in familiar surroundings . As a result, if you release them too close to your home, they will surely return as it’s a familiar space. 

The next thing to consider is how far away you want to release the mouse. If you release it fifty miles away, the animal might not survive in this unfamiliar area. As a result, you should remove the animal a few hundred yards away from your home. 


A mouse can only live for 6 to 8 hours in a live trap. If you keep your mouse trapped for longer than this, it could die of stress or thirst; therefore, you can’t leave the mouse in the trap for long before releasing it. Ideally, it would be best to release the animal as soon as possible. 

Keep Away From Neighbors

The one time that releasing a mouse into the wild can get you in trouble is if it’s on your neighbor’s property. This action is illegal in some areas, not to mention a surefire way of making enemies in your community. Make sure to release your mouse away from your neighbor’s property.

Suitable Habitats

While mice are adaptable to their surroundings , rehoming them in the wrong area could cause the animal to suffer. For instance, if a mouse came into your house from a nearby field, you probably shouldn’t release it onto the beach. 

Instead, release the animal into another nearby field to give the mouse the best odds of surviving. 

The Humane Thing To Do

Releasing mice back into the wild is the humane thing to do. Mice have feelings and can undoubtedly suffer. However, living with them is also a nightmare and can put your health at risk. Therefore, the only humane thing is to catch the animal before releasing it. 

The best way to catch a mouse without causing it harm is by using humane mouse traps. 

Cruelty-Free Mice Traps

Cruelty-free mouse traps capture the animal without causing it any physical harm. This prevents the needless killing of an animal and allows you to release them so they can continue to live a long and happy life. 

Here are some examples of cruelty-free traps 

Check out this effective yet simple method for catching and releasing mice using a DIY trap by clicking the link to a Youtube video below. 

The Horrors of Unethical Traps

Glue traps, snap traps, electrocution traps, and any other lethal trap can cause a mouse an enormous amount of suffering. Glue traps, in particular, can cause the animal to die of dehydration or distress slowly. 

Keeping Your Home Free From Mice

To keep mice away from your home , you must first know what attracts them so you can remove them. Then you’ll need to figure out how the mice are getting into your house , so you can stop it from happening in the future.

The Things That Attract Mice

See below for some things that attract mice to your home. 


A mouse needs to eat regularly to grow and survive. As a result, they are always searching for a steady food supply. However, mice are so small that they only need morsels of food to keep them going. As a result, even little crumbs of food left around your home can attract rodents. 


Just like humans, mice also like to have shelter from the elements. However, unlike humans, mice are on the menu for several predators, including cats, dogs, snakes, raptors, and some larger species of lizards. As a result, mice will look for a safe place like your home to live. 


Another thing that attracts mice , especially in cold weather, is the warmth of your home. Mice prefer to be warm and safe in their home during winter rather than shivering and hungry in the cold. As a result, you need to be extra vigilant for mice during the cold winter months. 

The Ways Mice Get Into Your Home

The easiest way of dealing with a problem is by trapping the mice in your home humanely and preventing any more from getting into your home in the future. 

Doors and Windows

A mouse can easily climb into your home through an open window or sneak in through an open door. Therefore, you should keep your doors and windows closed if you’ve got a wild population of mice nearby. Leaving the doors or windows slightly ajar can be enough for them to squeeze through. 

Drains and Pipes

A mouse can squeeze itself through tiny spaces, such as the ones you see around the edges of pipes and drains around your home. Therefore, it’s a good idea to seal up all the gaps around the plumbing features of your property to keep your home pest free.


In many buildings, especially older ones, the attics of different houses can be connected, provided the houses are terraced. As a result, a mouse wandering into the attic of one home will have free reign to go between all the houses on the street. In this case, you may consider adding walls to divide the different attic spaces. 

Basements, Foundations, and Crawl Spaces

The most likely way that a mouse has gotten into your home is through the basement, crawl space, or a gap in the foundation. So, you should inspect all of these areas and seal up any holes or cracks. Remember that mice can be tiny when they’re young, so they can easily fit through even the smallest of gaps.

Final Thoughts

It is legal for you to release any wild mice you capture back into the wild. Provided you remove them away from your neighbor’s property, as, in some places, this is illegal. However, releasing rodents into the wild is safe, ethical, and, most importantly, legal action. 

Releasing mice back into the wild is a straightforward task. However, there are some critical things to remember. Most importantly, mice don’t survive well in traps and need to be released promptly. Also, remove the mice a few hundred yards away to stop them from returning.