No one likes having a mouse problem at home, and there are many cheap solutions to keep these little troublesome pests out. One of the most popular ones is mouse traps that snap and capture mice — but could these traps harm you?
Mouse traps do hurt humans. When mouse traps snap, they can injure house pets and people, especially children. The severity of injuries depends upon the nature of the trap and its size. Rat traps, much larger than mouse traps, are strong enough to break a finger, pinch nerves, or cause bruising.
Thankfully, there are many alternatives to snap traps for dealing with mice. But are the trap injury risks significant enough to avoid them altogether? Read on to find out.
Mouse Traps Can Hurt Humans and Animals
Snap traps have been one of the most popular ways to capture or kill mice, thanks to their quick, easy, and effective functioning. They follow a simple trigger mechanism that shuts as soon as the system is disturbed. Since there’s bait on the trap, mice walk in and conveniently get captured by the snapper of death.
But what happens if something other than a mouse disturbs the trigger system? For instance, an innocent house pet, a curious toddler, or even a rookie mistake by an adult while setting up the trap. There could be severe injury risks depending on the snap trap’s type, size, and strength.
With small mouse snap traps, you might get away with just a loud “ouch!” and a hard-learned lesson that’ll remind you to be more careful next time. However, a larger rat trap could result in a fractured finger bone.
The injury’s seriousness depends not only on the nature of the trap but also on the fragility of what triggers it. For instance, an adult has stronger bones than a toddler’s fingers or a cat’s paws (not to mention more pain tolerance). Even with a small mousetrap, a child’s weaker bones can result in a broken finger.
However, broken fingers are the worst-case scenario with injuries related to snap traps. More minor injury risks include serious bruising, pinched nerves, excruciating pain, and swelling.
So, if you’ve got toddlers or pets in the house, snap traps might not be the safest way to deal with a mice infestation. The food items you leave on the mousetrap as bait can also bait your beloved pet(s) into a painful (and potentially disabling) injury. Toddlers are curious enough to pick up anything that intrigues them.
You should also practice due care while setting up the trap as a minor mistake while loading it can trigger the system and snap your finger. While regular mouse traps might not break your finger, they’re strong enough to deliver a severe blow. However, bigger traps with serrated edges can break a finger — so be extra careful with rat traps!
Mouse Trap Alternatives Also Have Risks
Snap traps aren’t the only way to get rid of mice. You’ve got plenty of options, but they also come with some level of risk — especially for children.
If there’s one thing we know about children, it’s their curiosity and nosiness. They’ll touch anything within their reach, and that’s worrisome if you’ve laid a bunch of mousetraps around the house.
I’ve already covered the injury risks relating to how snap traps can hurt a child’s soft fingers but are the alternatives any safer?
Well, you’ve got options like poison, glue traps, and catch-and-release mouse traps. But they can also hurt humans — though the level and nature of risks differ.
Another natural alternative to traps that you could try is killing mice with salt; read our article here about does salt kill mice.
Mouse Poison Can Poison Kids and House Pets
In homes without children or pets, using poison is a less risky way of getting rid of mice. Since adults know what mouse poison is and stay away from it, the risks primarily relate to children and pets who can stumble upon and ingest it.
However, it’s not the safest alternative to snap traps if you’ve got pets and children in the house. Most mouse poison products are bright in color to attract more attention, meaning children and pets are more likely to spot them and get curious.
Children are known for taking everything in their mouths, and ingesting any form of poison can lead to severe harm. In case that happens, call Poison Control immediately.
According to the 2017 annual report by the AAPCC (American Association of Poison Control Centers), over 10,000 ingestions, more than 50% of which were by children under 6 years of age.
Glue Mouse Traps Can Accidentally Stick on Body Parts
Glue traps are much safer than snap traps and poison, but they’ve also got some level of risk. Humans can come into contact with these traps mistakenly, and the glue is strong enough to catch onto your hair and extremities. Children can even put their faces near the glue, which means their eyelashes, tongues, and skin can get painfully stuck.
You’ll have to use lubricants like oil or soap to remove the glue trap if that happens. Thankfully, the risks aren’t as severe as with the mousetraps mentioned above.
Glue traps are also pretty dangerous for pets. Pets will probably stumble upon it unless you place the trap in a closed-off space where only mice visit. If your pets’ fur gets stuck on a glue trap, you’ll probably have to cut their fur off, being surgically careful.
Catch and Release Mouse Traps Can Lead to Mouse Bites
Catch and release mouse traps might sound like they’re risk-free, but that’s not the case. With this alternative, the trap itself might be harmless, but the trapped mouse isn’t. For instance, if the trap successfully captures one of these pests inside, it threatens your children. They might set it free in an unsafe way inside the house and get bit.
Getting bit by mice and rats can lead to fatal diseases like hantavirus. If a mouse or rat bites any of your family members, rush to the ER immediately.
That said, catch and release mouse traps are much safer for humans for households with no children.
Snap traps can inflict injuries to humans, but the alternatives aren’t necessarily safe to use for houses with kids. The best way to prevent and address pest infestations for homes with children is to call exterminators.
If you want to use mouse traps as an additional precautionary measure, pick the safest alternative for your situation. For instance, if there are only adults in the house, a catch and release trap might be the way to go. All the best!
- CDC: How People Get Hantavirus Infection
- AAPCC: American Association of Poison Control Centers
- NCBI: Rodent Toxicity