Blog Home

Building a rodent-friendly catch-and-release mousetrap with Arduino

Arduino TeamSeptember 19th, 2023

Rodents, including mice, are problematic. They can cause significant damage to your home by chewing up wires, walls, and insulation, while leaving behind unsanitary droppings that present a health hazard. But those of us who love animals are reluctant to utilize traditional mousetraps. Not only are those fatal, but they can also cause a lot of suffering along the way. That’s why Trapsticles built this rodent-friendly catch-and-release mousetrap.

This mousetrap doesn’t kill rodents or harm them at all. It simply traps them in a large box, so the homeowner can relocate them. To keep a mouse from just coming back, it is necessary to release them far away. But that’s a lot better than killing them. It may also be possible to donate the captured mice to pet stores to use as feeders. That is still a little gruesome, but nature is like that.

The concept here is simple: it is a big box and the top is a trap door actuated by a servo motor. Bait (like peanut butter) lures mice onto the trap door, which then swings down to drop the critter inside. The door then closes so the mouse can’t escape — though one wily rodent was able to climb out of Trapsticles’s trap.

An Arduino Nano board controls the servo. It detects the presence of a mouse (or any small warmblooded creature) using a PIR sensor. Blinder-style shields prevent the PIR sensor from spotting anything that isn’t on the trap door, so a passing person doesn’t set it off.

As you can see in the video, this works well and is much more humane than the traps at your local hardware store.