That’s the TOMCAT Snap Trap, one of the best kills in the mouse trap game. Guaranteed to rid your house of mice! (Guarantee not guaranteed.) Cleanup is a breeze — just take it to the trash, open it up, and the mouse drops right now. Your little mouse problem will be solved in just a few days, no fuss, no muss.

Unless you’re a wuss. Then, you begin to think about the little mouse as you’re getting ready to smear peanut butter on the trigger. And you think about his adorable adventures, and the mouse children waiting for him to come home so they can give him hugs. And then it becomes a whole lot harder to set that trap.

Here at 144 Easton, we have a mouse problem. We’ve seen a mouse on three independent occasions, in three different rooms in the span of a week or so. The debate we have is whether we’ve seen three mice, or the same mouse three times. The general consensus seems to be that if he’s a lone rodent, he is allowed to live, because he’s sort of a house pet. As long as he doesn’t eat our food, he isn’t hurting us.

But if it’s a legion of mice, then its trap time. We feel no remorse killing mice if there’s a chance that they are part of a larger infestation. So how would one go about figuring out the number of mice currently running through the home?

I toyed with the idea of catching him safely and turning him into a pet, but that’s a whole lot of effort. One roommate (Cromwell) brought up the idea of tagging him with RFID and tracking him. That’s much more work than putting him in a cage.

So, it seemed like our only choice was murder. But how powerful are there traps? Slowly, we put our fingers in them and let them snap from various heights. In the end, though, we touched the trigger at full strength and let it snap onto our fingers, and suffered only a minor pinch. Could this really snap a mouse’s neck instantly? It did minimal damage to a piece of bread we tested it on.

I even let it grip onto my lip to take about 15 pictures like this (I wanted a good one). Mind you, I didn’t let it snap on my lip. But just leaving in there pinching like that felt no different than a clothes pin.

My greatest fear is that the mouse goes into the trap, it partially severs the neck, and he runs around with the trap on his head, spreading blood all over the floor before the pressure painfully and slowly beheads him.

So the deal is this:

  • I don’t want to kill one mouse who has spent his whole life building passages around this apartment and just runs around having adventures
  • I do want to prevent an infestation
  • If I have to kill a mouse, I want it to be painless
  • My dad gave me these traps, and I can’t afford to buy a different kind

I trust that these will snap their brittle bones. But when I think of the mouse coming home to his kids with a big piece of cheese, and they all run up and give him a hug as he hangs his little hat on his mousy coat rack, I just feel sad.

I’m looking for some advice here. What would you do? Is killing a mouse a rite of passage for living on your own, or is it OK to share your space with a rodent if it’s cute and doesn’t harm your belongings?