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Humane Care for Trapped Mice

Mice deserve our compassion and respect. It is essential they are subjected to the most minimal amount of stress on capture, and the best chance of survival once they are released in the wild.

Humane traps are only humane when they are frequently checked.

A captured mouse should be dealt with as a very high priority, and should spend the most minimal time possible in the trap

Checking the trap:

  • A trap is an extremely stressful environment for any wild animal, and a captured mouse will easily die of fear, stress, exposure or dehydration. It can be very useful to put a sign above the trap to remind others to check if the trap is occupied. This task, along with release and reset, should primarily be the responsibility of the person who set the trap.

  • Traps should be checked early in the morning, and every few hours during the day. In addition, check if the bait is still in place.​Mice are more likely to search for food during the night when there is less noise.

Setting a trap:


  • The ideal food to use in a trap would be either a small dab of peanut butter or crumbs/a small piece of chocolate (it doesn’t need to be more than the size of a pea). This should be placed at the back of the trap.

  • Ideally, traps should be placed against a wall in an area where mouse droppings or other activity have been seen.

  • Setting 2 traps back to back increases the chances of capture.

Giving Dharma imprints:


  • Once a mouse has been caught, it is an ideal opportunity to give some dharma imprints before they are released. It is essential that this is done gently, and being mindfully aware that any extreme stress can easily kill this fragile wild animal. Please keep in mind that they are in extreme fear while having no way to escape. 


A collection of advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche to give the maximum amount of benefit!


Compiled by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, inspired by text written by Ngulchu Dharmabhadra


Watch a video of tour of Buddha Amitabha Pure Land


Creating a karmic win-win by Venerable Thubten Wangmo

"Take them around holy objects - circumambulate. Everyday you can put on a table many tsa-tsas and statues on a table in your house or in the garden and take the animal around chanting mantras at the same time."

"Recite prayers in their ears, verbally, to plant the seed of all the realizations of the path to enlightenment. This makes a huge difference. It has inconceivable result, unbelievable result. That makes them have a good rebirth next life, to be born as a human being and meet the Dharma."


Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche

Essential Preparation for Release: 


House mice have no experience of living outside of buildings during their 2 year lifespan. Their entire existence takes place in the protected environment that humans provide with plentiful food and (in many cases) no threat of predators.


House mice have a slim chance of surviving outdoors as they are unfamiliar with the new environment, its predators, its food sources and establishing shelter for themselves. As a result, we need to provide an optimum level of care at release to give them the best possible chance of survival.


  • A captured mouse should be dealt with as a very high priority, and should spend the most minimal time possible in the trap.

  • Firstly, the mouse can be released from the trap and into a high-sided bucket with some nesting material. The bucket should be covered (a towel is ideal) to limit noise or disturbance.

Release Location:

  • The captured mouse should be released:

    • 1 km or more from where it was captured

    • Preferably in an area to give as much shelter as possible. The most ideal option would be in an outbuilding such as a shed or garage, but other options include a pile of wood, branches or rocks to give the opportunity to hide from predators.

Essential Food:

  • Food should always be included at release. Options could include a handful of breakfast oats or muesli, seeds (such as sunflower) or dry cat food. This can be dropped into the sheltering wood pile or rocks to prevent birds, squirrels or cats from eating it. The mouse will come back to collect and hide it for later use. 

Essential Shelter:

  • Especially important during cold weather would be some nesting material. Options could be torn paper towels or crushed leaves. It’s a good idea to include this in the release bucket to establish some scent on it.​

How to NOT Release a House Mouse

It is our collective and individual responsibility to to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.


His Holiness XIV Dalai Lama

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