Catching and releasing wild mice

Helping Pet Lovers Since 1999 Forums Mouse Forums Catching and releasing wild mice

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    Hi everyone,
    I searched the forum for answers but didn’t see what I was looking for.

    We’re having a little situation with wild mice here and I could use some input from more knowledgable people so I don’t sacrifice the welfare of my little charges with mistakes.

    A little history: over the past year we’ve heard scratching in the floor between basement and first floor and while we suspected chipmunks or mice, we never found evidence of anything. (Scratching was most noticable in summer months.)

    Fast forward to two months ago when I found a niche in the basement where I’ve caught them coming in late in the evening. They climb the concrete foundation wall to the sill and disappear, possibly up into the wall but it’s a hard spot to examine since I can’t get my head in there and can only use a mirror and flashlight. I’ve done what I could to plug holes during the day.

    Three weeks ago, on three different days I found 2 dead adults on the back patio and a dead baby in the driveway. (I don’t have a cat but there are the occasional strays that come here bc of my proximity to the woods. No blood/signs of wound.)

    I fear they’ll spark a fire in my walls so I invested in Have a Heart traps and baited them with PB. Within minutes this little guy came though his hole, climbed the wall and walked right up the ramp into one:

    As the concept of releasing a lone animal to unfamiliar territory concerned me, we kept it for 2 days hoping we could catch a second one and release them together. When that didn’t happen, out of fear of unintentionally taming it by providing food and water we rigged up a Gladware with a mousehole door, dry food, water, nuts and seeds and fabric and paper towel shredded nesting materials, brought it to an abandoned and boarded up property set at the edge of a wooded wetland where the landscape is all overgrown and provides good cover from cats and birds, and opened the mousehole door under the porch. The Gladware to-go kit should help see him through until he makes his nest and locates his own food sources.

    Now two days after releasing Jr, we found an even smaller one of another color:

    As Willie looks different from Jr, am I correct in thinking I’m dealing with different mice types and families?
    At 1.75″ not including the tail, around what age is Willie? Is it just beginning to venture on it’s own but still needs mom or beyond that?

    He’s a good jumper but not quick on his feet or in wit. He became boggled by the multitude of electronic drum set legs he found himself among and did this little left/right confusion dance while allowing me to creep up and set a glass over him. He’s zonked out in a nest of dryer lint and fabric scraps.

    Oh also, despite the names I don’t know that either of them are actually males, only that the first one wasn’t a nursing mom. I haven’t handled them to ID their sex but Jr did hang from the screen lid so I was able to check for nipples.

    Can I release Willie in the same spot/same way as Jr, keep it only until I catch another to release with it since it seems young, or is it too young for release regardless.

    Anything else I need to consider and haven’t given thought to?

    Thanks for the help. You’ve got a great forum here.



    They are the same species. The brown one is at least 6 months old and the little one is about 3 weeks old. They change color when they are about 6 months old. As for release, i have an article about that on my site. i wouldn’t release the baby until it is about 6 weeks old.

    good luck,



    Thank you for your reply, Paul.

    I too estimated him at 3-4 weeks of age.

    As we failed to locate his nest or catch another, and because the little guy did appear to be eating and had tiny poops, we wound up releasing him about a week later at the property line not 15 feet from my house, on the side closest the room where he’d be running through in the hope that he would reconnect his with mom or find his way home.

    Prior to releasing it we made up another kit similar to the first and included water, plain cheerios, sunflower seed, dried mealworms and crickets, cut grape and carrot shavings and some lettuce and included polyfiber and small scraps of lightweight fabric to nest with. We cut a square hole in the tupperware and slipped it inside a cinderblock, then hid it with leaves and twigs. In a moment he scampered out and disappeared.

    I did make up a thin gruel from oats and water with a few drops of milk and tried to offer it via a dropper but he was way too frightened to let me near him even after several days. Had I kept him I never would have been able to feed him.

    He was a cute little guy. I hope my efforts to assist him were beneficial.



    Hi Paul, thanks for the reply. I too guestimated it to be 3-4 weeks of age.

    We kept Willie for close to a week and when we failed to catch another or locate his nest, and because he was eating and passing tiny poops, we released it at the rock wall that divides my property from my neighbors. It’s 15′ from my house and on the side where the room he was spotted in several times prior to catching him is. Hopefully he hooked up with mom or found his way home again.

    Like Jr. we made him a to-go kit with water, plain cheerios, sunflower seed, a healthy mix of bird grains and veggie bits, dried crickets and meal worms, a sliced grape, carrot shaving and some lettuce. We also included cotton batting and some lightweight fabric shreds to make a nest. We cut a hole in the side, slipped the Gladware kit into a cinderblock at the base of the rock wall and camoflaged it with twigs and leaves. He scampered off a moment later.

    I did try to feed it with a dropper but it was far too frightened of me to permit it. Each time I approached it with the dropper, even several days after capturing it, it would dash wildly about the glass tank.

    I hope my efforts to safeguard him and assist him were beneficial.

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