How To Make A 5 Gallon, Self-Resetting Mouse Trap

How To Make A 5 Gallon, Self-Resetting Mouse Trap


Bucket traps may be lethal or non-lethal. Both types have a ramp which leads to the rim of a deep-walled container, such as a bucket. The bucket may contain a liquid to drown the trapped mouse. The mouse is baited to the top of the container where it falls into the bucket and drowns. Sometimes soap or caustic or poison chemicals are used in the bucket as killing agents.

How To Make a Self-Resetting Mouse Trap

1 – Drill 2 holes either side of the bucket to fit the coat hanger we will be using.


2 – Grab your metal coat hanger and cut the straight part off so it fits across your bucket.


3 – Grab the tin and cut a hole either side in the center. You can now place the coat hanger from part 2 thought the bucket and the can.


4 – Smear the can with peanut butter.

5 – Place a piece of timber or anything you can use as a ramp onto the bucket so that the mice can walk up the ramp to the peanut butter.


In the non-lethal version, the bucket is empty, allowing the mouse to live, but keeping it trapped. The unharmed mouse can be released outdoors. The variations are many with some being single catch and some multi-catch

Go to page 2 to see how to video..


  1. In my opinion, you did made some mistakes… or not so much as “mistakes” as could be improved.
    You have the ramp 90 degrees off, the ramp should come from the side of the can and just close enough to the can so that the mouse has to reach out to it… when the mouse’s front feet hit the can, it rolls and drops them into the bucket.
    You also do not need to smother the can in peanut butter, just a small strip around the center of the can will do, I always did put just a tad on the ramp as well to attract the mice to the trap.
    And yes, you should put water in the bucket, it will drown the mice, but in the mean time, their squealing will attract other mice.

    • Do you think this would work for chipmunks?

      • they would probably jump right out of a 5 gallon bucket. Try it with a large garbage can. I’m not sure if peanut butter is a good bait for Chipmunks but you can certainly try it!

      • I use a bucket this size a little less than half full of water…Put in sunflower seeds which will float on top of the water…. I use bricks as steps with a couple of seeds on each brick.. Chipmunk s dive into the seeds….Enough said.

      • This works for Chipmunks also but you fill the bucket half way with water and then pour in some sunflower seeds. The Chipmunks walk up the plank and jump in for the sunflower seeds and then drown. Just remove dead Chipmunks and keep catching them till your problem is solved.

  2. Any ideas if this would work for rats or how to adjust it to work for rats?

    • A bigger bucket! A large garbage can? And maybe a several inches of water so they can’t jump out…because rats are very good jumpers.

  3. Not sure why anyone would go to all the trouble to make a trap to catch the mice and then let them go? they will just come back in or go to someone else’s house or they will get in your car and chew the wiring or get into your food. Maybe They are cute but they are so destructive.

    • Because you don’t want to kill any living being needlessly. You can just release the mice somewhere in the wild. They then can just settle down there or become food for other animal

  4. I think this is a pretty brilliant idea! I’m going to try this in one of my storage thing that might help catch more could be to place it along a wall. Mice often travel next to walls more than out in the middle of a room.

  5. They forgot the part about adding a few. Inches of water in the bottom of the bucket. The critters can’t jump out. They drown.

  6. Could sell the live mice/rats to people who have snakes…the boas like live food.

  7. Must be the tin can is empty? It doesn’t show in picture, but they must have taped the cover back on somehow so wire goes through top and bottom covers of can. Anyone have a comment?

    • You could open it halfway, bend the metal to empty and then bend the lid back on.

    • If the can was opened (soup broth or juice) with a punch type opener, using two holes to drain the contents, then it will take the hole in the center for the wire.

  8. I used a water bottle instead of a can. It worked for a squirrel. 5 gallon bucket, water, and peanut butter.

  9. A 6′ Bull Snake living under our storage building has kept ours and surrounding properties completely clear of mice, Voles, Moles . . . . . etc for 3+ years