I live with my mother in her house. There have been a mouse for a few months, living in the ceiling of my bedroom, and since a few weeks, it has been a nuisance for it scratches something, day and night, to the point of preventing me to sleep, even when wearing ear plugs.

The mouse does not seem to understand that it is not alone in the house and that it causes distress. I remember that There were mice long before and the rat poison was successful, until another mouse set in. They always find their way in, and always end up breeding and making a noisy mess.

I cannot access the ''thermal material'' which is between the ceiling of my bedroom and the attic, because the attic has been covered up by some thermal blanket to better protect the house thermally.

I do not wish to kill the mouse with some rat poison per se. but I also fear that the mouse could chew some wires, electrical and telephonic, which pass above the ceiling and causing damage to the house. I also fear that the mouse breeds leading to even more mice, especially if I end up killing them.

There are cats in the neighbourhood, and it is not clear to whom they belong, but they clearly did not catch the mouse thus far. I cannot get a cat myself, since there is no place and no means to sustain having a cat. I do not know the path to the garden that the mouse takes to leave the house, because there are plants and small trees preventing me to watch the ground and weed.

Is there another solution than killing it in disposing some rat poison, in order to stop the noises and be assured that the house will not be damaged ?


10 Answers 10


"Without wisdom, effort, restraint of the senses, without giving up everything, I see no well-being for beings."

-- The Buddha (SN 2.17)

You can't have your cake and eat it too, unfortunately. The truth is the truth whether it is convenient or not. In this case, there are some fairly important truths that you have to consider when trying to decide what to do.

First is the truth that being a nuisance is a far lesser evil than murder in cold-blood... the mouse has the moral higher ground over the mouse-trapper.

Second is the truth that you don't want to be murdered yourself; knowing this, how can you contemplate it for a fellow being?

All tremble at violence; life is dear to all.
Putting oneself in the place of another,
one should not kill nor cause another to kill.

-- The Buddha (Dhp. 130)

Third is the truth that killing makes you a killer; it changes the direction of your life in a significant way that will have potentially far-reaching consequences, far beyond feeling a little guilty for a little while. There are karmically significant mind-states involved in killing that may not be evident to you until you actually kill. Once you've begun to kill, you start to desensitize yourself to killing; it gets easier and easier, and your mind becomes further and further sullied.

Fourth is the truth that the reason you can't sleep has little to do with the mouse and much to do with your own state of mind. In fact, lack of sleep itself isn't really the problem either; if your mind is clear, you can stay awake all night and not suffer harmful consequences.

My advice is first, to come to terms with your mind's reaction to noise that keeps you from finding peace; reminding yourself "hearing, hearing" is a good way to keep yourself objective and alert.

“In that case, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In what is seen there will be only what is seen, in what is heard there will be only what is heard, in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized. In this way, Bāhiya, you should train yourself.

And since for you, Bāhiya, in what is seen there will be only what is seen, in what is heard there will be only what is heard, in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not come to be because that; and since, Bāhiya, you will not come to be because that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be in regards to that; and since, Bāhiya, you will not be in regards to that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be here or hereafter or in between the two - just this is the end of suffering.”

-- The Buddha (Ud. 10)

Second, consider whether it is your duty as a householder to take care of the mouse, or whether you can just as well leave it be. Unless it is destroying insulation or wiring, I don't think there is a compelling reason to remove a mouse; a rat, maybe... Either way, there are many ways of relocating a mouse humanly.

In regards to cats, if you in any way encourage a cat to catch and kill a mouse, well, it's not categorically different from killing it yourself...

  • 5
    "... if your mind is clear, you can stay awake all night and not suffer harmful consequences." Perhaps at a karmic level, but methinks there are a lot of health professionals who would disagree with this, especially if someone does so repeatedly.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 18:55
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    @GreenMatt For sure, but I assume you'd be hard pressed to find a health professional who has studied the effects of sleep abstinence on enlightened beings. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 8:26
  • 1
    Good point, but few of us are enlightened; at least it seems that way to me.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:17
  • 3
    @GreenMatt Yes, sorry, I know it was unclear, but I just meant it as an example to point out that it is not absolutely a problem. And it is not an either or situation, either. The more clear one's mind is, the less one will have to worry about sleep. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 14:00

In the past, I had some success with a no kill mouse trap like this one. It allows you to catch the mouse and release it in an appropriate area outside.

Now we share our home with 2 dogs and a cat. Mice don't seem to want to be here.


Mice are intensely territorial, it's hard to get them to walk away from their turf. Luckily they are also short lived. We often have little mice come in for a bite, and I try to block their entrances though not always successfully.

Once I had a Bandicoot the size of a small cat occupy the house. We live in a large old house with a garden that houses them, but they rarely come indoors. Since this guy had marked his territory in the stairwell and other places within the house with urine and faeces I knew there was no getting him out. He was too smart for traps, even if I could find a trap large enough for him. Besides if released within a few kilometres they have excellent sense of direction and will return.

Being longer lived than mice he wasn't going to die one day soon, and he was chewing wires, hissing & threatening when encountered and likely carrying disease.

Large, aggressive bandicoot rats erect their guard hairs on their backs and emit grunts when disturbed. If caged with other bandicoots, it is likely to fight to death within a few hours. Usually, they occupy the outskirts of human dwellings such as compounds and gardens and are commonly found near garbage bins. Their burrowing habits cause great damage to grounds and flooring, as they can also tunnel through brick and masonry. Their characteristic large burrows give away their presence. They are not fastidious eaters, feeding on household refuse, grain, and vegetables, and are very serious pests in poultry farms. They are also a carrier for many diseases

I agonised with the decision to kill him for a little while and decided, we could either abandon the house to this guy and his friends, or he should be removed before he brought in more friends from outside.

My father was going to poison it, but I beat him to it, wanting to take on the karma. I felt deep sorrow the next day handling the carcass, I came down with intense racking stomach pains the same night for no specific reason for several hours, and instinctively felt I was the bandicoot eating the poison. I observed this experience mindfully and with equanimity as my karma working itself out. I sent a lot of metta to the bandicoot.

There's no correct answer. My actions were the best I could manage with the wisdom and compassion I had at hand, I still don't see a more acceptable course of action, but perhaps tomorrow I will be wiser and know better. In any case, it was a killing done mindfully and deliberately, and I live with the consequence.

  • 3
    Good but sad story ... life in samsara is REAL. Years ago, before my exposure to Buddhist philosophy, i responded to rats in the attic by setting out poison. A rat, having grown too large to exit the attic, died in the attic. The stench permeated through the ceiling and into the rooms below! I had to find the dead rat and dispose of it. Lesson Learned: Don't cause rodents to die in the attic of one's home.
    – PaPa
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 12:27

Catch and release!

You can make a simple trap with a paper towel roll, some leftover food, and a bucket.

There are lots of clever, simple, humane traps. In general you should just catch it and release it far away.

  • 1
    Just make sure to walk it far enough from your home. A nice forest or field.
    – hellyale
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 4:42
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    What if you're not MacGyver?
    – coburne
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 16:46
  • @coburne then get a mouse hotel amazon.com/dp/B00KHFJ48C?psc=1
    – sova
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 18:20
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    I have used metal two-door live catch traps like the Havahart. Works best to only open one door. Peanut butter works best as bait: smells and is sticky. We would get them in the ceiling of the meditation room where I used to live. I eventually found a hole and closed it. We had snakes in the ceiling too, going after the mice. You haven't really meditated until you sit with a snake sliding over the ceiling above you and suddenly catching a mouse : ) You haven't mourned until you realize that you didn't check the trap yesterday and now the mouse is dead, or dying. Check often.
    – user2341
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 3:20
  • Yes, humane traps are only humane if you check them without fail. Otherwise the mouse will die with more suffering than a regular trap. Otherwise, they work very well.
    – Dannie
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 12:48

You might want to check out those Ultrasonic/Electromagnetic Pest Repellents available at Lowe's or Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Aspectek-Home-Sentinel-5-in-1-Indoor-Ultrasonic-and-Electromagnetic-Pest-Repellent-HR211/205038495

  • 1
    I don't believe they work; do you?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 2:04
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    Make sure you place the device close to the suspected area. Use an extension power cord if necessary. I try this trick and it works pretty good for me. Other people say it doesn't work for them so I guess you just give it a try along with other methods in the other posts. Experiment, experiment,...
    – santa100
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 2:18

I also had this problem. The way I catched the mouse was using Humane Mouse Traps, which only catch mice but do not kill them. Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwUm6hDFiy8 for instance.

PS.: This made me laugh.

"The mouse does not seem to understand that it is not alone in the house and that it causes distress."

  • Hi Kagerf and welcome to Buddhism SE. We have Guide and a Resource section for new users that you might find useful.
    – user2424
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 13:02

If you want to stop all these foolish mousy pranks. Do what we did and get yourself a manx.


or just get a Havahart trap



I am constantly at the mercy of field mice. They invade my cave and eat my potatoes and bread. Normally I can catch them by the tail and take them out to the trash can where the city hauls them off to the public dump where they live in peace.

But, that said, I have one mouse I cant catch. One mouse who has eluded my grasp for 2 seasons. He evades all my little puzzles and traps designed to snag him. I have even had him in my hands twice and he got away. I have named him Prof. Moriarty.

We coexist. I leave him some crumbs and he doesnt disturb me as much. namaste.


There are various types of mouse traps that can capture a mouse alive without killing it. The Buddhist way is to capture and release it safely somewhere outside. It would be unreasonable to expect a mouse to respect your wishes.


You have to plan 2 plans:

Short term plan

  1. Catch it by cage.
  2. Do big cleaning to your home.
  3. Clean your home, everyday.
  4. Put a smelly bin faraway from your home. << This is very important step.
  5. Deodorize food smell as soon as you can every time, by put it in refrigerator, or clean it. << This is very important step.
  6. Use smelly substance to make them scare. In the case of ants, I use camphor bags. I put them in every close-doors furniture. Also, sometime when I go out of my home, I sprinkle the camphor around my home, too.
  7. Etc.

Long term plan

  1. Choose no smell home, far from bin.
  2. In the termite case, your home should build without termite's foods, such as wood, paper, etc.
  3. Etc.

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