Eeek! Zennie has a mouse! How do I get rid of it?

posted in: Tips, Vehicle | 2

It all started the night I was camped at the ghost town cemetery. There were strange noises in the night, but they didn’t sound very ghostly!

Something was scraping and scratching, and I thought some animal was outside trying to get in. I even got up during the night, and looked outside with my flashlight, but I couldn’t see anything amiss.

Later, while tossing and turning during a sleepless night, I got up again and turned on the interior light. Even without my glasses, I could see a pointy little head sticking out from my dinette area.

Eeek!! I shrieked like a 5-year-old on the Haunted House ride! :{

The mouse quickly disappeared, but I knew I had company, and I had to do something about it… But how to get rid of a mouse in your RV?

How can I get rid of a mouse in my motorhome?
Yikes! There is a mouse in my motorhome! 🙁

Round 1 – Intimidation

Scare it away! That was my first thought. I’d let it know that it is NOT welcome here, and that this is not a safe place for it to be. Surely, being much bigger than the tiny rodent, I could scare it off.

I started pounding on the walls and cabinets around the area where I saw it. I yelled “Get out of here, you little creep! I’m warning you! You’d better leave now!

I was at was a ghost town, after all, so I had no worries about waking the neighbors by screaming at a mouse! 😉

Then there would be silence, during which I tried to transmit telepathic thoughts to the creature that it had better get out of my space! Zennie is MY house, and you need to go back to your OWN house!

Then I’d go to bed, and soon hear the scratching noises indicating that I still had company.

Repeat banging, yelling, and telepathy… Repeat silence and trying to sleep… And repeat over and over again in a cycle…

Eventually, I decided I’d just have to wait until daylight to deal with it. I put in some earplugs, and tried to sleep, but images of that pointy little mouse head kept swirling around and around… How can I get rid of that mouse?

Round 2 – Brute force method

The next day, I drove to Wild Rivers (Rio Grande del Norte), one of my favorite places. I determined that this would be the critter’s last stand, and I’d get rid of that mouse, once and for all!

My plan was simple, a brute force method with no finesse involved. I would systematically remove its hiding places, one by one, until it was left with no alternative but to leave! Makes sense, right?

Once I was at the new campsite, I opened Zennie’s door, to allow the easiest of escape paths. I then started at the back of the camper, and worked my way forward.

I opened every storage space, and removed every single item. My theory was that as it saw its hiding places disappearing, it would be forced to retreat further and further towards the open door, until that was the only place left to go.

How did it work?

Well, on the plus side, it was a good way to reorganize all my storage spaces, something that had been on my project list for awhile! 😉

But I didn’t see or hear any mouse the whole time. I hoped that perhaps it had escaped without my notice. Oh, how I hoped!

But that night, once darkness fell, I heard little noises here and there. Sure enough, the mouse was still in my house! 🙁

I don’t know where he hid, but there are spaces I couldn’t get to, like behind the electrical panel.

So another sleepless night, getting up now and then to repeat my intimidation techniques. They didn’t work any better than before, but at least pounding on the compartments would gain me a little bit of silence before the mouse got back to his antics.

Round 3 – Home made mouse trap

This day dawned, and the mouse was still there. I was dead-dog-tired from 2 sleepless nights, but more determined than ever that I was going to win the mouse wars!

I wanted to go back to my quiet nights, where it was just me and Zennie, without any little interloper scurrying around. Oh how I detested that mouse!!!

So I was determined to do something. I had cell service at this campground, so I spent the day Googling “how to get rid of a mouse in your RV“, and researching home made mouse traps. I found one that looked promising, where I had all of the materials at hand.

This was the “paper towel roll” trap. You seal up one end of a paper towel roll. You put a little tissue paper in there to cushion that end, and some bait. You then set it on a shelf so that the bait end sticks out over a garbage can. The idea is that the mouse walks out into the tube, his weight tips the whole thing into the garbage can, and then he can’t escape.

How to get rid of a mouse in your RV with a paper towel trap
Testing out the paper towel roll trap

I set up the trap in the area where I knew he’d been hanging out – the compartment where I used to store rice, beans, etc. I knew he’d been into the red lentils, but his favorite was the bulgur. By now, all of those things were gone, except for the food inside the trap. The stage was set…

As I sat there working on my laptop, this cocky little mouse had the gall to stick his head out and look right at me! Even with the lights on, and me sitting right there!

He was too bold for his own good, and I was too scared to keep working there with a mouse on the loose! So I went to bed, for another sleepless night.

Sure enough, during the night, there were little mouse noises again. I could tell he was in that part of the camper, so I just kept listening…

Eventually, plop! It worked! I turned on the light, and sure enough, the tube was sticking out of the garbage can.

Oh how I wanted Mr. Mouse to be in there, but yet how I dreaded having to deal with it!

Why is it that I can look at a little mouse in a field, and think “oh how cute”, yet when there’s one in my RV, it fills me with dread? I feel like the elephant that’s afraid of the mouse. What is it about this tiny little animal that’s so horrifying?

I couldn’t stand the thought of seeing that mouse in the paper towel roll! But I couldn’t just leave it like that, in case it might crawl out! Trying to keep it at arms distance, and averting my eyes, I inverted a coffee cup over the top of the roll, just to prevent escape. Then I carried the whole thing, garbage can and all, outside, to wait until daylight.

I went back to bed, sick with the thought of having to deal with a mouse in the morning, yet hopeful that this could be the end of it.

But success was elusive, and so was the mouse. Later during the night, I heard mouse noises again. In fact, he seemed bolder than ever! I heard him running over the floor, scratching around the front seat, and exploring as though the whole territory was all his.

Zennie is not his house! She’s mine, and that mouse needs to go!

Using a spinner trap to get rid of a mouse in your RV
Another approach – preparing a spinner trap, to be baited with Nutella

Round 4 – Six home made mouse traps!

Sure enough, when I checked the garbage can / paper towel trap outside, it was empty. I don’t know how that mouse managed to do it, but he got the bait and escaped! No wonder he was so daring, scouting out the rest of the place — he figured if that was the best I could do, he was too smart for me!

But I decided it’s war now, and this is serious! I posted questions on some forums, asking for advice, and spent the whole day on Google and YouTube, finding out everything I could about different types of improvised mouse traps.

Using homemade mousetraps - How to get rid of a mouse in your RV
My arsenal! Getting all my homemade traps ready. Surely one of them will work!

As evening neared (the favored time for mouse activities), I had no less than 6 home made mouse traps in place! There were different types of traps – a couple of the paper towel types, a spinning tube suspended over a garbage can, a couple of cans with flimsy slit paper on top, and a big vitamin bottle with his favorite bulgur at the bottom.

He might be able to get around one trap, or even two or three, but surely one of these would get him!

How to get rid of a mouse in your RV using home made mousetraps
Setting them up – two paper towel traps and one spinner

I decided to sit outside late into the evening, to give him free, unfettered access to the traps. Also, I wouldn’t have to listen to it all! 🙁

About 10pm, I looked inside to check on what was happening. It was horrible! Three of the traps had already been tripped. He’d successfully extricated the bait, while avoiding being caught.

By midnight, he had gotten the food from all 6 of my traps, without any problem to himself. I was outsmarted by a mouse!

I went to bed, put in some earplugs, and tried to sleep while Mr. Mouse had the run of the house. Needless to say, sleep wasn’t happening.

Round 5 – Time for a professional version

Giving up on the improvised mousetraps, I made the drive into the town of Questa, to buy REAL mouse traps! Obviously there must be an advantage to using professionally designed products rather than my own lame attempts.

Different types of mousetraps, to rid your RV of a pest
It’s time to go pro… Stocking up at the hardware store

I was going all out this time — unlike my homemade traps, these were designed to kill. I hate the thought of killing a mouse, but I hate having one inside my RV even more! And I felt like I’d given this little guy so many chances to leave and stay healthy, but he just kept getting bolder and bolder.

So… in spite of my qualms, I decided to go for the permanent solution.

I bought 3 different types of traps, and set up 6 of them all over the camper when I went to bed.

Within a half hour, I heard the sound of a trap slamming. Yuck! But I didn’t want to get up and look. Instead, I rolled over, and didn’t hear another tiny footstep all night. Finally success.

Now I had to steel myself to dealing with the thing in the morning. I tried to envision myself being brave. After all, what could a dead little mouse do to me? But it was such a horrifying thought, having to empty a mousetrap! My skin shivers just thinking about it now! 🙁

Fortunately, the trap that worked was one where you can’t actually see the mouse inside. You can only tell it caught something, by the position of the latch.

DCON mousetrap, what I used to get rid of a mouse in my RV
Finally, we have a winner! This is the trap that did it.

So I screwed up my courage, put on some gloves, held the trap over a trash can, turned my head away, pushed the catch releasing the mouse (awful little thud), and immediately (without looking) put a paper towel over it so I never had to see it. Then I tied up the garbage, tossed it in the dumpster, and the deed was done.

Goodbye Mr. Mouse! I gave you plenty of chances!


Project – Getting rid of a mouse from Zennie
Productd-CON Ultra Set Covered Mouse Trap. I tried a few, but this was the one that did the job. It’s a good choice for squeamish people, since you never have to see the mouse or touch it.


Questions? Comments?

Have you ever gotten a mouse in your camper? How do you get rid of a mouse in your RV? Any tips or experiences to share? Please leave them in the Reply section below. Thanks!

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PHOTO CREDITS: Mouse – Martyn Fletcher, Others – Deanna Keahey

Follow Deanna:

Hi! I'm Deanna, creator of Uphill Zen. I'm currently yondering around North America with my 1986 Toyota motorhome, Zennie. What makes my heart sing is travel, adventure, and the awe-inspiring wonders of nature. Finding ways to share that joyous spirit is what this is all about.

2 Responses

  1. Maureen

    Renovating my Sunrader was an educational experience. The mouse damage, musty smell and occasional mummified furry little body had a lot to do with the low price I paid for it ($2300). I started with cleaning, but when I realized the scope of the damage and filth I switched to a crowbar and gutted it, studs and all. There was even mouse poo in the ceiling insulation. Amazing… where the black and grey-water pipes went thru the floor there were enormous, completely unprotected holes around those pipes. I filled all three of those pass-thru holes (toilet, shower and kitchen sink) with spray foam insulation mixed with fine steel wool. The bathroom floor is much warmer now (bonus), and mice won’t chew through steel wool, so no more mouse problems.

    • Deanna

      Hi Maureen –
      Thanks for your comment! It sounds like you’re way ahead of me on this. I was also shocked to find completely unprotected, gaping holes around some of the pipes going through my floor. I’m amazed that I never saw a mouse until now — with holes like that, you’d think they would have moved in long ago!

      I’m glad to hear you found a permanent solution that’s working for you. I’ve been working with some of that spray foam stuff and wire mesh, but some of the pipes (and holes around them) are unreachable, in the gap between the gray tank and the floor. So mine is still a work in progress, but I’m getting there!

      Thanks! – Deanna.

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