In fiction, especially cartoons, the humble mouse trap seems to be far more effective at catching unwanted hands reaching into unexpected places than it is actually catching wayward mice — in many cases, they will inevitably catch the fingers of the one who set it.
In real life, it can still be just as painful as it appears, depending on the size of the trap and strength of its spring.
Compare Bear Trap for something more horrific and (not always less) comedic.
For the Agatha Christie play please go to The Mousetrap.
In the Comic Book Adaptation of Its About Time, the astronauts build a giant-sized mousetrap to trap a giant-sized mouselike creature. How they managed to get the steel to make the spring goes unmentioned.
During the frisking scene in The Mask, one of the many items pulled from the eponymous individual's pockets is a set mousetrap.
In El Chavo del ocho, Professor Jirafales buys many of these and tells Chavo to hide them everywhere to catch a mouse in Doņa Florinda's restaurant. El Chavo of course complies, but hides them in so many places that Doņa Florinda and others accidentally find and activate them several times.
One of Robert McCloskey's Homer Price stories, "Michael Murphy's Musical Mousetrap", is about a man who's spent 20 years in the mountains designing and building a better mouse trap. It doesn't quite work as planned.
In the Discworld novel Moving Pictures, there's an interlude involving a man who's devoted himself to building a better mouse trap.
In Hogfather, the Death of Rats collects a mouse that fell prey to one of these.
On Three's Company, the trio had a mouse, and Jack switched beds with Janet until it got caught. (Since Chrissy was a farmer's daughter, she had no problem being in the same room with a mouse.) After some hilarity ensued, Jack ended up with the mouse trap on his foot.
Hannah Montana: When a mouse invades the Stewart household, Jackson tries to catch it by covering the floor with mouse traps. However, he traps himself in a corner and tries to jump across the countertop to get out. He fails and falls, landing on and getting caught by multiple mouse traps.
One of the buzzers in Distraction was simply having to trigger a mousetrap (more accurately, a rat trap) with your hand. At least one contestant ended up with a broken finger.
A cheese-centric episode of Good Eats opens with Alton laying out hundreds of mouse traps in an attempt to catch one mouse. He thinks he spots a particularly rare type of cheese and goes for it; as the title card and theme song play, we hear him yelp in pain and dozens of snapping noises.
One of the games on Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza involved two blindfolded and barefoot players and a stage covered with primed mousetraps. For added fun and Sociopathy, one of the other comics (usually Ryan) might start deliberately placing mousetraps or even throwing them at the participants.
In Weird Al Yankovic's Michael Jackson parody "Fat", a mousetrap provides a percussive snap as Al goes for the cheese.
Pepino, The Italian Mouse has the owner of the house trying to catch the taunting mouse by tempting him through various means, and Pepino offers up a gift... which catches the owner's hand in the trap.
Mousetraps are featured in several Garfield strip. In week-long arc, a mouse is caught in one, but he's happy about it, because he has a wife and eight kids: "This is the first peace and quiet I've had in years".
In Metal Gear Solid 3, you can use a mousetrap to catch animals alive. This is important as it allows you to catch the most rare creature in the game that will end up giving you some face paint that grants you unlimited ammo if you keep it to the end of the game.
In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, before Adell joins your team, she will try to underhandedly trick your party into giving up/missing/not getting to the spoils of missions. The protagonist and Cid decide to make it seem like they forgot a rare piece of a treasure to lure Adell into walking right on a "mousetrap".
The actual status of is questionable, though. The trapie claims not to be able to move after falling for it.
The "Designs on Jerry" episode involved Tom building a room-filling Rube Goldberg Device which he intended to market as the "better mousetrap".
In the first Pink Panther short, "The Pink Phink", a painter sees the Panther's tracks and thinks he's dealing with a large mouse. So he gets a giant mousetrap, but the Panther sneaks up from behind and trips him, causing the trap to snap on the seat of his pants. As he walks away with the trap behind him, a mouse runs up and takes the cheese on the trap.
A Looney Tunes short featured a tank being tested to withstand various traps. It gets caught in a gigantic mousetrap.
On The Penguins of Madagascar, Skipper tests the others by having them go through a minefield of mouse traps to get a fish. Rico simply walks straight through, oblivous to the traps snapping on his person.
In the Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner cartoon "Chariots of Fur", Wile E. tries to catch the Roadrunner with a giant mousetrap. He catches a giant mouse instead, who then clobbers him.
Bugs Bunny uses mousetraps on an affectual Indian in A Feather In His Hare.
Indian: Me try catch-um rabbit. Me no catch-um rabbit. Me catch-um me!
Wile E. Coyote sets a few dozen of them on the road and hides in the embankment - the Road Runner zooms by and they fly up in his wake into the embankment and...
Beavis And Butthead try to use a rat trap on a rat that ate their nachos, but it keeps closing on their body parts (including their ears).
In The Simpsons episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", Bart tells that the incident where Freddy Quimby beat up a waiter was actually a result of the waiter's own clumsiness. When the waiter tries to tell everybody that he's not clumsy, he slips and falls out the window into a truck full of mousetraps.