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Mouse Trap

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The lengths some mice will go to...
If you see a thing
That's a piece of wood
And a kind of spring
And a hook and a bar
And a bite of cheese
That looks very good,
Don't touch it, please.
Stay where you are.
Take care or—snap!
You'll be caught in a trap!
Loudmouse by Richard Wilbur

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. The trap is stereotypically baited with some kind of cheese, possibly Cartoon Cheese. Also for some reason, if the trap does catch a mouse, more often than not it only snaps on their tail.

In real life, the classic spring-bar rodent trap works by striking with enough force to break the target's bones (typically the skull, neck, ribs, or spine). So it is just as painful as it appears, depending on the size of the trap and strength of its spring.

Compare Bear Trap for a more gruesome trap, which may or may not still be played for comedy.

For the Agatha Christie play please go to The Mousetrap. For the tabletop game, go to Mouse Trap (1963).


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     Anime and Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable: Jotaro uses mouse traps in an attempt to catch Bug Eaten, a rat with Stand powers. Bug Eaten manages to use one of the traps on Josuke's hand when the latter attempts to investigate a strange piece of wood, distracting him and giving Bug Eaten an opportunity to attack him.
  • Some attempts by Team Rocket in Pokémon: The Series to poach Ash's Pikachu are in a way mouse traps as Pikachu is a mouse Pokémon.

     Board Games 


     Comic Books 

     Fan Works 

     Film - Animation 
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, a mouse trap is disguised as a stage for the mice to sit on, which would be used to kill them all.
    • In the first film, Tony trips a trap with a stick to get the cheese.
  • A mouse trap is part of Ratigan's elaborate Death Trap in The Great Mouse Detective. Basil and Dawson are tied to the trap, which should be enough, but the trigger is also connected to various weapons set to fire at them just to make sure. Basil triggers the trap early, creating a chain reaction that disables the whole thing.
  • Flushed Away uses a mousetrap in one scene. Rather than actually bait and trap a mouse, it is used to propel a rat forward to the prey.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Jessica's "booby trap" (fittingly, a larger rat-trap—it injures one of Doom's weasel lackeys.)
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Gromit's put Wallace on a diet, and sets a mousetrap in Wallace's secret (he thinks) cheese cupboard.
    Wallace: OW! Well, Gromit. Caught me red-handed, eh, lad?

     Film - Live Action 
  • MouseHunt. Loads of them: in fact, a whole roomful, to catch the extremely tenacious mouse. It does not work, and the mouse uses them to trap the fierce cat which is then set on him.
  • In The Incredible Shrinking Man, the much-diminished protagonist gets stuck in a basement and has to raid a mousetrap for its cheese to avoid starving.
  • The short film The Contraption, starring Richard "Riff Raff" O'Brien.
  • During the frisking scene in The Mask, one of the many items pulled from the eponymous individual's pockets is a set mousetrap.
  • Diamonds Are Forever: In the pre-titles set-piece, James Bond has what appears to be a razor-sharp mouse-trap inside his jacket pocket.
  • Evil Dead 2: Ash's demonic severed hand gets caught in a mouse trap. Ash laughs at the hand's misery.
  • In a scene from Muppets from Space showing the Muppets' morning routines, Rizzo is using a moustrap as a fitness machine.
  • The first Jackass The Movie has Ehren McGhehey dressed as a mouse crawling through a floor-full of mouse traps setting off almost every one of them. The crew throws several at him including one attached to his groin.
  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action: Daffy gets a mousetrap caught on his bill while searching Dusty Tails' dressing room.
    Daffy: Now, if I were a giant diamond, where would I be? (SNAP) Well, not there.
  • In The Goonies, Mikey sits on a mousetrap, setting it off, but he can't cry out because one of the bad guys is nearby.
  • Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion: While looking in Axmann's bureau for evidence, Lou ends up finding a couple of mouse traps in his drawers and getting his fingers caught in them.

  • One of Robert McCloskey's Homer Price stories, "Nothing New Under the Sun (Hardly)", 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. note 
    • In Hogfather, the Death of Rats collects a mouse that fell prey to one of these.
    • In The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, the Trap Disposal Squad's byword is "Be like the second mouse". The first mouse, in this parable, is the one that gets the trap rather than the cheese.
  • One of the stories about Emil of Lönneberga by Astrid Lindgren has Emil's father Anton getting his toe stuck in a rat trap.
  • In The Witches, the Grand High Witch sings gleefully about mouse traps which kill the children who have been transformed into mice. However, she has not accounted for the formula turning them into sentient intelligent mice who retain their minds, and would avoid the traps.

     Live Action TV 
  • In Bottom, Richie and Eddie end up tied to chairs, with strategically placed mouse traps to snare them in a very uncomfortable place between their legs.
  • 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.
  • In the original BBC version of The Borrowers, Pod carefully grabs a bit of cheese from one; the trap still snaps but he avoids getting hurt by swerving away.
  • 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 Brown 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.
  • Stephen Colbert once primed a mousetrap and set it on his desk. Then he forgot about it later in the show. Unplanned hilarity ensued.
  • In El Chavo del ocho, Professor Jirafales buys many of these and tells Chavo to hide them everywhere to catch a mouse in Doña Florinda's restaurant. El Chavo of course complies, but hides them in so many places that Doña Florinda and others accidentally find and activate them several times.
  • On Impractical Jokers, Q had to get a stranger in a grocery store to hold a primednote  mouse trap for him while he walked away for a minute. He was unsuccessful. (It probably didn't help that just before the attempted hand-off, he set off another trap that he was holding in his other hand.)
  • In the Christmas episode of Mr. Bean, he leaves a stocking by a mousehole. This stocking contains a piece of cheese, which Mr Bean places on a mouse trap.


     Newspaper Comics 
  • 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".
  • Featured in more than one The Far Side. One typical example has a mouse couple coming home to their hole to find a set trap. The wife is saying something like "Who knows what it is or where it came from. Get rid of it. But save that cheese before you do."

     Puppet Shows 
  • In the Joan Baez episode of The Muppet Show, the storyline involved the rats trying to take over the show. In the "Pigs in Space" sketch, Link says he set a trap in the refrigerator. Cue First Mate Piggy entering the bridge with the trap snapped on her snout.

  • Louisiana Purchase references this in one verse of the (originally) Cut Song "I'd Love to Be Shot from a Cannon with You":
    I'd love to be caught in a mousetrap with you;
    We're hungry, and so there is one thing to do.
    We soon hear a couple of mouses
    Yell out, "They ate our cheese, the louses,"
    When I'm caught in a mousetrap with you.

  • Although only shown in his trading card (his toy is just his skull), Rotten Rat of The Trash Pack is a maggoty rat skeleton caught in a mouse trap, still desperately trying to grab for the cheese out of his reach.

     Video Games 
  • One section of Geist requires you to possess a mouse and traverse a veritable minefield of mouse traps. They may be in plain sight, but that cheese is surprisingly tempting.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, 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.
  • One of the chore minigames in Cook, Serve, Delicious! involves setting up a rat trap.
  • In Cool Spot, mouse traps can be found in the "Off the Wall" and "Back to the Wall" levels. Depending on which side Spot steps on, they'll either fling him around or snap on him.
  • In Tom and Jerry Chase, the cat can use mousetraps to stop mice that come out of Mouse Holes, try to push cheese into them or rescue their teammates who are Strapped to Rockets. However, if it's not careful, the cat can get caught by its own mousetrap as well (which can be avoided by equipping the "Cautious" perk card).
  • The mouse characters in Small Saga call these "thundersnares" and carefully avoid them while sneaking into a grocery store in the prologue, but when a human actually appears, one gets his tail snapped in one and has to sever it to escape.

     Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: In "Doggone It", Lumpy uses a mouse trap to take down an entire kraken.
    • The Rat gets maimed when he lands in a mouse-trap factory in "Mole in the City."
  • Hakos Baelz of hololive wears one as an earring in her right rat ear.

  • In one strip of Freddy Fox, Cathy the Cat ends up getting her tongue caught in one of these during her attempt to catch some prey.
  • Scurry: The first chapter has Wix and Umf explore an abandoned house, where they discover the body of Seep. Seep lies dead with his neck beneath the snap bar of a mouse trap. Wix comments that Seep always had an unhealthy curiosity about those things.

     Western Animation 
  • Oh-so many Tom and Jerry shorts.
    • 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.
  • Inch High, Private Eye goes into a mousehole and meets a mouse bigger than he is. He backs up and his trenchcoat trips a mousetrap; the mouse snickers at him.
  • 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, oblivious to the traps snapping on his person.
  • In one episode of Hey Arnold!, Phil sets multiple mouse traps in the guest room where his sister Mitzi (who is visiting for the week) is staying in to get her to leave the boarding house. However, Mitzi tricks Phil into falling for his own traps and... well, you already know what happens from there.
  • An Eye Catch for Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers shows Monterrey Jack getting some cheese from a trap, leaving behind the wire bent in the shape of his head.
  • 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.
    • In "Zipping Along", 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...
  • Bugs Bunny uses mousetraps on an ineffectual Indian in A Feather In His Hare.
    Indian: Me try catch-um rabbit. Me no catch-um rabbit. Me catch-um me!
  • 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.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In "Grounder the Genius", Scratch and Grounder use a giant mousetrap to try to catch Sonic, using a doll of Tails as bait. After Sonic traps dolls of them in the trap, Scratch and Grounder reveal a giant Bear Trap underneath, which Sonic is quick enough to avoid, but they aren't when it falls on them.
    • In "Tails In Charge", Tails witnesses Scratch and Grounder build a giant mousetrap in an attempt to catch him. They use a chili dog as bait, but Tails manages to trick them into thinking they caught him, thus trapping them in it.
  • Private Snafu: In "Booby Traps", one of the booby traps that almost does in for Snafu is a giant mousetrap.
  • Total Drama: Mouse traps are one of the more harmless dangers the contestants are exposed to.
    • Chris doesn't tell the Killer Grips about the mouse traps he's hidden in the tires of the tire obstacle course in "Million Dollar Babies" until they're all several steps in.
    • In "Runaway Model", Sam demonstrates the Super-Reflexes he developed through 10 years-worth of playing video gaming by unbaiting a mouse trap without setting it off. He then unwittingly steps on said trap and sets off a dozen additional traps as he hops backwards.
    • In "Up, Up, and Away in My Pitiful Balloon", Scott draws the challenge to build a bird from the bag Chris holds up. He doesn't agree with that and reaches in to draw another challenge, only for two of his fingers to get caught in a mouse trap.
    • Chef holds the briefcase with the prize money while Chris gives his introduction speech for "Brains Vs Brawn: The Ultimate Showdown". He takes the opportunity to attempt to sneak some of the bills in his own pockets, but finds that Chris is one step ahead of him when his fingers get caught in a mouse trap that was was hidden beneath the bills.
    • While Duncan's munching through the giant pancakes in "Food Fright", he encounters a hidden mouse trap that clamps shut on his lips. It leaves him with Gag Lips.
  • Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy: In "Good Mouse Keeping," a cheese-stealing mouse is causing problems so Doggie Daddy plants a roomful of mousetraps on the floor. The critter comes up behind and blares a megaphone which cause Doggie Daddy to jump and claw the ceiling. The ceiling cracks you know the rest of the story.
  • Snooper and Blabber try to use a mousetrap to catch a gopher raiding a mansion garden in "Gopher Goofers." Blabber lowers it in the gopher hole from a fishing line but the gopher emerges from behind and snaps the trap on Snooper's tail. Blabber reels the line in thinking it's the gopher.
    Blabber: I got him, Snoop! And guess what. He looks just like you!
    Snooper: That's because he is me, you booby Blab!


Video Example(s):


Tom and Jerry Tales' theme

The intro only shows Tom and Jerry's antics. There aren't any lyrics.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstrumentalThemeTune

Media sources: