Dropped mousetrap down air duct

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Old 10-18-19, 02:50 PM
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Dropped mousetrap down air duct

I was attempting to place a mousetrap inside a floor register when I dropped it down the duct. I didn't realize how steep the drop was, and now I can't reach the trap to get it out. I can see it with an endoscope, but it is just out of arm's reach (naturally).

I can't figure out what kind of tool to use to get it out. It is too large for the small "plunger" type grabber. A large, rigid grabber won't work because it's rigid. So I need a long, flexible, large mouth grabber (or longer arms). I tried a closet auger, hoping to hook the trap and pull it out, but I couldn't get hold of the trap.

Any suggestions? This is a Tomcat spin trap like the one in the photo.
 
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Old 10-18-19, 02:59 PM
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Would something like this work?
https://www.harborfreight.com/hand-t...ool-94162.html
 
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Old 10-18-19, 03:03 PM
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Why not just leave it there?
 
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Old 10-18-19, 03:17 PM
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Get a magnet with a string on it.
 
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Old 10-18-19, 03:24 PM
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No, the trap is plastic, not magnetic, and the grabbing end of that grabber (I have a similar one) is too small.
Get a magnet with a string on it.
Won't work for same reason. There's no metal in this trap.
Why not just leave it there?
I may have to, but I'd rather get it out. There's peanut butter bait in there which will eventually spoil and the trap is blocking the airflow to some extent.
 
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Old 10-18-19, 04:01 PM
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A spool of mechanic's wire, something that every household should have in there tool box anyway, with a bend on the end of it has bailed me out of similar situations any number of times. Mixed with a little patience of course. Or you might try a shop vac with rags around the opening to seal it enough.
 
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Old 10-19-19, 05:19 AM
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A couple things to be careful about.
Make sure that any thing you use to get at it has a string or whatever so that if you drop it you will be able to retrieve it,
Make sure that it cannot fall further down into the venting where it will cause a problem and become a must get it out situation re: on top of your heat exchanger etc,

I would get a pipe or a paper towel roll or again whatever.
BX wire sheath or something similar would probably be the best as you may be able to bend it so you can actually see what you are doing with you scope.
Then loop a cord, braided wire and again whatever through the tube so there is a loop at the end.
Whatever you use as a cord must be stiff enough to keep the loop.
Now reach down and get the loop around the trap.
If using a non bendable tube it will be a shot in the dark getting this done.
Have someone else pull the cord so the trap is in the loop and held against the end of the pipe etc,
Now working together lift the trap out of the vent.

I hope the above makes sense.
 
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Old 10-19-19, 05:46 AM
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There's peanut butter bait in there which will eventually spoil and the trap is blocking the airflow to some extent.
The PB will just dry into a solid blob, if it's interfering with air flow then you have air duct problems.

Do you know how many kids toys end up in air ducts, Just forget about it!

But the real question, why were you putting a trap INSIDE an air duct?
 
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Old 10-19-19, 06:22 AM
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Being lightweight plastic, a shop vac should work fine. If necessary, pick up a mini or micro attachment. Alternatively, make a hook from a coat hanger. Ideally, it should look like a pipe hook.

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Last edited by Tony P.; 10-19-19 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 10-19-19, 06:26 AM
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Before you try to retrieve the trap, close off the damper. That will prevent the trap from slipping down into the heat exchange section.

In response to Marq's comment. I ended up putting a wire mesh just under the vents to prevent toys and whatever from falling into the furnace. It also was great way to catch lots of dust. I just vacuumed them occasionally. And you'd be surprised how much dust and junk could've fallen down those vents.
 
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Old 10-19-19, 11:39 AM
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Hey, thanks for all the suggestions! I will give them a try this weekend.
 
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Old 10-19-19, 06:12 PM
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But the real question, why were you putting a trap INSIDE an air duct?
Because I wasn't thinking clearly. My wife and dog both heard rodent noise coming from the floor register and we have evidence elsewhere of mice (I've seen a mouse on 2 occasions). It failed to occur to me that it was unlikely that the mouse was actually inside the duct - and if it was, I have worse problems to deal with.

Speaking of this, can anyone recommend a mousetrap that actually works? I don't like the standard wooden snap traps because of the mess. I don't want live traps because I'm sure the mice will find their way back after release. I want a trap that kills and contains so I can just throw it away. I have tried a couple of different Tomcat models with no success, using both peanut butter and their own gel bait.
 

Last edited by RocketJSquirrel; 10-19-19 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 10-19-19, 06:49 PM
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It failed to occur to me that it was unlikely that the mouse was actually inside the duct - and if it was, I have worse problems to deal with.
It can happen. Many years ago my father-in-law bought an old farm house that was remolded many times over the years. When he took possession of it, there was a fouls smell that he could not locate. after many weeks he took apart a heating duct and found a dead rat decomposing.
 
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Old 10-20-19, 04:28 AM
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I highly recommend cats, but that's just me.

I have city cats, they just corner the mice and I rescue and release. We've only had 3 in the 10 years I've lived in this house (thankfully)

Before the cats, and when living on an old farm I did use traps, and just the wooden ones with the fake 'cheese' on it, but the trick seemed to be KFC gravy. Mice were willing to enter the area whilst everyone was up and about with the smell of that stuff.
 
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Old 10-20-19, 08:24 AM
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I don't like the standard wooden snap traps because of the mess.
A snap trap placed in a small paper bag (lunch bag) that is laid on its side and open on one end avoids the mess. After capture, just pick up the bag, roll the end closed and toss it in the trash.

Glue boards work very well also but can be gruesome. Maybe use the bag trick there too.
 
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Old 10-20-19, 08:59 AM
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A snap trap placed in a small paper bag (lunch bag
I don't like the standard wooden snap traps because of the mess.
The long cardboard boxes for soda cans also work well. Keeps pets and little kids away from the trap.
 
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Old 10-20-19, 09:33 AM
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Consider yourself fortunate your plan didn't work. Sometimes mice don't die quickly from snap traps and can move them a quite a distance, too far to recover. Then you run the risk of flies in your vents.
 
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Old 10-20-19, 09:48 AM
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Back to the initial problem -

I'd suggest a shop-vac and a few sections of swimming pool vacuum hose.

If that doesn't work, then make a hook out of an old political campaign sign -
You want the type which is a plastic bag over a "u" shaped wire frame.
When you un-bend the wire frame, you'll have somewhere around 7' of flexible-but-bendable wire- very useful for DIY projects.. Bend a 90 degree handle, and a "shepherd's crook" and see if that works...
 
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Old 10-20-19, 04:05 PM
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I would use a fish tape and use duct tape to connect anything you want to the tip:
https://bit.ly/32vHbK4
 
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Old 10-21-19, 12:48 PM
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I think I'm going to admit defeat. I taped the scope camera to the end of the shop vac hose in an attempt to use the vacuum to pull out the trap. I seem to have only pushed the trap in further, and can no longer see it on the scope at all.

It is hard to maneuver the semi-rigid scope wire through the duct with the camera pointing forward. It just wants to look at the sides of the duct. I tried taping the camera inside a toilet roll in an attempt to make it go straight. No luck. I guess the trap will stay where it is. Air is flowing through the duct.

As far as cats, I do have a city cat who visits frequently. She belongs to my nephew who lives in a 10th floor condo. Cat stays with us when he travels, which is often. It's fair to say the cat spends 1/4-1/3 of her life at my country house. Turns out city cat is a terrible mouser who has never exhibited awareness of the mouse.

Now I am no longer observing any rodent activity. No sounds, no droppings, nothing in any of the 6 traps I have scattered around. Guess I've been outsmarted by a pea-brained rodent.
 

Last edited by RocketJSquirrel; 10-21-19 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 10-21-19, 02:48 PM
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Guess I've been outsmarted by a pea-brained rodent.
I dropped it down the duct.
My salty great uncle was a farmer. My uncle told me a story about when he was a boy moving the cows between pastures, when one got out into the garden-
"I unlocked the gate, and Bloomie stood there and kicked, meanwhile Bessie snuck past s and got into the garden because ... " My laconic great uncle cuts him off - "So, the point is, you were outsmarted by a farm animal?..."

About a month later, something similar happened. "I pushed the gate closed, the post moved back, so the gate locked, but it popped open when the post shifted and.... My laconic great uncle cuts him off - "So, the point is, you were outsmarted by an inanimate object?"
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 10-21-19 at 05:03 PM.
  #22  
Old 10-21-19, 03:41 PM
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Too bad about the trap but the odds of it causing a problem are very very slim.
At least you sparked a lot of interest on the forum.
Might be an idea for a game "Catch a Mouse Catcher"

A buddy of mine always had cats.
Problem was they brought still living mice into his place as presents.
Once his big tough tomcat brought a weasel in and dropped it at his feet when he was sitting on the john.
Needless to sat a riotous chase ensued with his pants around his knees.

Have a good one!!
 
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Old 10-21-19, 06:32 PM
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outsmarted by an inanimate object
Actually outsmarted by my own failure to think through the entire situation.

It's a good thing no one here knows I am an MIT graduate and was considered smart once.
 
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Old 10-22-19, 05:13 AM
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no one here knows I am an MIT graduate and was considered smart once.
Well that one is no longer true. Out smarted by one's own smartness!
Have a good one Rocket.
 
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