Flo on how to trap a rat

November 02, 2015

Flo  on how to trap a rat

Oh rats! There are so many reasons to control the little beasties, from the benefits of protecting our native birds, lizards, insects, and trees, to preventing vehicle and property damage (including ovens, electrical wiring, and pipes).

Rats are both predators, and competitors for food, so it’s a double win when populations are reduced or eradicated. And with all the incredible conservation work going on around the region in our mainland ‘islands’ and reserves, it’s important to not allow your property to become a supply point for new rats. So here’re a few tips to make the job easier and, well let’s face it, a little less icky!  

Traps vs poison? Snap trap & box sets are a one-off purchase (cheap-as-chips for $11), they kill humanely, and can be used for many years. In remote areas, poisoning rodents may be the only option, but in urban areas this is mostly unnecessary. The active ingredient used in all rodent poison products is an anticoagulant called Brodifacoum which remains active in the food chain for 2-3 kills, so there is the risk that scavenging animals, including pets, may fall victim. For all of these reasons, snap traps in boxes are a great option for most households.  

Snap traps:

  • Should be enclosed in a box to exclude non-target animals and of course children.
  • To comply with animal welfare standards, the trap should be attached at the middle of a thin plastic board the size of your box floor. This prevents it moving close to the entrance in reach of fingers and paws.
  • Additionally, by having the plastic board to grab hold of, it makes removing the trap from the box easier whether it’s still set, or has a rat caught in it.
  • Be sure to check your trap daily and remove caught rats whilst still fresh. They can be buried in your garden making an excellent natural fertiliser, or wrapped in newspaper for the bin.
    • Peanut butter is my favourite, try anything that’s a bit fatty and sticky and doesn't go rancid. Cheese will dry out too quickly.
    • Try tucking a paper towel that you've wiped the bbq with at the back of the box as an extra lure!
      Where to place your trap? Think like a rat! Rodents prefer to take the long way under cover, rather than the short way out in the open.
      • Place traps in cover, against fences, and on routes you have spotted them using.
      • Near potential food sources, behind the compost bin is ideal, and if you have chooks, rats will likely scavenge around their pen, so this is another trapping hotspot.
      • Try moving traps around if you don’t catch anything for a while. Unless rats are already eradicated in your area, they’re likely using your property, so do persist.
        The ultimate trap is a neighbourhood network, this has proven to work in my own area in Kāpiti, and makes everyone’s job much easier when rat population numbers plummet. If you’d like to know more, do pop into our Eco Centre for a rat chat and demonstration. Trap sets are available in the shop.

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