PRACTICAL

Toolbox

How to Set a Rat Trap

  1. Place the rat tunnel beside a bank, wall, compost, wood pile and open the slider, ready to insert your trap (tips below on trap location)
  2. Put peanut butter or preferred bait into the traps before you set them. On the t-rex traps, the base plate slides out and in, simple twist to romove.
  3. Carefully slide your rat trap (holding the back of the trap), bait first into the tunnel and replace the sliding mesh on the tunnel. Try to keep the traps near to the back of the tunnel where you are sliding them in. If they are clear of the entrance to the tunnel there is less risk of snapping curious pets or children's fingers.
  4. Check the trap often, at least once a week. Dead rats get a bit stinky after a few days! Please keep a record of your catches and pass them on to us every few months. We would love to hear how you are going.
  5. When checking traps and disposing of rats please wear gloves. Either bury the rats in the garden or dispose of them in the bush.


TIPS

Where should I put my trap?

Think like a rat! Rats (and mice) don’t like to run across big open areas like lawns, and instead tend to stay near the cover of plants, trees, walls and buildings. Rats are also attracted to places where they can find food and water. If you have a compost heap or trees that drop fruit on the ground, your resident rats will probably be spending some time there, so that’s a good spot for your trap. Another good place is beside a waterway, as rats and mice tend to run alongside streams and creeks.

  • If trapping around the home, place 2 – 3 traps (inside tunnels) on a flat surface near fences, banks, compost, or under cover. If you’re not getting results, try a different spot.
  • If you’re trapping in the bush, then set your traps on lines 100m apart, with a trap every 50m (100m x 50m). It’s good to label the boxes to keep track of how many you have set, when and where.
  • Ensure the trap box is on firm, solid ground so it doesn’t move or rock when a rat enters the box, as this can put them off going into the tunnel.

 

Lure them in

Choosing the right bait is hotly debated, and often a fiercely competitive topic! Most people swear by peanut butter, but researchers at Victoria University of Wellington have put the different baits to the test, and found that stock-standard peanut butter might not always be the best bet. They found wild rats prefer cheese, milk chocolate, Nutella and walnuts compared to your standard peanut butter. Black licorice is also good. In any case it’s often trial and error, and the reality is that rats will eat almost anything. Experiment with different baits and make sure you tell your local facilitator what’s working so we can share around. Bait your trap and consider offering a bit of ‘free’ bait in the tunnel in front of the trap - this encourages them in to the tunnel and helps attract more rodents as they may go back to the nest with the first haul (and bring their family back).

 

How often should I check my trap?

Have a look inside every day or two for the first couple of weeks to get an idea of how many rats (and mice) are around. Mice, ants and slugs are known bait thief’s, so you may not be catching because you bait is gone or it needs refreshing. When your catch rate goes down you can start checking every 2-3 weeks. The more rats in the area, the more checks you will need to do.

 

What do I do with the rats I catch?

This is up to you, but we recommend either disposing of them in the bush or burying them in the garden.

Register and Record rat catches on TrapNZ

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Controlling Rats

An excerpt from the pest animal control guidelines for the Auckland region.

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Practical Trapping Guide

‘A practical guide to trapping’ was developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) to support your valuable hard work in protecting Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique and highly vulnerable native taonga species.

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Pest Management Control Guidelines