D-Rat Trap - Risk to Birds?


Been looking at deploying these D-Rat traps into the Bush (In areas where we catch more rats than possums in Leg hold traps)

But it looks like a normal snap trap in a cover.

My question is:

(1) Do these catch non-target birds (Being in Trees)
(2) Are there any good at catching Rats?



I have about 5 in the bush behind my house and I know there are lots of rats in the trees, however after a year I haven’t caught any in the d-rat traps. Sometimes they get set off without catching anything but some never get sprung at all. Haven’t caught a bird yet but mine are the supervisor model with the long cowel


Thanks for the reply, yes I might give them a miss.

I wonder if the longer cowel is putting them off?


I have a couple of D-Rat traps near the Waikanae Estuary. I have built 2 wooden boxes as per the plans on the website. These seem to work well. I don’t have problems catching birds. The biggest problem with all traps using peanut butter is insect etc eating the bait.

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My neighbour bought one and the first thing she caught with her trap was a bird. So a wooden box is required or a tunnel leading into it.

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Thanks for the feedback, it looks like you may as well just make a tunnel and put in a snap trap.

Which are much cheaper than d-rat trap.

The advantage of the d-trap would have been not needing to have to build a tunnel, but without in sounds like the risk to birds is too much.

The main reason I put traps out is to help the birds, so don’t want to risk any birds being trapped by our efforts.


Hi I have used mostly D-traps on my bush block. I initially had this issue where the traps were on the ground. I added some plastic pipe and mounted the trap to a bit of wood & set them in a box which solved the issue The ones I have fixed on trees don’t catch birds. I have one fixed to a tree that sits next next to a fence line and that has caught heaps of rats. SarahIMG_7769 IMG_7768 IMG_7767 IMG_7765 IMG_7764

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I had no success with my D-rat trap when I secured it to a tree but have since caught a lot of rats after putting it in a box on the ground. I’ve also recently bought the D-rat tunnel trap and have had success with that, again by putting it on the ground.
I really like the D-rat traps as they’re much easier to set than the Victor, for example, and you can easily dispose of the rat.

What species of rat Alan, and what terrain? Sounds like you have norway rather than ship.

Yes I have ordered one to try, we are picking up lots of Ship rats running in the Trees on TrailCams. So will have to see if that equates to captured ones.

Yes Norway Rats are not as good as climbing trees, so that maybe the issue?


Tree traps - a good alternative? - Predator Free NZ

In my DOC 200 traps, the birds I’ve trapped are blackbirds and thrushes, both of which are attracted to meat/blood lures. I would prefer not to trap them, obviously, but the numbers here are high, and I only kill a few a year.

I wanted to know the risks to native birds when I tried to trap rats in trees, checking their diets. There are only a few species interested in meat/blood lures, and they’re either ground-dwelling or birds of prey, so I decided to use the safest option. I wondered if Ruru / Morepork would be in danger, but I was unable to find any evidence - academic or anecdotal - that they scavenge from traps or enter cages. If it’s not a fresh kill, they aren’t interested.

To avoid catching the vast majority of birds, I recommend using Goodnature’s Stoat lure, which I have trapped a lot of pests with - especially rats. It’s long-lasting, waterproof, insects don’t eat it, and it’s inexpensive, so it’s a way better lure than PB. They also have a chocolate lure, but that might trap birds.The ship rats here like the Stoat lure more that PB and chocolate, and why limit your catches to rats when you might trap a few stoats or weasels, too?

Sounds like a great idea, how long does that last? I think PB is only non moldy for around five days.

Yes tried Nutella with no results for Rats.


Goodnature’s lures are specifically designed to stay attractive for long periods in the bush, withstanding temperature and moisture extremes. The company recommends replacing the lure in their auto-traps every 6 months, so that’s how long it lasts inside its pump-housing. How long it can stay effective would depend on what kind of trap you’re using, and where it’s located. The Stoat lure has worked so well for me that I have to reapply it quite often, because mice and small rats devour the stuff. Even in harsh conditions, I think it would last at least a month, but it’s probably longer than that.

The amount of time it takes for PB to go stale, rot, or go mouldy varies a great deal. In my experience, its effectiveness declines quickly. It’s a great bait to use at home, in snap traps that can be checked frequently, but it isn’t a good medium or long-term bait in bush traps.

Scientific studies have shown that Nutella is one of rats’ favourite foods, so if you have any left, I’d keep using it. Another good lure to try is mayonnaise. It stays good longer in traps than you’d think it would, probably due to the vinegar.

I hope this helps.

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Thanks alot, yes I will get some of that Good Nature Lure. One month that is amazing.

I do check them every three days anyway, but I’m going through peanut like crazy and most of that is being scrapped off when it gets moldy.


Like I said, 1 month is a conservative estimate. If you had to leave home for a while and couldn’t check your traps, it’s the stuff to use, for sure. I’ve also had some luck with hickory BBQ sauce, too, because it has a lot of sugar and salt in it, which preserve it for quite a while. Rats are very fond of the chocolate and blood lures, but I’m sure you’d get a few with BBQ.

I’m still waiting for the himidity to decrease, because lures and bait can get moldy so damn quick. Goodnature lures will get moldy, but it takes way longer than food baits, because they have preservatives. If you have a few traps in damp, shady spots without much airflow, definitely use the Goodnature lure in them, instead of PB. Because you check your traps so often, PB’s fine to use in traps in sunnier spots that get a bit of airflow, but your kill totals with a Goodnature lure should not only be much higher, but will save you a lot of $ over time using them. I tried filling a big syringe with PB once to make it easier to use it, but it was a disaster. If the moldy PB you scrape off is in bits large enough to remove, I’d do that, because mold spreads way faster when there’s already mold inside the trap. 2 days of PB without mold goes to 1 day, in my experience. I’ve never tried this, but a light sprinkling of salt might reduce the time it takes to grow mold. I’ve just checks all of my traps, so could you give this a go? Rats are fond of salt, so you might end up with some fans of the combo.

A good bait to use in big traps are Erayz rabbit blocks, which are good to skewer. They go moldy in Winter, but they’re great the rest of the year. They’re a good Summer bait, because they stay good in traps for weeks and weeks, even when it’s hot. They only have a tiny amount of fat in them, so they don’t rot. Mustelids go nuts for rabbit, so it’s one of the best baits to use if they’re around.

In case you don’t know, if you put out fresh meat baits for mustelid species, remove them from your traps before they start to rot (usually 3 days), because that’s a big turn off to them, and dispose of the bait at home. I take a bag with a seal me to keep the smell locked away. If you have any DOC traps, use freshly-killed rats as bait - it can work wonders to trap more rats, and mustelids absolutely love to scavenge rats. The last stoat I trapped had a ship rat in it as bait. If you try this, rub the rat’s fur on the entrance to the trap as a scent lure, especially the hindquarters. You can rub it on the mesh, because bits of fur can get stuck. Like other meat baits, use them for 3 days, max. You can also rub rats on snap traps, because it makes rats think that it must be a safe area because others have visited it.

Geez, sorry for writing you a book! I can’t wait to find out if any of this helps. The advice I’ve taken from other trappers certainly has.


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Ugh, wish I had seen this thread earlier before I bought a pile of D-Rats to deal with rats attacking our fruit trees. After catching a bird on the first day (eek) I put them inside bird netting so zero birds since then, however as others have pointed out they seem to be totally useless at catching rats. I set them up on poles off the ground so the rats have to come in from the bait side and every night we can hear them going off, followed by an empty trap in the morning. I’m sure they give the rats a good scare but they seem to be useless at catching them. My guess is that the trigger plate is designed badly, it’s way too big so as soon as the rats put their paws on it, long before they get at the bait container, it goes off, doing nothing more than giving them a bit of a scare.

That’s a damn pricey rat scarer. I mean, it’s a nice design, but if it doesn’t work…

Since I’ve got a bunch of these not-very-effective traps I decided to try and modify the trigger plate on one with a Dremel. I’ve now got it down in the rat circus with most of the trigger plate cut away, so it (hopefully) can’t be triggered prematurely any more.

Does anyone have a trail cam set up near a D-Rat which would show how it’s being triggered? I’m just guessing at what the problem is, it would be useful to see actual footage of a rat triggering one without being trapped by it.

A big design flaw with the Snap-E model trap, is that it doesn’t have teeth. Whether they’re bare metal, or have a yellow cover on the bar, rats are capable of squeezing themselves free, especially if the trap is mounted. You might be trapping rats frequently, but they’re escaping. Look for small amounts of fur.

It may not be a viable option financially, depending on the number of traps you have, but there is an accessory available called the “Teeth Kill Bar” that you can attach to the smooth kill bar of Snap-E traps that might be worth trying. I doubt that the teeth bar will affect the way that the trap works inside D-Rat housings, as it only raises the height of the kill bar a small amount.
Strong Mouse & Rat Traps - Gorilla Snap Traps | Designed-2-Kill (designed2kill.info)

Instead of mounting your traps directly on to posts or trunks, relatively-short ramps should be more effective, because the angle at which a rat approaches the treadle is more likely to trap them than if they’re vertical.

Firm lures are generally superior to soft ones, I find, because they’re harder for rats to eat out of a bait cup, but getting firm lures inside bait cups is tricky when they’re mounted vertically, because firm lures can fall out of them. With horizontal traps, I’ve found a way to reduce the amount of theft, and increase kills. Put a normal lure inside a bait cup, like crunchy PB, and press a raw chickpea or 2 on top of it. Some rats will try to move the chickpea out of the way, which can cause enough disturbance to set off the trap, and some of them will bite the chickpea, probably to take it away. They’re as hard as a rock, so a rat has to really sink its teeth in to it, which usually sets off the trap. A number of the rats that I’ve killed have had a chickpea clenched in their teeth when I’ve found them. This technique may also work in vertical traps, because the chickpeas should be held in place by the base lure (PB, Nutella, etc.). A lure that I highly-recommend is tallow. Not only is it very attractive to rats, being pure fat, but its texture may make it suitable for vertical traps. Tallow doesn’t go mouldy, mice only eat a small amount of it per visit, so it lasts way longer than other lures, invertebrates have no interest in it (here, at least), and it takes insects way longer to eat than other lures.

To save yourself money, in the future, test a trap to weigh the pros and cons, and look up reviews and tips. Have you contacted Enviro Tools about the traps not doing the job they’re designed to do?

Good luck!

Thanks for the detailed reply! The reason for getting the D-Rats is that the rat attack started just before Christmas and I could get those before everything closed down for several weeks, and they seemed better designed than the usual cheapies from Bunnings/M10 - I got a few of the wooden ones to try since they were so cheap and they’re almost useless, the end of the hold-down bar that goes into the trigger mechanism doesn’t have a barb on it, it’s just piece of thick wire cut so smoothly that it slips off the trigger by itself over time.

I’ve also got two of the Snap-E’s (post-Christmas) but as you point out they don’t have teeth, just a yellow cover on the bar. They’ve been triggered on each of the two nights I’ve now had them, but there’s nothing in them in the morning, I’ll check for fur remnants tomorrow when it’s light.

One possibility for those, in lieu of the missing teeth, is to build a plywood collar around them with 28mm screws coming up in front of the trap, an emulation of the D2K Monster trap you linked to with the ends of the screws sticking up in front of the kill bar taking the place of the missing teeth on the Snap-E. So essentially a U-shaped box with the top and back covered in chicken wire, a line of screw ends sticking up from the floor at the front, and the trap butted against it, so the only way to the bait is to come in from the front over the spikes.

Thanks for the advice about the ramp, I’ve tried them on poles, strapped to some of the trees under attack, and in desperation just flat on the ground. All were triggered, with nothing in them to show for it, I’ll try a ramp tomorrow.

Ooh, and the chickpea trick is nice! I’ve found Connovation’s aniseed lure, designed for possums, to attract rats like crazy while being apparently ignored by possums when it’s in the Timms traps. PB was much less effective.

I’ve now done the above modification on two of the ineffective D-Rats, I’ll report on how they go after tonight’s rat carnival. What I did was cut away about 8-10mm of the trigger pad and then drill a line of holes into the base of the trap along the front, just inside where the bar comes down, and run 28mm 8GA screws up into it. As a result there’s now a line of metal spikes where the trap bar comes down.

One comment on this, as a CYA thing in case anyone else tries this, this converts a trap that’s quite safe for both humans and rats into a pretty dangerous one. Without the spikes if you get your finger caught in it you’ll end up with at most a bruise, with the spikes added you’re going to take some serious damage if it the bar pushes your fingers onto the spikes. I’d recommend sticking a dowel across the throat of the trap when you’re setting it up and only removing it when it’s installed as you’re arming it.