Humane Trapping

Over 3 years T-Rex traps worked well for me but recently there were 2 occasions where I had to finish off the caught rats, one caught by the snout, the second by the tail. I’ve no doubt the replacement Victor traps are very effective in killing rats, but my first catch with such a trap was a mouse, caught by the hindquarters. While it was dead I doubt it died quickly. I’m always careful to confine the bait to the right place. Any suggestions to avoid this mouse/smaller creature problem?

Inhumane kills are unavoidable, unfortunately, but I’ve been able to reduce my dirty kills to only a few animals per year.

How are you using your traps, exactly? In tunnels? Exposed? Mounted on a base?

Thanks for your response. I only have 2 traps but my dirty kills over 3 years number only 2. The traps are in wooden tunnels on the ground, in a secluded part of the garden abutting a reserve. Last night another rat caught that no doubt died pretty quickly. The Victor seems well-designed for rats but seems over-large for typical mouse dimensions, with a risk of missing vitals…?

I wouldn’t be concerned about dirty kill totals that low.

One thing that I’ve found to be very effective at reducing dirty kills and injuries in my snap traps, is to mount them onto the base of my tunnels. In my experience, loose traps result in far higher rates of dirty kills and injuries, due to their instability.

There are other good reasons to mount traps.

  • Mounted traps eliminate the problem of scavengers removing traps from tunnels when they contain a kill.
  • Mounted traps are less likely to get damaged when they fire, because they don’t collide with anything.
  • Victor traps easier and safer to set, when they’re mounted down.
  • Loose traps are, in my experience, more likely to dry-fire, because predators can accidentally bump them just enough to set them off, while they’re too far away to get hit by the kill-bar/teeth.
  • If you have to move a tunnel, the trap(s) stay in place.

Do you only traps rats?
Since I began an intensive campaign to trap small rodents 2 years ago, my rat kills have increased significantly, due to the lack of interference.


Thanks again, what’s the best way to “mount” the trap given the ongoing need to remove it from the tunnel for re-baiting/setting. The tunnels’ dimensions (3 cm thick wood) are: 43 cm (L), 15 cm (W) and 16 cm (H). No problem with scavengers but constant problem with insects (apparently) consuming the bait before the rodents have a chance. Insect spray only helps a little. The trap over 3 years old has caught 26 rats and 21 mice; the 18 month-old trap has caught 20 rats and 12 mice.

I’ve either modified existing tunnels or custom-built my own ones, which allows me to mount the traps. Can you modify your tunnels or make brand new ones?

I’m fortunate to not have many problems with insects eating my lures. It’s usually only in summer, when I think that insects have an easier time smelling food.

It probably isn’t a good idea to use insect spray in your tunnels, because the smell might deter rodents. A very effective insecticide is white vinegar. In my experience, predators are big fans of vinegar, too. If you can avoid hitting the springs, giving a lure like PB a spray of vinegar will keep insects away until it evaporates, and it gives lures some mold-resistance, too.

I’ve read that giving a lure a coating of a spice can be a good way to deter insects, like cocoa powder on peanut butter. The powder probably camouflages the scent of the lure underneath it. Rodents, of course, won’t have any trouble smelling PB underneath a coating of cocoa/cinnamon/nutmeg. Giving the apples in my possum traps a coating of cinnamon certainly keeps the insects away.

Goodnature lures are completely ignored by the insects where I trap, so they’re definitely worth a go. At this time of year, they’re also one of the very few lures that you can use that won’t go moldy. The Meat Lovers’ lure has been the most effective one for me. Using only a few snap traps, 1 sachet will go a really long way. If you buy some, put little samples of it near your tunnels.

An effective way to limit mouse and insect interference, is to put a plain M&M on top of the lure inside the bait cup. Fill the T-Rex bait cup half-full and push down the M&M.


Thanks for your latest advice. I’ve tried the white vinegar trick but not sure it works in my location. My current bait is Nutella, which I see does include cocoa powder, so M&Ms not needed. I’ll go to Mitre 10 shortly and check out the Goodnature products, including traps.
I caught a mouse overnight and while it was dead it was caught only by the tail, which concerns me. Thus I may revert to T-Rex traps as they are equally effective for rats and mice - unless you think there’s something even better. I see mice and rats as equally bad predators…Once the trap design is settled I think I can devise ways to make them fixed yet removable for cleaning/rebaiting etc.

I would continue to use the Victors, while adding 1 or 2 T-Rexes to your arsenal. A rodent that’s able to safely eat the lure off of a Victor lure tray, might not be able to eat the lure out of a T-Rex bait cup, or vice versa. The best place to buy T-Rexes is Predator Free, BTW.

A trap that I think you should consider buying is the Supervisor Max by Envirotools, which your local Mitre 10 Mega should sell. The trap is much easier to arm than a normal Kness-style trap and has a sensitivity setting. The tunnel works really well to aim rodents and is good in the elements. The only downside is that the tunnel is quite light. I’ve mounted my 2 Supervisors onto lengths of scrap 4x2, to keep them steady, because rodents dislike walking on unstable surfaces.

I trap as many small rodents as I can, because I don’t want to rid the property of rats only to end up with mice everywhere. I’m also convinced that a lot of the “mice” that I trap are, in fact, young rats. Whenever I’ve been able to reduce the rat populations here to low levels, there hasn’t been the expected increase in small rodent numbers (not that I’m complaining). I’ve already trapped 190 small rodents this year, so identifying my kills to test my theory would be a lot of work!

I hope that the trapping campaign goes well. In the past, I’ve found that making 1 or 2 small changes can make a considerable difference.