Snap Trapping Solid Lure Alternatives to Marbles

Dear Snap Trappers,

I’ve recently written a post about the potential that I believe white marbles have to increase trapping rates.

To those of you that are not interested in experimenting with white marbles, there is an edible lure that you could try, instead. I discovered a while ago that plain M&M’s are a great fit inside bait cups. When you fill a bait cup about 1/3 of the way with a sticky lure (PB, Nutella, etc.) and then press an M&M on top of it, you get a small ring of the sticky lure around the M&M, so rats will be able to detect it. Even if the sticky lure isn’t exposed, I doubt that rats will have trouble smelling M&M’s.

Rats love nuts, chocolate, and sugar, so peanut butter or hazelnut spread, plus a piece of solid chocolate that has a sugar coating, should be significantly more attractive to rats than a soft lure on its own. Is peanut butter or PB and M&M’s more popular in your traps? I’d love to find out.

The main reason to combine sticky lures and solid lures in bait cups, is that the technique should increase kill rates. To eat an M&M, a rat has to use its teeth, instead of its tongue, so it will create far more vibrations than normal.
If a rat finds it difficult to nibble an M&M from the same distance that they lick up a soft lure, they will probably go farther into the trap, which increases the odds that they’ll make contact with the treadle.
It should take a rat far longer to eat an M&M than to lick up a soft lure, and I think that the more time a rat spends interacting with a trap, the more likely it is to make a mistake, because they start to let their guard down.
I suspect that a rat will be more likely to use one or both of its paws for stability when nibbling on an M&M.

What ought to increase kill rates even more than making a rat use its teeth instead of its tongue, is giving a rat the option of trying to take the M&M to its nest. Because the M&M is about halfway down the bait cup and is sitting on top of a sticky lure, when a rat uses its teeth and/or paws to remove the M&M, it will probably generate enough activity to spring the trap.

There are several benefits to using M&M’s aside from the potential to increase kill rates. Like rats, mice also have a tougher time eating out of traps that use M&M’s. For whatever reason, I have yet to find any evidence that mice eat, or even lick, M&M’s. Are there jaws too small?

Whenever I’ve trapped mice in my rat traps with M&M’s, the mice have been attempting to get to the sticky lure underneath them. Mice spend enough time on the treadle and move around enough, that some of them spring the trap. After a few days of airing, rats weren’t put off by the smell of rotting mice on their M&M’s (at least not the fussy ones).

Larger insects, slugs, and snails have shown zero interest in M&M’s, and ants have a much harder time eating the sticky lure, because so little of it is exposed and they have to tunnel their way underneath M&M’s to reach it. Using M&M’s won’t cure an ant problem, but it will slow them down. One extra trapping night out of your snap traps between checks could certainly add up over time.

A potential issue when using M&M’s is that chocolate is hazardous to birds, cats, and dogs. If your snap traps aren’t inside tunnels, using M&M’s would be risky.

If you’re having trouble trapping mice in your mousetraps, I’d try using raw chickpeas on top of a standard lure. To a mouse, an M&M is a large, heavy object, so they might be great on mousetraps, if they can be positioned properly.

If there are any other solid lures that you’ve used that have worked well, or ones that haven’t, please leave a reply.

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Great idea, my biggest problem with snap traps is mice eating the bait and triggered snap traps without a kill. I will give this a go. Thanks for sharing.

I hope that it works out.

Depending on how many mice are around, I think that solid lures like M&M’s might trap more mice in rat traps. Instead of 1 mouse having a quick meal of PB, for example, it will take them way longer to eat an M&M, so the odds of another mouse joining the first mouse should increase, putting enough weight on the treadle to get them both.


Okay, interesting, it is mouse madness this month, so enough target practise :).