Traps: What works and what doesn't

Regarding lures and the elements, I recommend trying Goodnature lures. They’re waterproof, mould-resistant, stay attractive to predators for months, and the levels of insect and invertebrate interference are low.1 sachet goes a long way, so it’s a cheap option, too.

The Blood lure, especially, has been very effective in my snap-traps, killing significant numbers of both rat species. For whatever reason, ants here ignore the Blood lure, so it’s worth trying if they’ve been a problem. The only downside to Blood lure is its texture, which makes it easier for predators to eat than PB or Nutella, for example. A mixed lure combining Blood lure (20%) with crunchy PB (80%) has been a big hit. It’s harder for predators to eat out of traps, it’s partially waterproof, the PB takes longer to go stale, and the predators here love the combination of smells and tastes.

Cheers.

Got one of the possums last night the very first time I used the cinnamon coating, this was one that had walked straight past the Timms trap line on multiple occasions before now. I’d chopped and changed a few other things as well so it’s not 100% certain it was only the cinnamon addition, but if it was then the effect is like magic.

Excellent! The smell of cinnamon must have been enough to stop it in its tracks to have a poke around. I’m glad that I mentioned it!
Here’s hoping it wasn’t the only cinnamon fan in the area.

Cheers.

Yep! Unfortunately I can’t edit the original list at the start of this post any more to change the comments on the Snap-E and D-Rat trigger plates, although there’s certainly rats down there because both the bait in the bait stations (held on a metal bar in a rat tunnel) and the possum feeder (loose in the case) vanish, the unexplained triggering with no catch may well have been a possum that bypassed all the other measures rather than the rats.

Have you thought of getting a trail camera to observe animal behaviour?

The blood lure doesn’t seem to be available any more? Lure & CO2 | Replenishment For A24 Trap | Goodnature USA

A24 Pre-feed Paste | Meat Lovers Formula · Goodnature

They’ve changed the lure’s name again! It was Stoat Lure, then Blood Lure, and now it’s Meat Lovers.

FYI, the lure doesn’t have a smell that humans can detect. I e-mailed Goodnature when I opened my first sachet, thinking that it must be a bad batch, but it’s designed to attract predators, not us!

It certainly did, resulting in a big spike in kills compared to PB, Nutella, etc. If you ever think that you’ve got on top of the predators in your area, switch to this lure and/or mayo, and you’ll quickly find out if there are any still around.

I’ve been very lucky with possums, apparently. The only time that a possum has interfered with one of my traps, is when a juvenile got its paw stuck in a DoC 200. All of my traps are inside some form of tunnel, which helps, but that isn’t a practical option for a lot of trappers.

Do you use DoC traps, too? If you know of a site that receives a lot multi-species activity, placing a DoC 150 or 200 double-set at the site, plus 2 models of snap-traps, and a Timms lured for possums, your kills should increase significantly.

In double-set tunnels, you can mount snap-traps inside them, so you could, potentially kill up to 4 predators per night, depending on how large the populations are. It’s a good way to reduce the number of small rodents, because the ones light enough to cross the DoC treadle without springing the trap, can be killed in one of the snap-traps, instead. Medium-sized ship rats make up a small % of my total kills, and the DoC/snap-trap combo in tunnels has been the best technique that I’ve used.

A tunnel containing mouse traps is also a good idea, because it might be 5 mice interfering with a snap-trap, not 1 rat.

Cheers.

Hi The best thing you can do with any tree mounted possum trap is either to use a wooden running board at about 45 Deg and 200 mm from top of board to bottom of trap, usea board 90 - 100 mm wide, my 300 trap trial showed twice as many caught with boards. Alternatively where you can mount your trap about 240 mm above a branch so the possum has somewhere to sit while it investigates the trap, some research showed 5 interactions per possum caught so giving them a place to investiagte helps.
If you are using the sentinel then my mods to make them easy to set were covered in predator free about 2 years ago, those mods have had some upgrades not covered in predator free but are available incl how to make a setting tool. The group I developed the mods for are now over 1,600 possums.
The most success I have heard of with the trapinator is the bloke who couldn’t catch anything so he made a couple of tabs so he could mount them vertical the same way as a Timms trap then he started catching possums
happy trapping
happy trapping

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This is an interesting thread and I certainly have some strong ideas about plusses and minuses of various traps which are at odds with a lot of the comments here.
However isn’t the success of a trap or trapping project what is left behind rather than what is caught? This means we should start a thread on how to effectively monitor the remaining pests. I realise I haven’t been doing enough monitoring (there are only so many hours in a day) and 2023 resolution is to do more monitoring of the pests I trap for.
happy monitoring!

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Please let us know what you think about the traps listed in the thread. Simple tips and techniques can let people get the most out of the traps they already own, and avoid buying traps that are rubbish (I know a few!). Cheers.

Sure, happy to add my 2 cents even if at odds with the thread. I mainly trap possums and feral cats. I do have a few rat traps and stoat traps but not enough to comment on efficacy. Also I trap only my own property and have no sponsorship or deals with any trap companies. I buy direct off web sites, getting volume discounts when available.
Trapinator
This has been my “go to” trap. It is easy to set and safe for amateurs to use. I now have 100 of them, placed vertically on trees 1m off the ground. My initial catch rates have averaged 1 possum per fortnight but this drops off after 5 or so kills. Last year I got 228 from the 100 traps. I used possum dough (traps.co.nz). Early last year I changed to Treacle Gold (Connovation) but this attracted rats and mice, once they learnt the trap was a food source they ate every bait I tried, even cinnamon coated apricots. Fixed this by rotating AT220 traps around and dealing to the mouse and rat population or as a last resort moving the trap. Possum dough on it’s own has not been a problem.
So do I now have a population of Trapinator shy possums or have I reduced the numbers. Hence my monitoring comment. Trail cam and spotlight indicates very few possums in the areas where the traps are. Possums caught are mainly immature except at head of the lines.
Timms
I have only used these on the ground. I only have 10 and yet to catch a possum in them, in spite of a number of different baits. They are however the best feral cat trap I have tried. I have modified them for cats by opening up the hole, I remove 10mm all the way around the opening. Cats are very hesitant to put there head in with whiskers touching anything. For cat bait I use possum and pieces of pork strip. Smallish squares of 20mm. I caught 21 fairly quickly but not so many since. I assume I caught the young and silly.
SA2
I haven’t tried these on possums but I have them baited for cats. I have had poor success, only 2 cats with 10 traps over 2 years. I consider the hole too tight for them to put head in. I have tried on a tree with a ramp and on a sloping log/tree without a ramp which is more successful.
A12
I had 10 of these but 9 developed faults. The one that remains working has been quite successful, registering 22 kills over 3 years at various sites. Difficult to know when it needs regassing and bait needs refreshing quite often.
AT220
I have 14 of these, I have only been trying them for 4 months. They certainly seem very effective. As above I rotate some of them around my lines to remove the rats and mice that eat the Trapinator bait. In that time I have registered 14 possums, 1 feral cat and 118 rats/mice which is quite impressive. They are not quite so maintenance free as suggested though I have continual problems with the bait tube blocking and it can be quite a job to unblock. I am trialing a modification. May yet be a very effective trap for feral cats.
Rats and Stoats
I use Kness Big Snap and TRex for rats and DOC 200 for stoats. Find Victor a bit too fussy to set.

Cheers

Thanks for the great summaries. Bloody good work on the possums and cats!

Trapinators
I haven’t trapped a single possum or cat in my mine after 2 years, but the rats have had some lovely meals. Fortunately, I’ve become a good rat-trapper, so they’re a minor concern. I love the ease with which they’re set, but the lure bar could use a re-design to reduce rodent interference. I’m going to modify the lure bars, though, so that I can skewer firm lures on to them.

A12
My old trap still works well. I have mine mounted close to ground traps nearby, so I give the lure bottle a tap and refresh the lures on the post.
The possum lure designed for the trap is a good lure to use in rat traps occasionally, because it’s so different to standard lures (like PB, for example). Rats eat it, so it can be used as a pre-feed, too, so it’s not just an olfactory lure. I killed a weasel in a T-Rex tunnel where possum lure was the primary attractant.

Timms
They’re my primary possum trap. Mine have lasted for ages (the oldest one must be 15!) and they work well. Small, rectangular pieces (mounted horizontally) of firm apple, coated with cinnamon, is the primary lure that I use, but I give dried apricots a go now and then. An excellent lure is feijoas, which possums love. Under our trees, you’ll find feijoas that possums have bitten into, to gauge how ripe they are. They do the same thing to feijoas skewered in Timms. Use a fairly small, under-ripe feijoa, skewered horizontally, and wait. Squsihing a few ripe ones on the ground near the traps gets their attention. I’ve also trapped some rabbits and hares using feijoas, so you might get some good mustelids lures, if you’re lucky.
They’re all on the ground, right now, but I’m going to build ramps for 2 of them to see if it makes a difference.

I kill about 6 cats each year with Timms, mainly using meat scraps as the lure. I’ve switched to pieces of firm pork fat over past 6 months, which is far superior to flesh lures, especially in hot weather.

AT-220
It’s on my wishlist.

Rats and Stoats
Use DoC 150’s and 200’s, T-Rex’s, a few Snap-E’s, and some Made2Catch metallic snap-traps that I ordered from the US on E-Bay, which have the same basic design as the Victor Pro, but are superior to them in every respect.

Cheers

Great report and tips thanks , We have used T/Rex traps in around 1800 box and tree traps in the Marlb sounds with good results the last 5 years. We catch rats , and the occasional weasels and mice but now are changing them out for Victor Pros because of increasing mis catch , ie rats caught by their paws , not killed cleanly and mostly bait robbery from mice ( comming from trail cam footage ) The victor pros are cheaper, appear to last well ,they are adjustable and catch mice.Time will tell if we did the right thing. They are also more fiddly to set until you get used to them.Set them on F (firm ) then slide to S (sensitive ) for mice. We do have a number of breakages on the T Rexes but not excessive and they only have a certain lifespan anyway like all this gear. The Eraze is a good tip but we have been using it as a lure only not a bait as the taste is designed to put animals off eating it so it lasts longer , ie can lead to bait shyness for uncaught pests.
Cheers

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After using the T-Rex for 5 years, I’ve only had 1 rat caught by a paw, and I use them extensively (49 rats, 1 weasel in 2022). I have quite a few traps close to home and in the neighbouring bush that I checked every day, so I was able to save the injured rats before it had a chance to suffer. All of my traps are mounted securely, so the stability of the traps may make a difference. I can’t think of another explanation aside from luck.

Regarding breakage, I haven’t had to toss a trap since I started mounting them. Loose traps go flying all over the place, and in a tunnel, they slam into the walls. That’s the main reason why I’ve mounted them.

I’ve only had to throw out a few traps due to wear and tear. The traps’ springs were still strong, but the setting mechanism no longer worked. Both had seen a lot of action for 3 years, so I got my money’s worth.

The reason that I use Erayz in T-Rex cups, is because its texture makes it’s difficult for predators of any size to either eat it out of the cup or remove it without springing the trap. I don’t know where it would rank compared to other lures, but I’ve had good interaction-rates using it, and very good kill-rates. Thus far, I haven’t had a single piece get completely-eaten, or be removed. Granted, I’m not using it in 1800 traps, so I don’t how well it might work on a large scale. Cutting up Erayz isn’t a fun job, for sure!

I forgot to mention that I cover the Erayz with Goodnature’s Blood lure. The predators here are very fond of it, it’s waterproof, so it limits mold-growth in winter, and the insects and invertebrates where I trap don’t have any interest in it. Blowfly maggots will wreck exposed Erayz, leaving a small pile of bones, and the GN lure keeps them away, too. 1 sachet of GN lure goes a long way, so it’s an affordable option.

I hope that the switch to Victor Pros pays off, but I think that you should trial a few of the galvanized metal snap-traps made by a company called Made2Catch, which I purchased on E-Bay (a 4-pack cost me about $60NZD, shipping included). They’re very well made, they’re more powerful (IMO) than Victors, they’re easier and safer to set, they have teeth on 3 sides, they have a pair of mounts at the rear, and they’ll last for a long time in the bush. A piece of flat jerky works great when it’s secured under the slit on the treadle, and other lures can be partially-skewered.

Best of luck.

Speaking of which trap to use, for people with contacts in former Soviet-bloc countries you could try getting some of these Soviet military traps which look like they could take out a small possum as well as a rat (in the video a skunk goes into the tunnel after a rat has set it off, it’d probably take out the skunk if the rat hadn’t already triggered it). Note the trigger mechanism which is very different from the usual push-plate used here, you’re only going to have it set off by something with its head right on top of it rather than paws touching the edge of the plate.

Mount on trees, these could kills a wide range of predators. Attach them to a base with jaws at the front, and it could be dynamite.

Felis Domesticus - pretty extensive issues with bycatch. Maybe using the wrong lures.

What trap(s) are you using? A cage?
What lures?
What bycatch?

I use Timms on the ground with thick squares of pork fat, which works really well, because predators love fat, blowflies can’t lay eggs on it, and predators can’t nibble it away, they have to really sink their teeth in. If you try this, make an X in the pork about 1cmx1cm to skewer it.

I’ve trapped a number of large brown rats using the pork, so it should be effective at killing mustelids and hedgehogs, too. Could there be better bycatch than stoats or ferrets?

As a followup to this, after using the 45-degree mod on the Timmy it’s caught its first possum, possibly the trap-shy one that’s been avoiding the regular Timms. Helped a friend set up his one similarly and it’s caught two so far, zero for the regular Timms. So that’s definitely the magic solution for using the Timmy.

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