Traps: What works and what doesn't

Based on a somewhat accidental discovery that when I took the poison blocks out of the rat bait/trap stations and left the rod they were on stuck in the ground next to the station the possums went for them like crazy, I made some possum feed stations that deal with the problem of rats hauling the poison blocks away before the possums can get to them. The main problem apart from rat theft is that the stuff dissolves in rain so you need to both lock it down and keep the rain off it, which these do. The two holes in the bottom are for threading through a loop of wire to hold the bait:

(I have a lot of that paint thanks to the plonkers at Mitre 10 who mistinted a 4L tin of it). Since they’re going to be sitting in/on soggy leaf mulch I added some extra waterproofing to the feet, those super high-tech standoffs are relatively indestructible, easy to wash clean, and easily replaced if one gets damaged:


This should finally solve the problem of rat theft of possum bait.

Oh, and just got another one with the crossbow a few minutes ago. So far this year that’s Timms, 1, Timmy, 1, Crossbow, 2. Now if I could just mount that thing in a drone…


I believe you can get cheap drones from Iran. Probably on Aliexpress.

Captain Obvious, in the garden, with a crossbow. These are incredibly trap-shy townie possums that will carefully walk around traps baited with cinnamon apples, peanut butter, you name it, but are quite happy to stare at a torch beam while you stand there loading a crossbow in front of them.


Hi i read this post and was supprised in the first thread about trapinators being useless. Did you know with the instructions in the side you can bend the arm to make it more sensitive? I rate these traps and they are out preforming many others i have in the field. I use possum dough in it and get amazed at how i can still have a fresh possum in the trap a month later. They are easy to set and check and feel they are quite underrated


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I wrote to the Trapinator folks and they also told me that (the one I had didn’t have those instructions on it, possibly an earlier model). They’re asking you to reach into the trap and bend a 4-5mm steel rod, that’s like bending a 100-150mm nail with your bare hands. I know that bodybuilders/strongmen will do that as a strength feat, but it’s not practical for any normal person.

I eventually achieved the same effect by cutting some wooden shims and slipping them under the trigger bar to move it downwards slightly, but it didn’t help, the bait would vanish but no possum was ever caught.

Spot on. Were smaller bars too weak? I’m worried that I’d wreck the bar and injure myself at the same time trying to change the sensitivity.

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I’ve had pretty good success with trapinators using possum dough and Goodnature lure. Some people bait these traps with fruit which I think can make it hard to set off or result in a non humane kill.

Thanks for all the info guys. I’ve got a couple of trapinators which I retired because of lack of success but I’ll redeploy them now to see how it goes.

What i do is squeeze the bar and it pops out then with a hole that it poped out from i put the end that needs bending up or down in it and bend it that way. Really easy to do i wi try and upload a video or photos today

That comment reminded me of another reason why I got rid of the Trapinator, the one time it did actually manage to catch a possum I heard it go off, went down to have a look with a torch a few minutes later, and the possum was still struggling. The Timms break their necks and it’s over very quickly, the Trapinator choked it slowly by pushing its head into the V-shaped slot in the plastic and it definitely wasn’t a humane kill.

You’re joking if you think the Timms break their necks quickly. There is a reason they came with stakes…

I have picked up plenty of timms with possums still in them with the stakes pulled out and the trap and possum down the hill it just depends alot on the size of the possum and if its a buck etc. I cant say ive pulled an adult possum out of either with a broken neck? They both work well i just thought i would share my success with the trapinators i find them easy to set and have been efficient for me and still catches possums up to a month after baiting

I’ve occasionally had traps pulled up too, but mostly there’s just a dead possum hanging out of one with no signs of a struggle. The traps near the house have vibration sensors in them so I don’t have to slosh through mud to check them every day or two (having rotting possums next to a residential area would cause all sorts of problems) and they reset after 60 seconds, I don’t think I’ve ever had them trigger more than once so even if in some cases they don’t die instantly, they don’t live long enough for a second trigger. OTOH the one in the Trapinator was still struggling after quite some time.

I would like to just add my 2 cents worth. I have also found Timms traps down the bank with the stakes pulled out, can’t decide if done by death throe of the possum or dragged by another predator.
On the other hand have had a lot of success with trapinator, I have checked kills with a camera. Yes there is a lot of activity for a short time but dead in a short time. Have assumed these are also death throes. I am also reminded of the chicken that runs around after having it’s head chopped off…
Gruesome stuff but we do want humane kills.

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Ok i uploaded a video to show how i set the bar on the trapinator traps. Apologies for the one handed filming

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A couple of summer’s ago( we didn’t have one this year) also a big F-U to cyclone Gabrielle. I started using Trapinators exclusively, I was catching possums every night for a solid 2-3 weeks. All good kills, no escapes and only using manky old peanut butter. I mount them about a metre off the ground on some pretty hefty Totara trees. Maybe I was just lucky, but I really rate them.

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According to my QE2 rep, the Timms trap was designed to cut off the blood supply/oxygen to the brain. the trap isn’t meant to break the possum’s neck.

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We just bought 4 trapinators about 10 days ago ( mainly because of the price - and a recommendation from a friend in the Coromandel ) since installing them we’ve caught 13 possums - inc joeys. We can’t fault them - so far . We use a home made dough pushed into the bite bar and haven’t noticed the bait missing and trap not set off as others have mentioned. We’ve mounted ours on boards so they sit flat on the tree and don’t twist , the boards also make them easy to move around

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The photos of the currently-sold Trapinators look different from the ones I had some years ago so maybe they’ve updated them to make them more effective (meaning less useless)?

As for mounting the traps on boards, that’s really the only way to go, as you say it makes them much easier to position and move around, and you can do the 45-degree slope trick that others have described to make them more enticing to possums. If you’re using prefeed you can also put the prefeed on the boards rather than the trees, there are two kowhai down below the house with damaged bark where the trap was either from the prefeed itself or from the possums eating it off the tree trunk/branches.

In warmer weather, when insect activity ramps up, you may want to try Goodnature’s Possum lure, because insects don’t eat it and I’ve never found a slug or snail on it, either. It’s water-resistant and long-lasting, which doesn’t hurt.

Rodents still like it, though, and I’ve had some luck with it in snap-traps. It’s such a different smell from conventional lures, that I think it grabs the attention of some passersby.

Nice possum totals, BTW. I’ve trapped several males lately, testicles on display, so I may be able to take advantage of mating season. Last year, I knocked off more in 1 week than I had in the previous 6 months.

I need to retrieve some of my Timms to mount them on planks, because it’s clearly a technique that pays off.

I also lost a summer to Gabrielle. It wasn’t all bad, because the germination rates of native plants went through the roof and the older plants had a break some harsh summers.
I live at Willowflat, which is next to the Mohaka River. We had to rely on choppers for some time, because our road to the highway was in really bad shape, with washouts and slips all over the place.