Trial of Tree Mounted traps

Using Tree Mounted Rat traps

I did trials using Victor Professional Rat traps in trees to see if they were effective. They were, but are too unstable and didn’t work well on  a tree.  They are also touchy to set and you get messy hands resetting them and clearing out dead Rats from contaminated traps. In August 2014 I purchased a few American made SnapE traps to trial and nailed them in trees and at most sites was able to position it just above the fork in a branch. Trees are where Ship Rats tend to live for most of the time as thats where the best food is. (Danger lurks on the ground) In the trees there are nice fresh shoots, flowers, seeds and of course birds eggs and Baby birds.

At many trap sites I nailed each tree traps right above a ground based box trap. This was deliberately done to see if they worked when the ground based trap hadn’t. The results quickly spoke for them selves. The SnapE traps have proved very good at killing Rats and since August 2014 they have taken more than 1,500 Rats. This is around 60% of the total Rats we are getting and tree mounted traps are proving a very valuable extra to our Rat trapping.

I feel that there its a good future in tree mounted traps. They are easy to set, easy to re-bait, easy to get the dead Rats out of, you can service them standing up and you don’t get contaminated fingers. Traps don’t get covered in leaves and dead branches. They do often get set off during heavy rain but seldom get interference from the public and because Weka steal  many Rats in ground box traps and love to stick their heads into trap boxes on the ground, they are much safer.

We have also trialled the T-Rex trap. Also made in USA, it has a strike jaw that also acts as a cover over the lure. This helps keep rain off  the lure and its design ensures the Rat approaches the trap from the front. These are working very well. With traps in a tree there’s no expensive box to build and maintain. You will know that ground based Rat traps MUST be put in a box to prevent accidental catches of the wrong species and to ensure Rats approach the trap the best way to get a quick kill, so, apart from a nail or screw to hold them on a tree, with a tree mounted trap theres no box to add to the cost of setting up a trap line. Loaded with a tiny dob of PIC’s Peanut butter, they are irresistible to Rats. The peanut butter is loaded in a 60mm syringe so replacing the lure is simple and clean. Tree traps also prevent Weka interference, avoids leaves blocking the entrance way, no bending to remove and re-bait and mounted on 10mm ply (soaked bees wax to waterproof ) and nailed just above the fork in a tree.  Using 50mm galv nails the ply base slides up the nails as the tree grows. All the SnapE traps have now been replaced with TRex and have a cover over them to ensure Rats approach from the front.

Accidental catches of non target species has not proved a problem We originally caught a few Sparrows and Blackbirds, but no native species to report. We have had problems with something stealing the peanut butter. Cockroaches, Weta, Mice and ants seem to be the likely culprits. As our Victor traps fail we replace them with the T-Rex. We are trialing using m&m or smarties as Cockroaches can’t simply suck up the lure.

Covers may deter the occasional Birds like Sparrow and Blackbirds from scavenging baits.

In a comparison with ground based Rat traps in boxes, some months the kills in Tree traps can be as high as 73% .If you are interested in this method of trapping Rats, but want to know more, please get in touch.    Bryce Buckland