A better rat trap?

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,612
3,245
286
Missouri
Some new rat trap videos.....mostly offered as entertainment.....as previously said, trapping being more or less futile if removal of a large population is the goal.

One obvious problem with trapping rats is that most rat traps on the market today are not nearly large enough to do the job. Maybe for black (roof) rats, but not for the larger brown (Norway) rats. Here is evidence of that:


Trapping, however, does serve a purpose in monitoring populations. So if you could trap the biggest of them, it would be good to know. If rats are showing up in traps, and you don't have poison out, you may need to get busy again.

The first serious trap is the Spanish windlass trap. You can build this one yourself, and it will work on the very largest rat there is:


The next is a commercial type that was once on the market, but not today. I looked and these antiques can still be found on ebay. Somebody should start making these again. Don't know if they would work in a jumbo sized brown rat, but would be good to know if they do:

Lastly, I have been working on a prototype of yet another rat trap concept that should work for the very largest rats there are. Stay tuned.
 

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,612
3,245
286
Missouri
As promised, here is a seriously heavy duty alternative to your standard wooden rat trap. Code named "Howard's Big Hammer rat trap".

20180212_150016.jpg

Some back story on the name. Back in 60's, a neighbor kid Tommy graduated high school then went off to serve in the Navy for a number of years. In 1972 he returned, and since he didn't have anything to do while looking for work, and we needed help, dad hired him on for the summer. One day Tommy and I were working on some farm equipment and we had a nut frozen on a 3/4" diameter bolt. Try as we might, we could not get it off. Tommy remarked that they had a saying in the Navy you could fix anything with a hammer. It not, you needed a bigger hammer. So I gave up on my 1/2" socket with breaker bar, retrieved a 3/4" socket with breaker bar......and still it wouldn't budge. So looking around, we found a 4' long piece of pipe to slip over the already big breaker bar and that did it. Nut still didn't budge, but we now had enough torque to snap the bolt off. The bigger hammer rule worked!

So the Big Hammer is a modified version of your standard weasel box, but uses a 110 body trap (conibear) instead of any dinky little rat trap.

I should say here and now, if you don't have experience with traps, and particularly so with this body grip style, be careful. Be very careful. This trap is not for the faint of heart. It is powerful and could easily break a finger or a small child's arm. If you have never handled one, expect to be terrified the first time or two you try to set it. If you are not concerned you are an idiot. It will certainly kill any rat going, any weasel going, squirrels, and likely baby possums and maybe half grown coons if they can get to it. The reason for the box is to limit the danger of any non-target species getting to it.....dogs, cats, etc. A big snake could certainly set it off too.

20180212_141709.jpg

So this is what a body trap looks like when set and set inside the box. This trap is a BMI 110 magnum. (Great trap!).

20180212_145132.jpg

This is the same box with trap installed and ready to go.

20180212_145242.jpg

What the potential future victim sees.

This box has the flexibility to be a pass through trap (rats pass through it and get nailed in the process), or one end can be sealed up, and become a bait trap, with bait placed in the back to nab rats or weasels as the pass the trigger.

20180212_145142.jpg The wire can fold down to open and make a ramp. Held up with just a rubber band. Or if you want you can fix baits to the trigger wires.

This is a Duke 110 (which is not as good as the BMI), but notice the trigger here has two whisker wires hanging down.

20180212_133834.jpg Trigger should be centered, but even so, most animals are not inclined to get jabbed in the face by these wires, so tend not to. You could impale your bait on them, however. A pea sized piece of tootsie roll? Or on the tips to put a soft tip on them so a rat might pass and set it off in the process.

What the duke can allow you to do is bend those whisker wires 90 degrees, so you can attach a paddle on it, so as they scamper past it, trip it with their feet. I can think of at least 5 or 6 different ways to rig this trap.....it is that flexible.

Cost? Traps run $5 each and you can build the box for about the same. So about $10 total.

If there is interest, I can provide more details and how to construction photos. And a cut sheet if you want to use plywood to make the box. I used some scrap T111 siding left over from the Woods house build.

These do not require a lot of skill. Or as dad used to say, whatever defects there might be would not be noticed by a man galloping by on a horse at 50 feet. And the dead rats tend to not be too critical either.
 

Attachments

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,612
3,245
286
Missouri
Good question. The design seems solid......if not big enough to kill a big ol brown rat, scale it up until it is?

As to the videos, I don't do those, but can find some that this box / trap combo was patterned after to demonstrate the process.

And as for rats, I don't have any to test it on. Perhaps I should ship this off to Shawn at Rat Trap Monday and let him test it?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
74,863
81,747
1,607
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Perhaps I should ship this off to Shawn at Rat Trap Monday and let him test it?
That would be great!
I really like his Mouse Trap Monday videos, no jibber jabber,
no self or product promotion,
just the facts ma'am...and great testing footage.
 

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,612
3,245
286
Missouri
This kids video does a good job of explaining how the box is used, and how to set and install the trap. My modification to this was to place end caps on the box to limit what can enter. No cats, no dogs, no chickens, etc. A rat could get in, as could a weasel, mink, martin, etc.
NOTE, kid clearly has a lot of experience setting these things. It takes a lot of hand grip strength to squeeze those springs down enough that you can spread the jaws. And setting the triggers can be tricky until you get the knack of it. So while he makes it look easy, be careful when you try this yourself. Be very careful.

In the event you find you don't have enough grip to set it, they make a setter tool to help compress the springs. On the larger traps of this design, all must use these tools to set the traps.

This video talks about the basic triggers and alternatives. Of special note is the treadle or platform trigger. Like a Victor wooden trap, they set this off by stepping on the platform, but when these jaws come down, rat does not walk away. He may get popped like a zit instead.


As noted, the Duke traps, which are mass made and mass marketed will be the easiest traps for you to find, but in my opinion, they are inferior to the BMI in a number of ways. The Dukes have the whisker style triggers, and are about half a sensitive as the BMI. So a rat may have to work harder to set it off. There are at least two subtle, but significant differences why the BMI is more sensitive. Remarkably, the two traps cost the same.

The BMI also has that bell shaped trigger.....so is more or less that cavity hole design they may try to push through. But could be rigged with a treadle or platform trigger.

Yet one more expanded video about triggers and platform triggers (aka, pans).
Simplest and cheapest version of these pans seems to me to be the one shown around the 8:40 mark. You could even use a heavy piece of cardboard instead.

A pan might be the best way to set a Duke, but still not sure how sensitive it would be. On my Duke, the tips of the whiskers have to travel nearly an inch before the trap fires. An alternative might be to impale a bait on the trap.....something a rat is going to attempt to grab and take home to feed momma and the kids. That tootsie roll?
 
Last edited:

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,612
3,245
286
Missouri
Here is the link to the only source I know of for the BMI traps. Direct from the folks who make them:

http://www.bmi-traps.com/products.html

The 110 traps all measure about 4.5" x 4.5" inside dimensions. BMI also has a 55 magnum that measures 3.5" wide, x 4.5" tall, so is a more compact trap, which is just as deadly, but being smaller in size, also limits the size of the target animal. Other than that, as far as I know, it is the same as the 110.
 

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,612
3,245
286
Missouri
I've looked and can find no videos of these traps being used to catch rats. But there are tons of them shown nabbing squirrels. Apparently, this is an urban survivor thing. Who knew?

This video demonstrates a number of things. One is setting the trap with a bait impaled on the whiskers. Another is the use of a setting tool to set the thing if you lack the grip strength to do it with your hands. And lastly, the squirrel gets it.

 
Top Bottom