Outsmarted by rats

Rats will usually steal bait off the trigger without tripping the spring. I’ve been tying peanut butter wrapped in plastic to the trigger with Baggie wires, but it’s a hassle. Now I attach a half-inch copper pipe cap to the trigger with a sheet metal screw (grind down projecting end) and filling with peanut butter. Most of them are wood rats, not the awful Norwegian rats, but they need to be controlled, what with our wood piles and chic.

Pretty clever, huh? Well, I just went out and the fuckers had  somehow got the bait out of 3 of the 5 traps I set yesterday. Hmmm…

I wrote an article for Mother Earth News a few years ago on coping with homestead critters, but now I don’t feel so clever.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

6 Responses to Outsmarted by rats

  1. If you've got the space, there's 2 types of traps my uncle has found useful in the mountains of Idaho. Rats tend to learn, so you've got to switch traps occasionally. One is a 2' length of pipe with a cap jammed on one end- peanut butter goes in the cap first. Find the balance point of the pipe, and then drill a couple of holes just to the cap side of that point and put each end of a long length of wire in the holes and hang it from the ceiling. Just rest the end of the pipe on a counter or such. When a rat goes in and passes the balance point, it won't be able to get out before it goes vertical and traps it. The other trap is just as simple. Fill a foot of water in a garbage can, and stretch a piece of packing tape over the top with a dab of peanut butter in the middle. Hope this helps! -Fuzzy

  2. Lloyd- my dad used to catch mice (I know, different from rats) by tying bacon, of all things, to the traps, and it always worked. We used to get field mice all the time because we lived across the street from a tomato field. Once that field was filled up with housing, the mice went away.

    Bacon worked pretty good though.

    Fuz'a garbage can trap sounds like it might work on a larger scale for coons, which are my particular bane. I'll have to keep that one in mind…

  3. We seem to have a steady supply of little garden critters too, I lifted a sheet of insulation board a few weeks ago to find about 8 field voles under there, I was also working in house a few days ago & glanced up to see a stoat go scampering by the window. As we live a short distance away from civilisation we get to enjoy the positive side of these critters. This evening I was sitting watching a barn owl hunting in the garden and during the day the kestrels are regular visitors. So far these predators have been great for keeping things in balance so we consider ourselves to be lucky.

  4. Lloyd, first, thanks for your blog! I'm always inspired.

    I have a "city girl" question for you…won't a cat take care of the rats?

    🙂 Alice

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