By Deanna Barth and Rebecca Dmytryk
This young opossum is the latest victim of a spring-loaded rat trap with interlocking teeth.
Please, do NOT place these traps outdoors! They are intended for indoor use.
If you feel you must set them in your home - in the attic or crawlspace, or garage, make sure they are not accessible to children or pets, or other wildlife. Wildlife, like raccoons and opossums can squeeze through a 3" gap, so make sure there's no chance of occupancy by larger animals - only rats and mice. If you're not sure, place the traps inside specifically designed containers to reduce risk of injury to non-target wildlife.
These heavy-duty traps can cause significant damage to other animals - skunks, opossums, raccoons, dogs, cats, even deer. We have seen a skunk lose its nose to one of these types of traps.
Over the years we've seen an increase in the number of incidents involving larger animals caught in these relatively newer traps, the most common victims are skunks and opossums - the species that predate on rodents. So ironic.
While the use of snap traps is certainly better than glue traps and poison, just remember, killing a few rodents isn't going to solve your problem long-term. You've got to find the actual cause of the infestation, which is usually a food source, followed by access to shelter. You've got to focus, then, on remedying the cause.
Exclusion and sanitation is key. Here is a list of things you can do to reduce or eliminate rodents from your property.
* Find and patch gaps in the outermost "shell" of your home that are 1/2" or greater, and set live-catch traps to remove the ones entrapped after repairs. Call Humane Wildlife Control for more advice on this.
* Store food in rodent-proof (metal) containers.
* Never leave pet food outside day or night.
* Keep garbage secured.
* Don't feed birds or squirrels, or expect rats and mice and gophers.
* Pick up fallen fruit from trees.
* Remove clutter and debris form your yard.
* Remove ivy and dense ground cover, and trim shrubs away from your building. Keep grasses short.
* If you have chickens, make sure mice and rats don't have access (gaps 1/2" or greater) and keep it clean! Store their feed in metal bins.
Please, think about the impact to other animals in your attempt to eliminate rodents. Thank you.