The Box Pit-fall
Categories: HOUSEHOLD TRAPS.
We now come to a variety of trap which differs in its construction
from any previously described. It secures its victims alive, and
without harm, and, when well made, is very successful.
It may be set for squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice, and the like,
and on a large scale for muskrats and mink.
The trap is very easily made, and is represented in section in
our illustration, sh
wing the height and interior of the box. For
ordinary purposes the box should be about twelve or fourteen inches
square, with a depth of about eighteen inches. A platform consisting
of a piece of tin should then be procured. This should be just
large enough to fit nicely to the outline of the interior of the
box without catching. On two opposite sides of this piece of tin,
and at the middle of each of those sides, a small strip of the
same material should be wired, or soldered in the form of a loop,
as shown in the separate diagram at (b). These loops should be
only large enough to admit the end of a shingle-nail. A scratch
should now be made across the tin from loop to loop, and on the
centre of this scratch another and larger strip of tin should be
fastened in a similar manner as shown in our diagram, at (a),
this being for the balance weight. The
latter may consist of a small stone, piece of lead, or the like,
and should be suspended by means of a wire bent around it, and
secured in a hole in the tin by a bend or knot in the other extremity.
Further explanations are almost superfluous, as our main illustration
fully explains itself.
After the weight is attached, the platform should be secured in
its place, about five inches from the top of the box. To accomplish
this and form the hinges, two shingle-nails should be driven through
the side of the box into the tin loops prepared for them. To do
this nicely requires some considerable accuracy and care, and it
should be so done that the platform will swing with perfect freedom
and ease, the weight below bringing it to a horizontal poise after
a few vibrations. Care should be taken that the weight is not too
heavy, as, in such a case, the platform will not be sensitive on its
balance, and, consequently, would not work so quickly and surely.
The weight should be just heavy enough to restore the platform
to its perfect poise, and no more. This can be easily regulated
by experiment. The bait should then be strewn on both sides of the
platform, when the trap is set, and the luckless animal, jumping
after the bait, feels his footing give way, and suddenly finds
himself in the bottom of a dark box, from which it is impossible
for him to escape except by gnawing his way out. To prevent this,
the interior of the box may be lined with tin.
By fastening the bait--a small lump or piece--on each side of
the tin, the trap will continually reset itself, and, in this way,
two or three individuals may be taken, one after the other. Muskrats
are frequently caught in this trap, it being generally buried in
the ground so that its top is on a level with the surface. In this
case it is necessary to arrange the platform lower down in the
box, and the latter should be of much larger dimensions than the
one we have described.
For ordinary purposes the box should either be set in the ground or
placed near some neighboring object which will afford easy access
to it. No less than a dozen rats have been caught in a trap of
this kind in a single night.