Ratting out the rodents from trees
If you have fruit, nut and avocado trees on your property you may need to consider your traps being up in your trees. These trees provide a constant food supply for rodents, often meaning they have no need to come onto the ground at all. In the bush (where most groups trap), the best food for rats is up trees. It’s where all fresh shoots, nuts, seeds and flowers are and tracking tunnels have little success. Trees are a far safer place to live. Up there they are much safer from weka, hawks, falcons, hedgehogs, cats, dogs and (especially) humans with scary ground-based traps. Many trees also have cosy, dry entrance holes in their trunks, just right for raising young in highrise living. Traps are best nailed in a reclined position, about a “rat’s body length” above the fork of a tree. Laying the trap back stops the peanut butter running out and encourages the rat to lean onto the trigger plate. Nailing the trap loosely with a galvanized clout allows the tree to grow without pushing the trap off and a floppy trap lessens the chance of a rat leveraging itself free. We use smooth peanut butter (Pic’s of course) and apply it with a 50mm syringe. This dramatically speeds up the job and is less messy. (Bryce Buckland (Birdlife on Grampians); Predator Free website) Apparently you can even place the rat trap directly above a possum trap. Chances are you will catch both rodents in one night.