This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The American Permanent Rat Trap (Fig. 86, j) comprises a long, narrow box (g), 3 or 4 ft. long, and 7 or 8 in. wide and deep. This is set upon another box about 30 in. high, with sloping sides (h), so that the first box (g) forms the top part of the second box (h); the first box is open at the top for about a foot at the rear end, and this open part is partly filled with corn or corn-ears. Immediately in front of this part there is a loose bottom neatly fitted upon pins, so that it will open downwards with the weight of a rat. A piece of lead is fastened to it to keep it in position, or restore it to its place after it has been disturbed. The front of the box is partly hidden with a couple of sheaves of corn-stalks or rye-straw, which form a ready means of access for the rats. At the bottom of the second box there is a narrow box or tube (i) fitted, which leads through the building into a barrel (k) half sunk into the ground outside. A loose trap (j) is also fitted at the end of the tube. The barrel is covered with a wide board (I), with a hole in the centre to admit the light. A few pailsful of water are put into the barrel. At first the loose bottom is pegged fast and the rats, quickly rinding out the way to the corn, are allowed to gather there for a week or two, and are fed liberally.
When they have taken full possession, the pegs are taken away and the pivots greased, j, American permanent rat trap: g, narrow box; h, sloping box; i, tube box; j, loose trap; k, barrel; l, lid. K, rat guard: m, fruit-tin bottoms; n, cord; o, spikes of seed or ears of grain; p, hooks. and the rats are caught one after the other. As they find their way to the barrel, attracted by the light, which they can see through the tube, they are drowned and their bodies can be scooped out daily. The number caught in this way is astonishing, and for a time afterwards few, if any, rats will be seen about the place. Then the pegs may be replaced, and the rats encouraged to gather again. The contrivance is a permanent one and will pay for the attention it requires. It is not a new thing, and has been used with great success for many years (American Agriculturist).
Fig. 86. - American Permanent Rat Trap and Rat-guard.