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 Rat-guard (Fig. 86, K) is a simple method of keeping rats away from anything that is hung up, and is made as follows: "Procure the bottoms of some fruit-cans by melting the solder which holds them upon a hot stove. Bore holes in the centre of the discs, and string a few of them upon the cord, wire, or rope upon which the articles are hung. When a rat or mouse attempts to pass upon the rope by climbing over the tin discs, they turn and throw the animal upon the floor. This plan will be found very effective" (American Agriculturist).
Fig. 87. - Exterminator Tunnel Rat Trap. (Supplied by Messrs. Wm, Burgess & Co., Malvern Wells.)
But the thing is to capture and destroy the rats. This may be effected by the ordinary spring or Common Rat Trap either with round or square jaws, but this catches by the leg and is hardly safe to use where there are cats, dogs, poultry, or winged game. The Exterminator Tunnel Rat Trap (Fig. 87) is particularly suitable for setting in buildings and their adjuncts, as it will not catch vermin by the leg, the hook for the bait being inside the trap, and directly the vermin touches the treadle, the trap is let off and the animal is caught round the body or the head; and there being two steel spikes inside at the top of the trap the vermin is instantly killed. The trap may be baited with a herring head for the rat, or with a recently dead chick for stoats and weasels. Of course, the trap must be set in runs or for holes in such position that the animal cannot avoid passing through. On a plane surface make artificial impediments, such as small stakes thrust in close and upright, leaving apertures, and as soon as the vermin work freely through set the trap or traps.
For capturing rats alive various galvanized wire cage-traps are in vogue. Alfred Clifford's Patent Trap (Fig. 88) has a trap-door in the centre of floor and when set is perfectly level and cannot be noticed. The bait only requires to be laid on the floor of the trap. Immediately the animal puts its weight on the hinged floor the doors close. It has a clear run right through, thereby causing no suspicion whatever. Strongly made in galvanized iron and painted it is very serviceable. It is made in sizes suitable for catching rat, stoat, weasel, rabbit, cat, fox, badger, otter, and other animals, also pheasants and all kinds of birds.
Fig. 88. - Alfred Clifford's Patent Trap.
(Supplied by Mr. H. Lane, Eagle Works, Wednesfield.)
Rats are easily poisoned. Take 2½ quarts of Scotch oatmeal, scald with boiling water; drain. Form 2 oz. of white sugar into a syrup with water, add ½ oz. powdered strychnine, stir thoroughly until a thin paste is formed. Add this to the damp oatmeal, and stir well for a quarter of an hour, then add half a pint of powdered sugar, and five drops each of oil of rhodium and oil of anise, stirring well. Bait with the preparation, without the strychnine paste, two or three nights, and the rodents having been well satisfied with it, will take the complete preparation. Take care to exclude domestic animals and fowls, also to clear away the remains the following morning. The preparation must be used with every possible caution. It is a virulent poison. There are several proprietary rat poisons, of which may be mentioned San-ford's as thoroughly effective.