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 House or Domestic Mouse may be said to serve no useful purpose to any culture, but is a pest in the dwelling, outbuilding, stackyard, garden, etc., everywhere in presence of food and shelter gnawing and destroying structural work and feeding on animal and vegetable produce used as food for man and beast. To compass its destruction in dwellings, granaries, outbuildings and garden structures there is no trap equal to the Mouse or Small Bird Trap (Fig. 89), the table being baited with a piece of crust of cheese secured with fine string, and the trap set "tickle" so as to readily spring with the weight of a mouse, placing at the mouth of a hole or where the animal frequents, no covering being required. The mouse will soon "smell out" the bait, and the animal be caught by the body and killed speedily. In this way several mice may be captured one after the other in a single evening by one trap, the operator taking them out as caught and re-setting the trap. It is advisable to have a string to the trap and secure it to a fixed object where there are cats, otherwise the mouse and trap may be carried off.
Fig. 89. - Mouse or Small Bird Trap.
(Supplied by Mr. H. Lane, Eagle Works, Wednesfield, Staffordshire.)
In gardens and nurseries the house mouse, as well as the Wood or Long-tailed Field Mouseis sometimes very troublesome. For the capturing and destroying of both several simple as well as numerous ingenious contrivances have been employed. The commonest and most approved is the Figure 4 Trap (Fig. 90 L). It consists of a flat tile or slate (q), and on soft or cloddy ground a similar one (r), with, when the fall is light, a brick (s). Three pieces of wood (plasterer's lath) support the top slate or fall; the upright or standard (t), formed like a wedge at the upper part, catch (u) notched across about one-fourth from the upper end, and feather-edged at the other, and base (v) carrying the bait at one end, notched to fit the upright, and notched in front to receive the catch or part bearing the crushing slate. Bait: cheese crust (the best), broad bean
L, figure 4 garden trap: q, tile or slate, called fall; r, foundation slate (advisable on soft or cloddy ground); s, brick (desirable when fall light); t, upright; u, catch; v, base. M, figure 4 heavy fall trap for rats, stoats, weasels, etc.: w, large square piece of stone or thick slate, called fall; x, upright or limb; y, slanting stick or catch; z, horizontal piece or stretcher; a, flat stone level with surface of ground to prevent upright sinking into soil; b, firm level surface a little larger than size of fall; c, bait for rats, stoats, and weasels " drawings" of poultry"or game, a small chick, young rabbit in pieces, or pieces of wood pigeon, rats being partial to head of toasted red herring.
Or pea, set clear of the bottom. A mouse nibbling at the bait disturbs the hold of the catch on the base or that of the upright, and down comes the slate, providing the standard be sufficiently forward for the catch to throw it forward enough to let the slate drop; otherwise it acts as a prop.
Fig. 90. - Figure 4 Traps.
The figure 4 trap L is drawn to a scale of 1/4 in. equals 1 in., and is the size usually employed in gardens, nurseries, etc. for mice, a brick being employed as a fall. For larger animals, such as rats, the fall should be at least 15 in. square, and if light should be weighted with a brick or bricks so as to make sure of Crushing the intruding animal, while the size and strength of the Figure 4 (M, x, y, z) must be increased, the drawing of this part being to a scale of 1/8 in. equals 1 in. Though this trap may be set in plantations and elsewhere, it must be borne in mind that pheasants and even poultry will peck at the flesh-bait, strike the trap and be caught by the head and killed.