Thu 11 Apr 2013
Written by Jeff
Follow Jeff on Twitter for daily garden tips and news!
Those who have followed GOTM for a while have read about our efforts to keep the critters away from our plants, especially the rabbits. We have gone through the trouble of installing a courtyard gate to keep vermin out and raised most of our pots high and used individual planters that were fairly tall. You can imagine my surprise when I walked into the courtyard one morning and saw the following:
In the first couple of shots, I use yellow arrows to highlight the damage, but once you get the hang of how the damage is administered, it is easy to spot in the other shots.
Since we know that rabbits can’t navigate our gate, we assumed it was most likely a squirrel, chipmunk or pack rat. Of those choices, the most likely critter, based on obvious evidence, was the pack rat.
Now I was faced with the decision whether to “hurt” that no-gooder or try to catch it and release it elsewhere. Of course I chose to catch and release.
My first trip to the hardware store was to purchase a Havahart trap model 1025 which was recommended at the local store (not a big box store). When I brought it home and read the reviews (something I should have done first) there were a couple of issues noted, but there were also many positive reviews. I called the Havahart company and spoke to one of the “consultants” and that is when I knew we had a problem. They couldn’t find that model in their database.
That evening I set out the trap baited with bread and peanut butter. I had difficulty adjusting the tension on the spring lever that released the door. It would sometimes trigger and sometimes not. This was one of the issues noted although many had no problem whatsoever.
I was sad the next morning when I awoke with great expectation to discover that I had provided a gratis fast-food breakfast for our culprit. Not a lick of the peanut buttered bread was to be seen. I suppose if I left a napkin, it would have wiped its mouth and hands prior to leaving.
Off I was to the store to get a different Havhart trap more suited to my trapping skills. I finally found a single-door model which had a newer, easy set/easy release mechanism (Easy Set Model 1082).
We also purchased a plastic box to use as a transport container so no bodily fluids, parasites, etc. from the critter would actually get into the car. We then placed some paper on the bottom of that container to collect/contain stated unpleasantness.
We decided that the peanut butter was a bit too messy so we defaulted to using salted peanuts in the shell. The excitement built as the next evening I prepared the trap with the shelled delicacies and placed it in the probable dining area. I cracked one peanut to release any enticing odor it would emit. (I couldn’t detect any, but then again, I am a well-fed human.) Well, well look at what I found the next morning.
Kind of cute, huh?
Here I am showing the pack rat to his assigned seat. I used a long-sleeved shirt and gloves to protect myself as much as possible.
Here it is nicely contained.
The box was placed in the back of the CRV for safe transport.
A few miles down the road we arrived at the new desert neighborhood where the rat’s new residence was awaiting.
I must say that the pack rat wasn’t too nervous or jittery as I lifted the container to place it on the ground. I think he was subdued after a night of confinement.
One nicety of the new trap was the quick and easy release which allows for a more remote and quick opening of the trap door. I am getting ready to let it go as
my wife Mary brings home the money shot!
The animal’s first reaction was to run and hide. Here it is heading for a nearby bush.
One last look as we got ready to leave. Can you see the eye?
Gardening on the Moon, www.gardeningonthemoon.com, originally published this post
Find a Good Home for Your Blog at