If we want our native birds and creatures to survive (and we do!), then we need to find ways to stop predators from feasting on them! Give our manu mates a fighting chance by building this simple rat trap box.
What to do
Your mission is:
Here's your DIY ratcatcher tool-list:
4 planks of fencing timber (150mm wide x 25mm deep x 500mm long)
10 60mm jolt head nails
A 75mm flat head nail
7 25mm staples
2 pieces of mesh screen (200 mm x 200mm each)
A Victor professional rat trap
Bait (peanut butter or nutella)
1. FLOORLESS VICTORY!
Build a floor and some walls by hammering a 60mm nail into each corner of the bottom piece through to the walls. If it’s tricky to hold the walls in place, see if an adult can hold them for you (careful of their fingers!!). Or use a vice if you have one.
Add a nail to the centre of each side for extra strength! Once you’re done, you’ll have a U-shape.
2. PUT A LID ON IT
Pop the last plank onto the top of the U and bang a nail into each corner for an instant roof!
3. MAKE A MESH OF IT
Trim the edges of your two mesh screens so that both pieces fit the end of the box. Then cut a small door near the bottom of one of the screens, around 5 cm across and 4 cm up.
Line up the door to the top of the floor, and put a staple in each corner to hold it in place.
4. BACK IT UP
Flip the box over and attach the second mesh with two vertical staples on the bottom corners so that the mesh can hinge open and shut like a door.
Loosely hammer the last staple horizontally into the middle of the top piece of wood so that you can slide the 75mm nail through it – voila it's a latch to hold the door closed.
5. ON YOUR MARKS GET SET
Place some bait on the trap and get an adult to set it for you, then slide it through the back flap, facing the small rat door at the front, make sure it's placed at the end away from the entranceway (i.e. towards the rear).
Close the back flap and you're ready for placement.
Place the rat trap somewhere near a fence, bush or compost – anywhere rats might roam! They have paths and roads just like us, see if you can guess where your ratty motorway is in your backyard ...
7. CRUNCHY OR SMOOTH?
You decide. You can use peanut butter, white chocolate, or a mix of peanut butter and oats as bait!
Nom nom no more rats!
8. UPLOAD YOUR RATCATCHER
Upload a photo of your finished rat catcher on-site. For arty bonus points you may want to stencil or paint your own tag on the side!
Our manu mates will tweet their appreciation! Remember to get an adult to handle any catches (get them to use gloves and wash hands well before eating!)