Tips for getting started

Choose the best bait

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This is a widely disputed issue, with some trappers swearing by good old peanut butter, while others buy rodent bait from specialist retailers.


Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington have put the  different baits to the test, and found that stock-standard peanut butter  might not always be the best bet. They found wild rats prefer cheese,  milk chocolate, Nutella and walnuts to your standard peanut butter.


Whatever you do use, refresh it often (once a week is good). Rats can be fussy eaters. If the catches dry up, but there are still signs of rats about, try something different.

Offer up a freebie

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Put a bit of ‘free’ peanut butter in the tunnel (the wooden box that you  put your traps inside) in front of the trap – this encourages the rats  and mice in. It helps attract more rodents too, as they’ll return to  their nest with the first haul of peanut butter, and then bring their  family back to the trap for more.

Pick a prime location

Picking a trap location. Rodents don't like open spaces. So against a wall is good.

It might be tempting to put your trap smack bang into the middle of  your garden, where surely the most rats and mice will be scurrying. This  isn’t necessarily the most effective position though, as rodents tend  to avoid big open spaces.


Rats and mice prefer to run close to walls, plants and fences where  they’re hidden from keen cat eyes. So the best place for your backyard  trap is beside a wall or fence where the rats might be running.

If the first location fails, try another

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If you don’t have a wall/fence to put your trap beside, or you’re not  catching much, think about where in your garden the rats and mice might  be hanging out.


Rodents will be attracted to places where they can find food and  water. If you have a compost heap, chicken coop or trees that drop fruit on the ground  your resident rats will probably be spending some time there, so that’s  a good spot for your trap. 


Another good place is beside a waterway if  you have one as rats and mice tend to run alongside streams and creeks.

Get your neighbours involved

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If you reach a trapping plateau and stop catching as many rats and mice  as you used to, it could be because they’ve cottoned on to that fact  that your yard isn’t safe. 


They could be seeking sanctuary in properties  nearby instead, so getting your neighbours involved in trapping will  help ensure your entire neighbourhood is protected.

Report back to us

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The data we collect from you is critical to measuring the success of the project. 


Every fortnight we'll email the members of the group. Report back to us what you've caught. 


Even if you've caught nothing, submit a zero report. It lets us know that your trap is still set and being checked.


Over time we'll  build valuable insights into predator activity around Stokes Valley. We'll share these insights back with you via a monthly report on the website.