We can hardly recommend the addition of the stone as being an improvement. The rat is a most notoriously shrewd and cunning animal, and the despairing cries of his comrades must rather tend to excite his caution and suspicion. By the first method the drowning is soon accomplished and the rat utters no sound whereby to attract and warn his fellows. This contrivance has been thoroughly tested and has proved its efficacy in many households by completely ridding the premises of the vermin.
Another excellent form of Barrel Trap is that embodying the principle described in page (131). A circular platform should be first constructed and hinged in the opening of the barrel This may be done by driving a couple of small nails through the sides of the barrel into a couple of staples inserted near the opposite edges of the platform. The latter should be delicately weighted, as described on the above mentioned page, and previously to setting, should be baited in a stationary position for several days to gain the confidence of the rats. The bait should at last be secured to the platform with gum, and the bottom of the barrel of course filled with water, as already described. This trap possesses the same advantages as the foregoing. It is self-setting, and unfailing in its action.
Another method consists in half-filling the barrel with oats, and allowing the rats to enjoy their repast there for several days. When thus attracted to the spot, remove the oats, and pour the same bulk of water into the barrel, sprinkling the surface thickly with the grain. The delusion is almost perfect, as will be effectually proven when the first rat visits the spot for his accustomed free lunch. Down he goes with a splash, is soon drowned, and sinks to the bottom. The next shares the same fate, and several more are likely to be added to the list of misguided victims.
[Page 128] Many of the devices described throughout this work may be adapted for domestic use to good purpose. The box-trap page 103, box-snare, page 55, figure-four, page 107, are all suitable for the capture of the rat; also, the examples given on pages 106, 109, 110, and 129.
The steel-trap is often used, but should always be concealed from view. It is a good plan to set it in a pan covered with meal, and placed in the haunts of the rats. The trap may also be set at the mouth of the rats’ hole, and covered with a piece of dark-colored cloth or paper. The runways between boxes, boards, and the like offer excellent situations for the trap, which should be covered, as before directed.
Without one precaution, however, the trap may be set in vain. Much of the so-called shrewdness of the rat is nothing more than an instinctive caution, through the acute sense of smell which the animal possesses; and a trap which has secured one victim will seldom extend its list, unless all traces of its first occupant are thoroughly eradicated. This may be accomplished by smoking the trap over burning paper, hens’ feathers or chips, taking care to avoid a heat so extreme as to affect the temper of the steel springs. All rat-traps should be treated the same way, in order to insure success, and the position and localities of setting should be frequently changed.