It is, therefore, an essential part of the trap, and should be carefully tested before being finally set.
We now come to a variety of trap which differs in its construction from any previously described. It secures its victims alive, and without harm, and, when well made, is very successful. [Page 132] It may be set for squirrels, chipmunks, rats, mice, and the like, and on a large scale for muskrats and mink.
The trap is very easily made, and is represented in section in our illustration, showing the height and interior of the box. For ordinary purposes the box should be about twelve or fourteen inches square, with a depth of about eighteen inches. A platform consisting of a piece of tin should then be procured. This should be just large enough to fit nicely to the outline of the interior of the box without catching. On two opposite sides of this piece of tin, and at the middle of each of those sides, a small strip of the same material should be wired, or soldered in the form of a loop, as shown in the separate diagram at (b). These loops should be only large enough to admit the end of a shingle-nail. A scratch should now be made across the tin from loop to loop, and on the centre of this scratch another and larger strip of tin should be fastened in a similar manner as shown in our diagram, at (a), this being for the balance weight. The [Page 133] latter may consist of a small stone, piece of lead, or the like, and should be suspended by means of a wire bent around it, and secured in a hole in the tin by a bend or knot in the other extremity. Further explanations are almost superfluous, as our main illustration fully explains itself.
After the weight is attached, the platform should be secured in its place, about five inches from the top of the box. To accomplish this and form the hinges, two shingle-nails should be driven through the side of the box into the tin loops prepared for them. To do this nicely requires some considerable accuracy and care, and it should be so done that the platform will swing with perfect freedom and ease, the weight below bringing it to a horizontal poise after a few vibrations. Care should be taken that the weight is not too heavy, as, in such a case, the platform will not be sensitive on its balance, and, consequently, would not work so quickly and surely. The weight should be just heavy enough to restore the platform to its perfect poise, and no more. This can be easily regulated by experiment. The bait should then be strewn on both sides of the platform, when the trap is set, and the luckless animal, jumping after the bait, feels his footing give way, and suddenly finds himself in the bottom of a dark box, from which it is impossible for him to escape except by gnawing his way out. To prevent this, the interior of the box may be lined with tin.