By fastening the bait—a small lump or piece—on each side of the tin, the trap will continually reset itself, and, in this way, two or three individuals may be taken, one after the other. Muskrats are frequently caught in this trap, it being generally buried in the ground so that its top is on a level with the surface. In this case it is necessary to arrange the platform lower down in the box, and the latter should be of much larger dimensions than the one we have described.
[Page 134] For ordinary purposes the box should either be set in the ground or placed near some neighboring object which will afford easy access to it. No less than a dozen rats have been caught in a trap of this kind in a single night.
The common cage trap is well known to most of our readers, and for the capture of rats and mice, it is one of the most efficacious devices in existence. The construction of one of these traps is quite a difficult operation, and we would hesitate before advising our inventive reader to exercise his patience and ingenuity in the manufacture of an article which can be bought for such a small price, and which, after all, is only a mouse trap. If it were a device for the capture of the mink or otter, it might then be well worth the trouble, and would be likely to repay the time and labor expended upon it. We imagine that few would care to exercise their skill over a trap of such complicated structure, while our pages are filled with other simpler and equally effective examples.
For the benefit, however, of such as are of an inventive turn of mind, we subjoin an illustration of the trap to serve as a guide. The principle upon which it works is very simple. The bait is [Page 135] strewn inside the cage, and the rats or mice find their only access to it through the hole at the top. The wires here converge at the bottom, and are pointed at the ends. The passage downwards is an easy matter, but to escape through the same opening is impossible, as the pointed ends of the wires effectually prevent the ascent. It is a notable fact, however, that the efforts to escape through this opening are very seldom made. The mode of entering seems to be absolutely forgotten by the captive animals, and they rush frantically about the cage, prying between all the wires in their wild endeavors, never seeming to notice the central opening by which they entered. This is easily explained by the fact that the open grating admits the light from all sides, and the enclosed victims are thus attracted to no one spot in particular, and naturally rush to the extreme edges of the trap, in the hope of finding an exit.
If a thick cloth be placed over the cage, leaving the opening at the top uncovered, the confined creatures are soon attracted by the light, and lose no time in rushing towards it, where their endeavors to ascend are effectually checked by the pointed wires. Profiting by this experiment, the author once improvised a simple trap on the same principle, which proved very effectual. We will call it