Trapping in your backyard has loads of benefits. It can help get rid of rats from your compost bin, save your roses and fruit trees from possums, but most importantly it can make your garden a safe place for our unique native wildlife to live and feed.
We have roughly estimated that having a trap in every 5th urban backyard is enough to create a safe environment for our native wildlife to flourish.
Whatever your reason for getting involved, we want to help you get started in the most efficient, effective and humane way possible. Follow this guide to get off to the best start!
Step 1: Identify what predators you have
It’s important to know what predators you’re targeting to ensure you use the right bait and trap. There are three easy ways to find out;
1. Look for any signs of predator activity eg poo or teeth marks on fruit. The Pest Detective is a great website for identifying pest poo if you aren’t too sure!
2. Teeth marks left on chew cards can help identify exactly which predators are paying you a visit. They also tell you where in your backyard the predators are visiting and good places to put a trap. You can buy packs of chew cards from our shop.
3. Tracking tunnels are another great way to identify predators. The predator walks through ink on a pad, leaving clear footprints you can use for identification.
Chances are, if you live on a suburban section you’ll have rats, but it is best to check!
Step 2: Get a suitable trap
Once you know which predator you’re dealing with, it’s time to select your trap. Follow our best practice guide to find out what trap you’ll need. All the traps we sell are humane and meet NAWAC (National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee) standards.
Once your trap arrives make sure your read the safety instructions to ensure you know how to use it safely. Then you’re ready to start.
The best place to put your trap is where you have had bite marks on chew cards, this means predators are willing to stop and feed in that location. For best results make sure your trap is flat and stable, and the ends are clear.
Make sure you always wear gloves when handling your trap and catches.
Step 3: Prepare your backyard
Create an environment that makes your trap desirable for predators.
- Make your trap the best spot to snack by removing water and other food sources
- If you provide water for birds, use a birdbath rather than a dish on the ground
- Never put meat scraps in your compost. If other food scraps are encouraging rats and mice, consider composting food using a bokashi bin and keeping your compost heap for garden waste
- Pick up fallen fruit and pick fruit off your trees as soon as it ripens
- Predator proof your hen house.
Step 4: Record what’s happening (optional)
If you want to continually improve your trapping then you may want to keep a record of the following things:
• What method and equipment you are using e.g. trapping versus toxins or a mixture of both
• Where you’ve placed your equipment
• How often you check, clear and reset/re-bait your equipment
• What lures/baits you are using
• How many catches you have, and when.
It can be as simple as having a notebook and jotting down a few basic sentences that describe what you’re doing. You can then refer back to this to see what works and what doesn’t, and it could be useful info to share with your neighbourhood.
Step 5: Reach out to a community
There are hundreds of community groups in New Zealand who are working to restore our native wildlife. Reach out to your local group to see what predator free activities you can get involved with. You can search this map to see what communities are near you.