Is peanut butter not attracting predators like it used to? Let’s shake things up with five lures that’ll make your trap the hottest dining spot for rats, stoats or possums.
But first, we need to understand the feeding behaviour of the introduced predators we’re trying to trap.
Rats are the ultimate omnivores. They don’t discriminate between plants, eggs or meat — they’ll eat anything they can sink their teeth into. Plants make up a majority of a possum’s diet but don’t be fooled — they’re also opportunistic eaters. If a chance for a meaty or eggy treat arises, they won’t say no! As for stoats, only meat is on the menu.
So, what’s the best lure to attract these introduced predators to your trap? Unfortunately, there is no ‘perfect lure’. It all depends on factors like time of year, weather, and food availability. Here are our five enticing lures for you to try when peanut butter just isn’t cutting it:
Egg-based mayonnaise attracts possums, rats and stoats, and feral cats too.
User Willowflat_warrior from a trap.nz forum shares their tip for extending your mayo milage:
“A good way to both enhance [the mayo’s] appeal, and to extend its field life, is to give it a generous spray of white vinegar.
“Insects dislike vinegar, so the extra application is a good way to deter them for as long as possible. The extra vinegar also creates a stronger, longer-lasting smell, which increases the chances of predators finding traps.”
Take a page from trapping expert Cam Speedy’s book and make your trap ‘shout into the landscape’ by rubbing mayonnaise around the trap and the surroundings – creating a scent trail.
2. Raw mutton fat or beef fat
Raw mutton fat is a great lure for traps. Mutton fat can be hard to find (asking your local butcher is your best bet), so raw beef fat is another option, but not pork fat.
Freeze raw fat to prolong its lifespan. Rub the raw mutton fat on the mesh of your trap tunnels and add some inside your trap. You can also lead a ‘Hansel and Gretel’ trail of fat leading to your trap. Be wary that this could attract cats as well.
3. Packaged lures
Convenient, targeted and long-lasting – packaged lures are another great option. Eggs over easy, meat lovers or cinnamon delight – pick your flavour to suit your target predator’s tastes.
For example, Connovation sells Erayz jerky blocks, pastes, and strong-smelling spray lures in flavours like salmon, cinnamon, or chocolate, depending on what predator you are trying to attract. Our online shop sells GoodNature lure pouches in several flavours, as well.
4. Flour blaze
Possums forage using their sight and sense of smell. So using a lure that is bright and smelly is perfect for encouraging them towards your trap. Flour blaze ticks all the boxes.
White flour is used as a visual attractant, icing sugar helps the mixture stick to the tree, and your chosen essence lures them in. We even have an effective recipe for possum sweet flour paste you can use.
Once you’ve made your mixture, ‘blaze’ (sprinkle) the flour paste over and around the trees and ground near your trap (but keep it away from bait stations and traps because the flour will get all mouldy).
White flour stands out in the bush at night. The scent and sight of it will create curiosity and attract other predators. These creatures will create a scent trail on their paws, fur, and breath, leading possums right back to your trap!
5. Scrambled eggs
You may have already tried placing an egg in your trap as a great visual lure for rats and stoats. Time to level up. Put a pin in the egg and blow out the yolk and whites, leaving the eggshell intact.
Whisk the yolk and white together – shaking them up in a water bottle works well. Resist the urge to cook up a scrambled egg snack for yourself. Place the eggshell inside the trap and squirt the egg mixture around the ground outside the trap. This lure is perfect to use in spring and summer when birds are breeding, and eggs are found throughout the environment.
Finding the perfect lure requires experimentation and adaptation. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
You can give your new lure the best chance of success by:
- Cutting access to other food sources in your backyard – like compost or rubbish bins.
- Leaving a few tasty treats, such as crumbs of mutton fat or dollops of mayo, outside your trap entrance as this will entice predators to investigate further.
- Changing your lure regularly and disposing it away from the trap. Exactly when and how often will depend on where the traps are.