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A job last week gave a perfect opportunity to set some snares for some troublesome rats which had taken to raiding a clients chicken pen. I had already taken several 3/4 grown rats in Mk 4 Fenn traps but there were tracks in the mud & droppings which indicated there were some larger specimens lurking about.
There were several well defined runs leading across the lawn from the flower beds to the hen's run and it was here that I set several brass snares on plastic fence stakes.
Adult rats are very wary of anything new in their territory & will often avoid traps and bait stations for several weeks but this is where the use of traditional technology comes in. As the rat breaks cover & dashes for a quick feed in the hen run along his normal path, he runs into the snare, which he hasn't spotted due to his poor eyesight and before it realises what's happened he's whipped up into the air and strangled, quickly & humanely.
The snares need to be set on whippy sticks or the like, because if the rat's feet were on the ground, or if there was anything nearby to climb on, as per normal "rabbit type" snares Ratty would be able to gnaw through the snare wire or cord and make good his escape.
In this instance I used electric fence stakes to spring the snares but I prefer to use ordinary hazel sticks - very springy & freely available in any hedgerow. I tied the brass snare to a large fishing swivel & this in turn is tied to the end of the whippy stick (or fence stake). A small hazel peg with a panel pin driven into it is pushed into the ground at the side of the rat run and then the whippy stick pushed into the ground at roughly a 45 degree angle and the stick bent down to ground level and the snare set in place across the rat run, secured by the fishing swivel on the panel pin peg - hard to describe but easy to do in practice.
If set correctly the results can be large, adult rats brought to book, which might otherwise have taken several weeks to catch up with using ordinary traps or anti coagulant bait - very satisfying for the client, as well as being environmentally friendly.