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The Box Pit-fall


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.

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, sh
wing 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

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.

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.

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.