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How to Build a Live Animal Trap

As the human population increases and the housing and construction industry booms, we encroach further and further upon the homes of many species of animals. Mostly they're shoved aside, ignored and left to starve outside their natural habitats. A few of the more tenacious and adaptable species hang on though. Raccoons, rats, opossums and armadillos are a few of the more tenacious species. Mainly we just view them as pests that fight with our animals and get into the trash cans at night. But it's not their fault for acting the way they do, so why put out poison or traps that would kill them? A good alternative would be to use live humane traps and turn the animals over to a humane pest control organization that will relocate the animal.

Begin by cutting from the plywood sheets. You will need three pieces 3 feet by 1 foot in size, one piece 1 foot by one and a half feet, one piece 2 feet 8 inches long by 1 foot wide, one piece 1 foot 1.5 inches wide by 1 foot high, and one piece 2 feet 4 inches long by 10 inches wide.

Measure one of the 3X1 pieces and place the wooden dowel crosswise exactly halfway down its length. Use wood screws to fix the dowel firmly against the board. This will be the floor of the trap

Place the ends of the other two pieces of the 3X1 standing up alongside the floor to make the walls. Use wood screws to fix them in place so you’ve got a squared U shape box missing a roof that’s a full foot wide in the interior.

Cut the length of 1X1 into 4 one foot long sections. Measure 2 feet and 7 inches down each side of the box, stand a length of 1X1 upright on each side and use the wood screws to affix them to the walls. Measure a little more than ¾ inch further down and place the other two 1X1s. Screw them into place as well. These are the brackets which will frame the sliding door which will drop when the trap closes. Make sure to sand this portion of the trap well to make the door drop smoothly.

Affix the 1 foot 1.5 inches wide by 1 foot high piece to the end furthest from the brackets with wood screws. This will be the static end of the trap, the part that doesn’t move.

Screw one of the eye hooks one foot from the end of the 2 feet 4 inch long by 10 inches wide piece of plywood and place it eye-hook-up inside the trap, beyond the brackets. It should teeter over the wooden dowel in the floor. This will be the treadleboard. When the animal steps on it to get to the bait near the static end of the trap, the board will drop and trigger the sliding door.

Affix an eye hook three inches from the end of the piece 2 feet 8 inches long by 1 foot wide. Place it eye-hook-down on the top of the trap, creating the roof. The eye hook should be closest to the brackets. Screw the top of the trap into place.

Drill a hole larger than the width of the remaining eye hook’s screw into the remaining board about an inch from the end, near the board’s midline. The eye hook should be able to sit in the hole easily and come free with a light tug. Slot the board into the brackets with the hole downward pointing into the trap.

Tie a length of fishing line to the eye of the remaining hook. Run the line through the eye hook in the ceiling and tie the other end to the eye hook in the treadleboard. Slide the door up so that the hole in it is near the top of the inside of the trap and place the remaining eye hook into the hole. This may take a few tries as the fishing line should have no slack in it at all when it is placed in the sliding board. The tension of the line will keep the board raised. When the treadleboard is depressed by an animal inside the trap, the eye hook in the trap door will pull free and the door will slide shut securely. You have only to set the trap now.

Things You Will Need

  • Sheet of 3/4-inch plywood
  • 4-foot length of 1X1
  • Table saw
  • Sandpaper
  • 1-foot Long wooden dowel
  • 1 1/2-inch Wood screws
  • Power drill
  • Several deep sea fishing weights
  • Heavy test fishing line
  • 3 Closed eye hooks with screw ends
  • Measuring tape

Tip

  • Graphite lubricant can help the trap door slide down if you find it sticks. You might wish to consider drilling a few small air holes into the roof of the trap.

About the Author

John Albers has been a freelance writer since 2007. He's successfully published articles in the "American Psychological Association Journal" and online at Garden Guides, Title Goes Here, Mindflights Magazine and many others. He's currently expanding into creative writing and quickly gaining ground. John holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Central Florida in English literature and psychology.