Year of the Rat in the Possum Trap

Becky is going to write a proper Year of the Rat post, but I thought I’d get things off to good start with this post.

I heard our garage door move a little. I thought it was the wind. Then I heard a can fall over in the garage. Then plastic bag noise.

“What the !!!!” I mumbled as I grabbed my Maglite.

At first, I was thinking, “possum.” It was making far too much noise to be a mouse.

I opened the door that leads to the garage and peered in with my light.

A rat the size of a small cat looked back at me at eye level.

Before my interruption, it had been scaling the exposed wood of the house framing in the garage. Probably looking for a nice, cozy place to make a nest. It lept down onto the floor and scurried under some debris we have in the garage.

I closed the door.

I went over a few options. I looked at the mouse traps that I had handy. HAHAHA No way. Poison… Would take too long, and then the creature would manage to die inside a wall, or some similarly bad place. I gazed at the gun safe for a few moments—as I heard glass breaking in the garage. I thought, if I use the .22, I will manage to shoot a hole in the roof and the rat will somehow survive. No guns.

I opened the door again to see what the rat broke. It was a small jar of paint. There were rat paw prints on the garage floor now. I closed the door again.

“Ok, think!”

Shops in town were long closed. I couldn’t go buy a rat trap.

As I was thinking about how incredibly large the rat was, I chuckled about the possum guess not being too far off; and that’s when I got the idea to try my possum trap.

I loaded up the trigger arm of the Timms possum trap with an apple core and molded some cheese around it at well. I noticed that my outside bait station was empty, so the rat obviously liked the blue rat poison pellets. I flicked a couple of those on the bottom for good measure. (It was probably busily transferring all of those pellets to its new nest in the garage somewhere for the winter.) I drew back the cord on the trap and the kill arm locked into place, the strong springs resonating briefly. I set a large container of apple cider vinegar on top of the trap, to hold it in place.

In the morning, this is what I found:

Rattus giganticus norvegicus

You might be able to make out the paint on its paws and tail.

NOTE: I included the Timms trap in the picture to provide a frame of reference for the size of the rat. Becky gently reminded me that many readers (outside of New Zealand) won’t know how large a Timms trap is. Woops. The Timms trap is 25.5cm (10″) long by 16.5cm (6.5″) wide.

11 Responses to “Year of the Rat in the Possum Trap”

  1. Karen says:

    From the color on his paws, it must be a Norwegian Blue. He’s probably pining for the fjords.

  2. Eileen says:

    I love your animal trapping, shooting, husbandry stories etc posted here on Farmlet.
    I hope you are planning to write a book that contains all of the very interesting posts on this site.

  3. Sonya says:

    Whereabouts could a local get those traps from? We arrive back in New Zealand in March and we’re thinking our barn has probably been a rat motel. Do you both ever go to the farmers market in Kerikeri. We’d love to meetup at some stage. I’ve knitted a wee something for Owen and would love to pass it on. We have gotten so much from your site and would love to give something back.

  4. WF says:

    Love your blog! I wish I could be a hunter like you…I am still trying to collect my nerves for the butcherings I have to do this year : )

    I enjoy reading your posts. Greetings from a white east coast…


  5. wf says:

    Greetings from a wet/white east coast. I love your blog!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Hi All,
    Thanks for the comments.
    @Eileen: It would be a lot of fun to write a Farmlet book, but at the moment I’m barely managing to keep up with the website — what with baby, garden and animals all competing for my time! Maybe one day. . .
    @Sonya: We are not very often down in Kerikeri, as we usually do our shopping in Kaitaia. It would be great to meet up with you when you arrive back here though, whether at Kerikeri or elsewhere. FYI: The best place to start looking for vermin traps around here is at the Regional Council offices, as they subsidise the purchase of such traps. I know this is true of possum traps, at least, but you might also get a good deal on rat traps from them.
    Owen is very lucky that you have made him a little something!

  7. Megan says:

    Oh my goodness that in huge…I hope our poor cat does not find one of these…goose bumps

  8. Rebecca says:

    Hi Megan,
    Yes, lucky we don’t have a wee kitten. I’d be worried it might get eaten for breakfast by a huge rodent like that!

  9. df says:

    i need some possum traps, leg hold 1s though
    for pest control.
    any one know where i could get any im looking for about 5-10.
    distressed farmer

  10. dillon says:

    you can get keg hold traps from