Editor’s Note: This post was featured by Bob Vila at BobVila.com!
Make this easy DIY mouse trap, learn how to use rat traps to catch just about anything (even birds!), and find out what baits are best for various animals.
Mouse traps are one of the most overlooked but essential survival tools.
Maybe it’s so overlooked because no one really wants to think about eating a rat.
The truth is in SHTF anything goes, and a rat trap (homemade or store bought) can be used to catch a lot more than common mice.
Depending on the bait you use you can catch snakes, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, armadillos, raccoons, and even birds.
Mouse traps are also vitally important for keeping your food stores clean and rodent free. If you don’t want to eat them at least use them for bait for bigger animals.
The Common Man’s Trap
The easiest way is to buy a couple of the large Wooden Rat Snap Traps from amazon or home depot. To give yourself the most variety of meat make sure you buy the large traps and not the small ones made for mice only.
Drill a hole in one corner large enough to run about a 10′ section of Paracord through and tie it up.
Secure the other end of the paracord to a tree or post, apply a small dab of bait on the trap, camouflage it the best you can, and set it. A trap like this will work for you while you do something else, like tend your fire or collect water.
Different types of animals like different types of baits. The best all around bait is peanut butter. You can catch mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and armadillos with peanut butter.
A small piece of meat or fish will also work wonders for opossum, raccoons, and armadillo’s and even turtles. Some grass, seeds and berries will attract rabbits and birds. Snakes are a bit finicky but can be caught. If you hate the thought of eating a mouse then try catching one and setting it as bait for another animal such as a snake or coon.
Pro Tip: A note on eating armadillo meat…. They have been shown to spread leprosy to humans so eat with caution. The armadillo may have no outward signs of leprosy and still spread it to humans.
The same can be said for eating raccoon meat. They are know carriers of rabies so you have to be careful and make sure you cook your meat thoroughly. I would not eat an armadillo or raccoon unless I had no choice.
But if it’s either eat or starve then you’re better off taking your chances and eating the dang thing.
The DIY Bucket Trap
If you don’t have a mouse trap then you can improvise. All you can really catch are mice but it’s very simple to build. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, a piece of wood to act as a ramp (optionally you can bury the bucket flush with the ground), some peanut butter, a 1 liter bottle or aluminum can, and some wire.
Run a length of wire through an aluminum can and attach each end of the wire to the top of the bucket. Smear peanut butter on the can and fill the bucket with about 3-4″ of water. Then either bury the bucket flush with the ground or prop a piece of wood against the bucket to act as a ramp for the mice. The mice will come in to get the peanut butter then fall in the water and drown. It’s simple and very effective.
You can catch one to two mice a day with such a trap if you set it up in the right place. Around food stores, in attics, and around grassy fields are great places.
Don’t Take My Word For It
Here’s a great video from Dave Canterbury of http://www.wildernessoutfittersarchery.com (you probably also know him from the hit show Dual Survival) explaining how he always carries two large mouse traps with him, or as he likes to call them “common man traps”.