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Baits and Lures
Prepared by Kyle Pias for the Hono O Na Pali Seabird Mitigation Proje
ct for the 2018 Predator Control Forum, Hawaii Island

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Click to view original poster

Rat Baits and Lures

Considerations, Options, and Details

  • Different Baits for Different Species 

    • Black rats seem to be truly omnivorous

    • Polynesian rats appear to be more vegetarian

    • Norway rats seem to be predatory and will often scavenge dead rats in traps

    • All rodents are opportunists!!! General patterns may change depending on food availability (Example: Polynesian rats on Lehua)

  • Different Baits for Different Traps

    • Certain textures and consistencies may not be able to pair with different trigger mechanisms 

    • Kamates require baits that are firm enough to support the trigger

    • Baits need to be thick enough (not too viscous) to be used on snap trap pans (picture 1) pr in Goodnature lure bottles

    • There are additives that can thicken runny baits (soy wax, lanolin)

  • Environmental Longevity

    • Although rodents will eat spoiled food, bait freshness is still important to ensure maximum attractiveness (especially when other food sources are available)​

    • Addition of preservatives to home made baits can significantly increase their life in the field (BHT, sodium benzoate, Vybar, etc)

  • Pheromone or Scent Based Lures?

    • Urine from pregnant females​

    • Bedding from rat cages (pet stores possible source?)

  • Available resource matching

    • What is available in the environment?​

    • Can you create a bait that matches it, so it is not too foreign to wary rats?

    • Be aware that your baits that utilize fruits should be free of fertile seeds to avoid accidental introductions

  • Bait Novelty

    • The opposite of the above bullet. Does your bait stand out from the environment enough to be attractive? ​

    • Switching baits regularly or alternating baits on your trap line may provide enough variability to keep rats interested

1. Commercially available Checita BananaTM paste bait still present and thick even days af

1. Commercially available Checita BananaTM paste bait still present and thick even days after a kill (click to see full size image)

Cat and Mongoose Baits and Lures

Considerations, Options, and Details

  • Environmental Longevity

    • Freshness of bait is very important

    • Moldy or rotting baits can actually be a deterrent (Picture 2)

    • Scent lures might not go bad, but might become more difficult to smell over time

  • Species Specificity

    • Baits or lures that only attract the target species are highly desirable (but rare)

    • Non target species that consume the bait or set off the trap render the trap useless 

    • Native non-target species may also be attracted to baits (fish in a seabird colony)​​

  • Bait training

    • Baits that mimic the resource to be protected (seabird feathers, bird calls, etc)​ should be used carefully and in a way that does not train predators to seek out those food sources

  • Visual Lures

    • Stuffed rats and birds may simulate prey items

    • White eggs are a successful bait for both cats and mongoose

    • Visually enticing items such as cat toys, dishing lures, or bird wings can be used to attract an animal's attention to a trap (where desired)

    • Cats often exhibit curiosity about cam camera IR flashes, which may be used to draw them towards a trap set

  • Auditory Lures

    • Cats and mongooses will often investigate squeaky noises that sound like prey

    • Cats are often attracted to social attraction sites that broadcast seabird colony sounds

    • Programmable game callers could be very useful

  • Sex or Curiosity Lures

    • Utilize a different method of attraction than food based baits or lures

    • An animal that is not food limited (a well fed cat) might respond to a pheromone lure when it was ignoring food based baits

    • Sex based lures might only attract a specific sex so should be used carefully ​​

    • Catenip only affects about 60% of cats and poses a risk as incipient weed, so should be used carefully and only as an essential oil

  • Scale of Attraction

    • Animals need first to be attracted to the vicinity of the trap and then must actually enter the trap​

    • Sometimes lures and baits may need to be paired

    • A lure (a strong scent or auditory lure) may attract the animal to the general area of the traps, then additional bait or lure may be needed to get the animal to enter the trap

    • A centralized lure station surrounded by traps can be a useful setup (pictures 3 & 4)

2. Oil soaked dry catfood sporting a growth of mold
3. Hanging lure bottle containing pheromone based lure between two blind-set Conibears

click for full size image

click for full size image

4. Cat investigating lure station containing Cat PassionTM. This cat was captured in a nea

click for full size image

4. Cat investigating lure station containing Cat PassionTM. This cat was captured in a nea

Picture 2 

Picture 3 

Picture 4

Commercially Available Baits and Lures

Modification and Maintenance

  • Maintenance

    • Once a year drain CO2 from trap and trigger until safe and then use alcohol wipes and clean inside of trap, trigger, and bracket.

    • Silicone grease on CO2 threads if corrosion is occurring.

  • Tips

    • Trap retention cables/locks if in high traffic area

    • Removing coins from ALPs (best to do that at the beginning of the operation).

  • Non-Target Exclusionary devices

    • Weka excluders

    • Building a “mini fence” around trapping site

    • Wooden boxes or wire mesh boxes

    • Trap set height

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