The Trapinator is a tree-mounted kill trap designed specifically to target possums.

It is housed in a white plastic box with a red lever that allows you to easily set the spring-set trap. It is triggered when a possum interacts with the bite bar.

Where to put your trap

The Trapinator is designed to be tree mounted. However, you can also mount it on a post or a fence support (so long as it is upright).

When selecting a tree, look for signs of possums such as scratches and horizontal bite marks.

Find a tree roughly the same diameter as a dinner plate as this is a good size for possums to climb.

Monitoring predators in your backyard

Using a chew card is the best way to find a good place for your trap. These show which predators are around and where they are more likely to interact with a trap.

What to use as bait

Put paste on the bite block. Try peanut butter, jam, nutella or a specially made possum dough.

Never use a meat-based lure as this may increase the risk of non-target species interacting with the trap.

Blaze a trail

Possums forage using their sight and sense of smell. Use a bright and smelly lure (called “blaze”) to attract them. Mix 2 cups white flour, half a cup of icing sugar and a few teaspoons of curry powder or cinnamon together in an old plastic bottle and sprinkle under the trap.

How to install your trap

Check the trap is unset. Remove the lid and take out the bait bar by squeezing it together.

Hold the trap 1.2 metres from the ground on your tree.

Put one screw in the centre hole at the top.

Put two more screws either side.

Don’t make them too tight as this may warp the plastic.

Put one final screw in the hole at the bottom.

Ensure the trap is in a firm position and doesn’t move too much if you give it a gentle shake.

Place the bait bar back in position.

Bait your trap by turning the white bite block upwards and applying your chosen bait to the side of the block that faces you. Do not place any bait on the other side of the block. Rotate the block back down.

Put the lid back on.

Now it’s time to set the trap! To do this, firmly push the red lever away from you. When you catch something, simply release the trap by pushing the red lever away from you.

Disposing of carcasses
  • Bury in the garden (planting a native on top to symbolise your effort can be a nice touch).
  • Put in your compost bin (if you have one).
  • Double-bag and place in your Dunedin City Council rubbish bags.

Reporting your results

Please let us know what you catch! This allows us to keep track of the collective effort to protect native wildlife across Ōtepoti/Dunedin.

To report a catch, visit citysanctuary.nz/add-catch. You will be asked to enter a trap ID number which can be found engraved on the side of your trap.

Safety information

Always ensure a trap is un-set before engaging with it.

Always wear gloves when handling your trap and wash your hands thoroughly. This minimises the risk of catching animal-borne diseases such as leptospirosis.

Pet safety

Keeping pets safe around traps is important and something we consider at all times.
Once in place, leave the trap baited and unset for a few days to check whether pets show interest.

Place your trap at least 1.2 metres above the group with no branches below.

Never bait your trap with meat or fish bait.

Trap aversion training for pets can be helpful. This involves bringing a dog or cat near the trap, putting the lure on its nose, and setting off the trap so it gets a fright and associates both the lure and trap with a negative experience.

If you are still concerned, only set the trap overnight and keep pets indoors.

Safely operating traps around children

Ensuring the safety of children around traps is essential.

Teach children about the trap(s) and that they should not touch them without an adult present. It can also be helpful to set off the trap so they know what it does and understand it is dangerous. Children can be involved in tasks such as applying paste to the bait block when it is un-set but should always be supervised by an adult.

If you are still concerned, only set the trap at night (when children are inside) and unset when children are visiting.

Further resources

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