MIL OSI – Source: Department of Conservation – Release/Statement
Headline: Six reasons not to start backyard trapping
Predator Free Ranger Kat Lane recently spent time at the NZ Flower and Garden Show chatting with visitors about backyard trapping. Of the over 1,400 visitors, only 9% were trapping pests in their backyard. These were some of the reasons people weren’t backyard trapping:
1. I don’t want traps in my garden in case my chickens or cat get into them by mistake
Most of the traps we recommend for your backyard are designed to keep cats and chickens out. You can put the trap inside a trapping tunnel that only animals like rats and mice can fit into.
2. I don’t have a big garden, I live in an apartment
Check with your landlord to see if they are doing any pest control around the building that you could help out with. If they aren’t, you could be just the right person to help them get started!
3. I don’t need any traps in my back yard, my cat catches everything
We still encourage home owners to trap in their backyards as well. Cats should be kept indoors at night to protect our native birds. This is when rats are most active so it’s wise to have traps in place as well. As an added bonus, keeping them inside at night will stop cats from leaving dead rats and mice on your kitchen floor early in the morning!
4. But my cat doesn’t kill birds, so I don’t need to keep it in at night
Cats mainly hunt on the ground and are capable of killing ground-nesting birds up to the size of adult kiwi and kererū. They have superb hearing and night vision, are extremely mobile and have a large home range (meaning they will roam far from your property). Cats have been responsible for eliminating entire bird species such as the Stephens Island wren and it is not uncommon for cats to consume over 30 lizards in one hunting season. So even if you don’t see your cats bringing home native birds or lizards, it’s safer to keep them indoors during the night when they would ordinarily do the majority of their hunting.
5. I don’t need to trap hedgehogs because they aren’t a pest
Hedgehogs were introduced to New Zealand to control garden pests such as slugs, snails and grass grubs, so some people see hedgehogs as beneficial to have around. Unfortunately, their habitat has not been confined to gardens or their diet to garden pests and they have now become a threat themselves. Today hedgehogs are widespread across the country and pose a significant threat to native wildlife, especially insects and lizards. They also eat eggs and chicks of ground-nesting birds, with those in coastal and riverbed locations being particularly vulnerable.
6. I don’t want to deal with dead stuff
The Goodnature self-resetting traps are a great way to avoid having to remove any dead creatures from traps. The dead rats, stoats or possums are often removed by other predators. Plus, you don’t need to check the traps regularly and can leave them in place to do their thing for months.
You can find out more about how to start backyard trapping on our website.
Also, don’t forget to check out the Predator Free NZ website to see if there’s a local group near you that you can register your traps with.