You’ve Got Rat!

If you home has never been subject to a rodent invasion then you are fortunate. Our world is full of rats and mice, and despite the best efforts of humanity to keep them at bay it is inevitable that a few will find their way through. For [Marius Taciuc] this became a problem, as his traps needed constant checking to avoid the prospect of a festering rat carcass. His solution? A humane trap equipped with an ESP8266, that notifies him when the rodent is incarcerated.

The tech behind it is about as simple as it’s possible to get, the trap’s door activates a switch, that powers on an ESP8266 module. The ESP’s code simply wakes it up, connects to a wireless network, and sends a query to IFTTT with a call to a service that sends him an email alert. There’s no need to monitor any GPIO lines or have any code running to keep an eye on the trap, it’s all purely a function of the power switch.

The trap itself is interesting, in that it’s a home-made one constructed from soldered copper wire. Sadly there are few details of its construction, but you can see more of it including a live rat inside it, in the video below the break. And if making a trap catches your interest, we can help you there.

34 thoughts on “You’ve Got Rat!

  1. And to think people keep those things as pets (my daughter being on of them, good thing she doesnt live at home anymore )

    Keeping the power off is one way to keep the standby current low – I seem to recall someone doing something similar to keep their micro stand by current low..

    1. Rats bred as pets have entirely different dispositions than wild rats, or even lab rats. Early exposure to human contact domesticates them much like has been done with dogs and cats for centuries. My wife breeds pet rats, and there isn’t a single one of those bins where I can’t just open it up and play with any of the rats, even when there are babies.

      1. But if pet rats get into the wild they will very quickly become feral and, well just rats. I hope your wife has good security for her brood stock and has them fixed before she sells them, if not she is being irresponsable.

        1. Most domesticated rats die in the wild, either by a predator or because they lack the natural skill to hunt for food or create a natural shelter. They also, due to excessive human inbreeding, almost always die from tumors or respiratory infections if left untreated. Please own rats before talking on the subject!

          1. I have no problem with domesticated rats as pets, but they can be a massive environmental disaster if released into an environment they’re not native to, and in spite of all you said your arguments are mooted by the first word in your reply “Most, so please have your rats spayed or neutered.

      2. Right on!! Currently chilling with my rattos right now, lovable and smart as hell. They have he run of the house and usual always just end up back in the bedroom, as it’s their comfort place. They are fully litter trained too, so no mess around the house. They cuddle and play and just like other “pets”, they are very social unless abused or raised poorly, because sometimes humans suck. Even many abused ones can still be rehabilitated though, just takes time, like other pets. Rats are awesome creatures!!!

  2. Great idea… especially if you’re not in the location where your traps are often.

    Still have the lingering smell of dead mice from the “live” trap I used to catch them in after they fell down the dryer duct (last point of entry post sealing up better while still allowing air flow where required), down a section of PVC pipe I heat gun snug fit into the top opening of a repurposed (obviously leaky) swell volume testing reagent HDPE carboy.

    Any ideas on best way to remove the rodent fecal and death odors?

    I figure I run an industrial round of ozone and maybe defuse some essential oils like cedar, eucalyptus, clove, tea tree oil or something after airing out well.

    1. If you can’t get in to clean out the mess with a thorough scrub with bleach, there’s a couple of options:

      A very strong disinfectant like jays fluid (though you’ll have a reek of that instead for months)

      Desiccating it, if the place it is won’t be exposed to moisture. Dry things don’t usually smell.

    2. By far, the best products I’ve used to get rid of decomposition odors are Epoleon’s N-7C, PC-300, and NnZ (I’m not affiliated with them in any way, just a satisfied customer. ) PC-300 comes ready to use, but because you’re shipping water around it gets expensive if you need large quantities. These days N-7C is my go-to, and have found it particularly good for the odors I usually have to deal with (pet odors, decomposition, rotten food, and tobacco smoke, etc.)

      Ozone can be effective as well if you have access to the equipment to produce it and the knowledge to use it safely (I have neither, so I stick with the products I mentioned.)

      1. Hmmm, wonder if you’d do the same if you had a feral dog problem or cat problem? Open your teeny lil heart dude. Treat all animals the same if you can. Their treatment is left fully at our will – they are merely trying to survive.

  3. The humane trap ensures that the rat gets taken far, far away. A poison campaign in a rat infested building killed all the rats but the smell of rotting rats stayed a long, long time.

    1. Poison is rarely a good option, but a solid spring is fairly quick. There was a very effective captive bolt setup on HaD last year.
      The problem with taking the rats elsewhere is that you’ve got to take them a really long way way, further than you’d think, and when you release them you may risk damaging other ecosystems – birds etc.

    1. Copper wire, galvanized wire (mild steel I guess), even some stuff which said “rodent proof” on the box…

      Even poison doesn’t always work because they breed too quick.

  4. The challenge with IoT mousetraps is that if the mouse pees inside the trap, the whole thing has to be washed over, otherwise, the next mouse will not wander inside the trap. This requires the electronics to be able to disconnected and reconnected.

  5. Live trapping of rodents isn’t recommended. In many places it is illegal to relocate wildlife without permits so unless the rodents are going to be released on-site they still need to be humanely euthanized.

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