Attractants are materials, foods, lures, baits, etc. used by Wildlife Control Operators (WCOs) to entice an animal into a trap. In other words, attractants constitute an umbrella term which covers a variety of materials. What are those categories? There are a couple of ways to classify them, but I will only deal with the sense model one in this blog entry.
You may recall from elementary school that we have five senses, namely
- hearing, and
Touch is usually not included for attractants because if the animal is close enough to touch the attractant, he is close enough to be trapped. The other four are useful so let’s explain those.
Sight attractants use visual means to cause an animal to notice the trap set. Sight can be utilized by color (e.g. white for nocturnal animals) or motion, (e.g. hanging a fake feather to attract cats). Smell, uses a volatile chemical, such as urine to entice an animal to notice. Urine is a powerful attractant because it can indicate sexual or territorial status. Taste, is pretty obvious because we all want to eat something that taste’s good. Animals are no different. Food is an important need and something that animals spend a great deal of their time searching for. Give them something that tastes good and of high energy value and the animals will go where you want them to go. Lastly, is hearing. Predators often use hearing to find hidden prey. Coyotes and cats will often hear a mouse before they see it. Thus, manufacturers have created sound-producing devices to mimic sounds that are meaningful to animals. As effective as some of these devices can be they have a significant downside, namely the sound may be annoying to clients or neighbors.
Why is knowing the categories of attractants important? Because you need to know how to diversify your baiting/luring of traps. If you encounter a trap-wise animal, you may need to change the attractant to help it overcome its fear. Just as using the same pesticide for decades can lead to resistance, so can using the same baits/lures can lead to lower effectiveness, particularly in areas where people trap and release.
Finally, check with your state’s wildlife laws to see if there are restrictions on visual or audible lures.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications along with several books (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.