Instructions on How to Build a Live Rabbit Trap

Written by c. paul martin
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Instructions on How to Build a Live Rabbit Trap
Wild rabbits can be destructive to your garden. (rabbit image by Han van Vonno from

Rabbits, squirrels, and other wild rodents can sometimes be a nuisance to your gardening efforts. These creatures not only favour garden plants, fruits, and vegatables to their normal forage, they have also been known to ravage flowers and herb gardens as well. While the most simple solution may be call pest control or kill the animal yourself, a more humane and more effective way to deal with these rodents is to trap them. With a little instruction, it is not difficult to built your own box trap out of wire fencing.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Wire fencing
  • 18-by-24 inch board
  • Wire cutter
  • Pliers
  • Measuring tape
  • 3 wire coat hangers

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  1. 1

    Lay the board upon the wire fencing, and match corners. Mark the fencing by cutting the first strand of fencing with the wire cutters, cutting the fencing to the length of the board. Now, lay the board lengthwise across the fencing, matching one end to the first mark. Mark the fencing again at the other end of the board and then make a third mark the same distance from this second one.

  2. 2

    Cut through all the strands of fencing between the first, second, and third marks. Make sure to cut the strands of fencing very short to the section of fencing you have been measuring thus far.

  3. 3

    Place the board the original position from which you began, and stand on the board as you fold the fencing firmly towards the board, creating a permanent 90-degree bend in the fence. Move the board to the other side of the new bend, and repeat this procedure to create the second bend. Repeat this procedure twice more to create a square tube shape out of the fence.

  4. 4

    Cut the fencing with the wire cutter where this square tube meets itself, but instead of leaving no wire strands hanging, leave all of the strands hanging. When you complete the cutting, use the pliers to wrap these hanging strands to the other edge of the square tube, securing the fencing in this shape.

  5. 5

    Measure an open end of the box with the tape measure, and cut a piece of fencing to this size, leaving hanging strands on each edge which overlap the measurement. Secure this piece of fencing to an open end of the box by bending the hanging strands around the edges of the box with the pliers.

  6. 6

    Cut another section of fencing with the wire cutters to a shape two inches shorter than the edges of your last piece, leaving no hanging strands. Cut a wire hanger below its hook, severing both strands, and bend this wire into a straight strand, using the pliers.

  7. 7

    Place the small piece of fencing into the box near the back, and hold it in a position where it can rotate towards and away from the front (open end) of the box. While holding it there, thread the wire hangar strand through the side of the box (about halfway up), through this small piece of fencing (be sure to weave in and out of the strands as you go), and out the other end of the box. While threading, keep everything straight and centred.

  8. 8

    Cut the hangar strand three inches beyond the side of the box on both ends, and secure each end to the side of the box with the pliers, loosley wrapping it around the fencing there once around. If you did this correctly, the piece of fencing in the box should be suspended by the wire hangar strand, and can rotate freely. This completes the box's trigger.

  9. 9

    Cut and bend another wire hangar in the same way you did the first, and thread one end through the top of the box directly above the trigger, and secure one end of this strand to the top edge of the trigger by firmly bending it around the edge twice with a pliers.

  10. 10

    Pull up on the hangar wire to rotate the trigger all the way up (this is the trigger's closed position), and two inches above the top of the box, bend the wire hangar 90 degrees towards the front end of the box. This is the trigger wire, and you must use the wire cutter to free about four inches ahead and behind where the trigger wire comes through the top of the box in order to ensure that it can move freely. Test its operation, attempting to move the trigger more than three inches by pushing and pulling on the other end of the wire.

  11. 11

    Measure the open end of the box with the tape measure, and cut a section of fencing to this size, leaving overlapping hanging strands only on its top and bottom. Angle this piece so you can slip it inside the box, and secure the top of the piece by loosely bending the hanging strands around the top and front edge of the box. Bend the bottom hanging strands into hooks that will catch on the bottom of the box as it swings down and towards the entrance.

  12. 12

    Rotate the swinging door of the box all the way to the top, and cut the trigger wire four inches beyond where it first meets the door's edge. Use a pliers to make a "U" shape from the end of the trigger wire which will hold the door in this open position. Test your box trap by pushing on the trigger from the outside. Tinker with the trigger, trigger wire, and door until the trigger causes the door to shut and its hooks catch the bottom.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use basically any wire fencing you like, but make sure it does not have openings larger than 4 inches, and wires of at least 8 gauge to make the strongest and most reliable box trap.
  • Make sure to place the bait at the very back of the trap, so that the rodent must push the trigger to get to it.
  • Apple cores make a good bait.
  • Be very careful handling rabbits or any other rodent you may catch in your trap. Wild animals are very unpredictable once captured.

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