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Homemade Rat Zapper

Updated March 23, 2017

A rat infestation can be difficult to deal with, particularly because traditional rat traps are only effective for one or two uses. Electric traps provide a solution to infestations and may be reused dozens of times without wearing out. Because the amount of voltage needed to kill a rat is about the same amount of voltage to kill a person, a builder of an electric rat trap should be extremely careful when building one and setting it.

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  1. Cut a base for the trap from 2x6 feet of lumber. Use a segment that's at least 18 inches long so that the electric portion is well out of reach within the box when the trap is in use.

  2. Cut a piece of copper sheet metal 6 7/8 inches wide by 6 inches long. Solder a small spring centred near the end of the sheet metal, and tack down the other end to the trap base using nails so that the spring end is within an inch of the end of the base. Test the spring action on the plate. It should freely depress with a half pound's pressure on it.

  3. Strip an inch of insulation from a piece of wire and solder it to the sheet metal. Extend the wire past the end of the base, leaving plenty to wire in later steps.

  4. Strip an inch of insulation from the electrical wire, and wrap the exposed wire around a brass screw right below its head. Sink the wired screw into the base below the springed end of the copper sheet, leaving enough extra wire to wire to the transformer in later steps.

  5. Enclose the trap. Cut three more pieces of 2x6 feet of lumber the length of the base and attach them to the base to form a 6-by-6 tunnel. Cut a piece of plywood to be 6 by 10 inches, drilling a 1/4-inch hole next to a corner.Thread both pieces of wire through the hole, then screw the plywood to the end of the tunnel.

  6. Wire the neon sign transformer to the wires from the trap. A transformer is needed to produce enough voltage to kill a rat rather than merely shocking it.

  7. Bait the trap using cat or dog food, and plug the transformer's power cable in to arm it.

  8. Warning

    Never rebait the trap or remove a rat's body from the trap without unplugging the transformer.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2x6 lumber
  • Saw
  • Copper sheet metal
  • Soldering iron
  • Spring
  • Roofing nails
  • Electrical wire
  • Brass screw
  • Wood screws
  • Screwdriver
  • 1/2-inch plywood
  • Neon sign transformer

About the Author

Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.

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