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The evolution of rats and how we catch ‘em

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Did you know that, aside from Antarctica, rats are literally everywhere in the world

And that a pair of brown rats, if left unchecked, can produce up to 2,000 young per year?!

It’s this prolific nature, and the multiple threats rats pose to human health, resources, and native species, that have deemed their fate to be forever considered a pest.

Managing rat populations has been an essential activity for centuries. Let’s take a look at what’s changed… and what hasn’t.  

Early historical trapping

As far back as the 1500s there are references to conventional spring-loaded snap trap mechanism to kill mice and rats. This is one of the earliest recorded mentions of trapping. And in the 1600’s, even Shakespeare was referencing mouse traps in Hamlet. 

Jack Black the rat catcher

Bring on the 1800’s and we find references of Jack Black, Queen Victoria’s (un)official rat catcher. Black is widely credited with creating the ‘fancy-rat’ subspecies of rat, by specifically catching unusually coloured rats and breeding them to keep as pets for Queen Victoria. 

The spring-loaded mousetrap

In the 1890’s two patents were granted to two similar spring-loaded mouse trap designs, which are pretty similar to today’s snap traps. William C. Hooker and James Henry Atkinson are widely considered the inventors of the modern mousetrap, with Atkinson’s “Little Nipper” winning out as the dominant mousetrap on the market to this day. 

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It was from these mouse traps that the much larger spring-loaded rat trap was born.

The diversification of rat traps

From the Little Nipper, a number of rat trapping innovations were born, with the inventions of glue traps, electric traps, poisons and catch and release traps rising in popularity over the course of the 1900’s. Despite all of the new options, the snap trap remained the dominant method for rat catching. 

Goodnature was created

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The design evolution of our Goodnature rat, possum and squirrel traps

In 2005, Goodnature was born - rat numbers were growing and established methods of trapping weren’t making a dent in their numbers. The idea for a non-toxic, humane trap that automatically reset itself, taking care of multiple pests before it needed to be serviced, came to life. 

Today, the Goodnature A24 Trap is available around the world.

Trapping joins the 21st Century

Now rat trapping has gone digital - with Chirp. 

Chirp combines with the A24 Rat & Stoat Trap to talk to smartphones - via Bluetooth™ and the Chirp App - letting trappers know every time a trap kills a pest.
Chirp also notifies users when to replace the lure and gas, so the trap stays fresh and ready for action.

Chirp is more than smart rat catching, it’s connected conservation. With the Chirp App it’s now possible to see how everyone’s trapping success is making a difference. 

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Where do you think trapping will go next?