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Historic, archived document 

Do not assume content reflects current 
scientific l<nowleclge, policies, or practices. 





By Arthur M. Greenhall, Collaborator, 
Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife; 
Curator, Royal Victoria Institute 
Museum; and Consultant, Trinidad 
Regional Virus Laboratory, Port of 
Spain, Trinidad, British West Indies. 

Mongooses have been taken successfully in Trinidad with an easily constructed live 
trap used locally for many years to catch land crabs. It is made from the common 
bamboo, which is widely grown in most subtropical and tropical areas. In countries 
where the Indian mongoose, Herpestes auropunctatus , has been introduced, it is a 
practical and economical method of capturing them, even for large-scale operations. 

The body of a mongoose is about 14 inches long and its tail about 12 inches. Hollow 
internodes or "joints" of bamboo, about two feet long, with basal node diameters of 
about 3-1/2 inches, make ideal darkened cylinders into which the slender mongoose 
will readily enter and easily fit. The trap is easy to make. 

Saw a two-foot section, leaving one internode to form the solid end (Figure 1), Next, 
carve the trigger assembly parts (Figure 2). The bow (A) which closes the trap door 
is about six inches long. It is slit about one inch at each end to provide a place to 
anchor a rubber band cut from an old inner tube. The trap door (B) is about five 
inches long and 3-1/2 inches wide, rounded on the bottom edge to fit the contour of 
the inside of the trap. The top edge is notched to hold the rubber band and a second 
notch is cut on the inner surface about three fourths of the way to the base so that it 
will be held up high enough for the mongoose to enter. The flying stick (C) is long 
enough to fit the notches of the trap door at one end and the trigger stick at the other. 
The trigger stick (D) is whittled from a half-inch by four-inch piece notched long 
enough to clear the thickness of the trap as well as the flying stick; both edges of the 
notch must be square. Bait is tied or smeared on the rounded lower half of the trigger 
stick. On the top side of the trap about an inch in front of the internode, cut a three- 
quarter inch square hole through which the trigger stick is inserted and a one-Inch slot 
about three inches from the open end for the trap door. A slit is then cut from the rear 
edge to hold the bow (Figure 3). Insert the bow, rough side up, rubber band attached. 

Fish and Wildlife Service • Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife 

Washington 25, D. C. « Wildlife Leaflet 453 • July 1963 

in this slit (Figure 4). The rubber band, when inserted in the notched top of the trap 
door, should have ample tension to spring the door shut and hold it in place (Figure 5). 
Set the trap by inserting the flying stick into the trap door notch, the trigger in the 
trigger hole (Figure 6) and hook the rear end of the flying stick firmly under the upper 
edge of the trigger notch (Figure 7). When the trigger is pulled (Figure 8), the flying 
stick is released and the trap door drops in place. 

Cut bamboo may become infested, within 24 hours after harvesting, with bamboo powder- 
post beetles, which are abimdant in the Caribbean Islands. This may be prevented by 
the application of five percent DDT to the freshly cut bamboo either brushed inside and 
out or used as a ten-minute dip. It is preferable to use DDT wettable powder since an 
oil base might be repellent to the mongoose. Insecticides may not be necessary since 
the traps are easily made and considered expendable. 

A variety of baits, such as dried fish, canned sardines, fat pork, bacon, chicken heads 
and entrails may be used. These may be smeared or tied on to the bait stick or, space 
permitting, placed free on the trap bottom as far behind thebait stick as possible. How- 
ever, it should be noted that fish and meat baits rot rapidly in the tropics, attracting flies, 
dogs and vultures. It may be that mongooses could be attracted by means of scented 
lures. Although this method has not been tested, mongooses have large scent glands 
which could be prepared for lure, which, along with mongoose urine, might prove satis- 
factory and thus reduce trap molestation, at least by vultures. To prevent dogs and 
vultures from troubling a baited trap, experience has shown that the best sets are made 
when the trap is placed between logs or rocks, against trees or buildings and covered 
with twigs, branches, grass or sugar cane trash. This also prevents the round trap 
from rolling to one side, although this does not matter unless the bait stick is tripped. 
However, mongooses also like the cover of sugar cane fields and grasslands , where 
logs, wood, rocks or other suitable braces may not be handy. To prevent molestation 
and rolling, then, the trap may be set into a trench made with a cutlass, machete, 
knife or the heel of a shoe and then covered with vegetation and sugar cane trash. 



I wish to thank Mr. Harold Drysdale, of 
the Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory, 
for photographing the traps made by Mr. 
Vernon Mahabirsingh, an assistant in my 
laboratory. I also wish to thank my daugh- 
ter, Alice R. Greenhall, and my wife, 
Elizabeth R. Greenhall, for many helpful 
suggestions and for editing the manuscript.