DIY Automatic Trap for Squirrels/ Rats/ Rabbits!




Introduction: DIY Automatic Trap for Squirrels/ Rats/ Rabbits!

I had always had a dream of catching a squirrel. As a small kid, I tried using a laundry box with a stick and a sting. This proved to be unsuccessful, as the squirrel always escaped through the hole at the very last moment. So, I built a second trap, it used the same stick method, but now it was a long, narrow wooden box, with a metal latch mechanism. My theory was, that if the box is long and narrow, the squirrel wouldn't have time to turn around and escape. It worked quite well, but the only problem was that you had to wait and release the mechanism manually.

I always wanted to make a automatic trap, but only recently I saw a fairly simple concept of a trap. So I decided to make an instructable on it.

For this instructable you are going to need:

1) Miter saw

2) A simple wooden stick, around 1-2 cm thick

3) Some screws

4) A long bolt and a nut that fits the bolt

5) A screwdriver

6) Mitersaw, table saw or just a normal handsaw

7) Some rope

8) Plexiglas, or a Fresnel lens from an old TV

Step 1: Making the Box!

I made the box 25cm tall, 83cm long, and 25cm wide. You don't have to be precise, as long as the box itself is pretty long, narrow enough for rabbit/ squirrels, and around the same height as width.

For the Plexiglas, I used an Fresnel glass from an old TV, that worked quite well, despite it's resistance to stay in one piece (it shatters really easily). I just cut a 25cm by 25cm piece, and drilled a couple of holes (so it won't shatter if I put in the screws) and secured it in place with screws.

The dimensions of the front door are 25cm by 25cm, same as the Plexiglas panel at the back.

Important note: THE ANIMALS YOU ARE GOING TO CATCH FEEL MORE FREEDOM IN THE TRAP IF YOU PUT A SEMI-TRANSPARENT (or a completely transparent ) MATERIAL AT THE OTHER END (that way it is not so dark).

Put two strips of wood at the opening of the trap, to keep the door from rocking back and forth. Put some grease if you like for smooth operation.

Step 2: Finishing Up!

Drill a hole close to the other end of the trap for the bait-stick. Don't make it to big, a the squirrels and rats tend to gnaw holes in traps.

Next, make the swinging arm mechanism. To make it, basically make a T-shaped piece, drill a hole on the end, and screw in to the top (somewhere in the middle) of the trap.

Then, add the swinging arm by drilling a hole in the center it, and assembling the entire assembly by bolting the swinging arm to the T-shaped piece, then securing everything with a nut.


Then the fun part!

Find a stick with a thickness of about 1cm, it should almost reach the bottom of the trap, with the rest reaching out of the top. Then carefully make a notch the right way (please check the image on top). Drill a hole large enough that a rope will fit through on the end that's sticking out of the trap.

Note: To make the trap sensitive, experiment with the angle of the notch, as it really matters!

Step 3: Finish!

Attach the front door to the swinging arm mechanism, as well as the bait stick.

To set-up the trap, simply put a piece of bread with some peanut butter on the bait stick. You may put a trail of nuts leading to the trap, but not many, as the animals you are catching may get full and not even get in the trap!

Note: To adjust the trap to work for squirrels/rats/rabbits simply adjust the length of the rope that goes form the swinging arm mechanism to the trap door.

The rats I catch tend to make a lot of noise by rattling the bait stick to the sides of the trap, so remove that if you want, and what I normally do, is just stick a pinecone in the remaining hole.

Another technic rats use, is they try to slam as hard as possible on the trap door, trying to break it off.

If you like this project, please vote for me in the Woodworking Contest and feel free to comment any questions!

Update:caught 5 rats and 5 squirrels(all later released)

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017

1 Person Made This Project!


  • For the Home Contest

    For the Home Contest
  • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

    Game Design: Student Design Challenge
  • Make It Bridge

    Make It Bridge


Vsevolod Korolev
Vsevolod Korolev

6 years ago

You are right, the swinging arm mechanism is supposed to be on the end of the T-bar. I just took it down for transport, as we were going to relocate the rat.

Hope that helps!


6 years ago

I don't understand why the swinging arm mechanism is laying on the top of the box in the illustration that accompanies Step 3, Finish. I thought the mechanism was that the bait stick is pulled up out of the box by the weight of the trapdoor once the rat dislodges the notched bait stick allowing the stick to come up, and the trap door to go down. Is that wrong?


6 years ago

This looks like the basic rabbit box (trap) we use to make years ago. But you can up your chances of capture with a couple springs attached to the door that assist in pulling the door close once triggered. The the door closes a lot quicker and with instant force as well. Also if you use a little welded grid 1/4" wire (or 1/2" as well) at the end, then they will enter a lot sooner as well because they think they see an out, and not a setup trap. Just some ideas to think about. Thumbs Up!