History of Mole Traps

The Mole has lived in our soil for thousands of years, becoming a pest when mankind began farming. We know that the Romans also battled against the humble mole using earthenware pots. The pots worked on a drop fall principle. The pots were placed under the tunnel and the mole would simply fall into the pot becoming trapped. The pots has a hole in the side about half way up and were filled with water to this point. The unfortunate mole who can swim would have been desperate to survive, swimming around in the pot until exhaustion took over and the mole would eventually drown.

The mole trap underwent numerous improvements over the centuries that followed. A clay pipe of two halves was used, this had strategically placed holes which allowed the mole catcher to place two snares made from horse hair, these were pinned in place while being connected to a bender stick. When the mole pushed the mumble pin releasing the horse hair which was immediately pulled tight by the bender stick trapping the mole. Mole catchers also made the same trap using wood instead of clay.

Mole trappers were able to earn a lucrative income from their secretive trade, as farmers and land owners who had experience of the damage caused by the common mole called on the local mole trapper. Mole catcher secrets were closely guarded to maintain their income. Records indicate that most parishes and land owners payed a healthy sum to retain the services of a local mole catcher. Queen Elizabeth the 1st passed the Vermin Act of 1566 requiring Church Wardens to issue a sum of money to anybody who produced evidence of destroyed pests. Moles were on the list.

As industrialization swept the country mole traps were being developed in metal  as were many other animal traps. Mole traps included the scissor trap, the tunnel trap and the guillotine trap. The scissor trap and the tunnel trap are in common use today, and mole trapping is carried out by professional mole catchers.

Modern Mole Traps

There are many variations of the simple mole trap. The scissor trap is probably the most commonly used of all the  modern mole traps, it is relatively easy to set and use by a novice trapper. There are several versions of the scissor trap including the Fen Trap.

The Duffus (tunnel) mole trap is shaped like a half barrel and has the advantage of being able to catch two moles when set correctly. It can be used in surface tunnels and is just as easy to set in deeper tunnels.

The Talpex trap is another scissor trap which is set in a mole tunnel, the operation is slightly different from other scissor traps as it requires the mole to move some soil strategically placed below the trigger. When the Mole clears the obstruction the mechanism is released and the mole caught.

The Putange Mole Trap is a variation in design that has been developed in France. The same principle requiring the mole to clear the obstruction which triggers the mechanism applies. The mole trap is inserted into the tunnel to be effective. The Putange mole trap is sold with a separate tool for setting them. 

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