Best animal traps

Whether you live in the city, the suburbs or a rural area, wildlife can encroach on your land. Unfortunately, many of these animals — including raccoons, feral cats and opossums — can quickly become pests by getting into garbage cans or destroying the yard. If you want to get rid of these unwanted visitors, you need an animal trap. The great thing about many of these traps is that they’re easy to use, safe for humans and humane for the animals.

Primary use

Animal traps do the following things:

  • Capture wildlife for future relocation
  • Keep down pests such as rats and mice
  • Catch animals for hunting purposes

Whatever your reason for using one, many of these traps provide an effective way to capture live animals without hurting them.

Shape and design

Most animal traps are rectangular or square. They come in three main sizing categories:

  • Small: These are designed for critters such as chipmunks, squirrels, rats and mice. Most are around 16 inches in length and width and 5 inches in height.
  • Medium: These traps are made for catching bigger animals. This includes beavers, raccoons, wild dogs and foxes. They’re usually around 32 inches in length and width and 10 inches in height.
  • Large: The least common option, these can exceed 72 inches or more in length. Rectangular ones are usually narrower by about half the length. They’re made for large wildlife, including mountain lions or large breeds of dogs.

The best size for you depends on the type of animal you want to catch. If the trap is too small, the animal might not go inside. If it’s too big, it could easily escape before you can capture it.

Doors and trapping mechanism

All animal traps have two core parts: the doors and the trapping mechanism.

Doors

There are three main door types in traps made for animals:

  • One-door: This common type of trap forces the animal to fully enter, cornering it at one end. Since there’s only one way in or out, getting the animal out can be tricky.
  • Two-door: This design lets the animal enter from either the front or the back. Once it’s inside, the trap is triggered and both doors close.
  • Spring-loaded: Similar to the one-door design, this one uses springs to quickly secure any animal that triggers the trap.

Trapping mechanism

Most traps use a trigger plate that causes the trap to close once the animal steps on it. When using bait, you usually need to place it just behind the trap plate so the animal will be more likely to trigger the mechanism.

Some traps come with a time-release function. This gives you a chance to distance yourself from the trap before it automatically opens. Once triggered, the trap snaps shut around the animal.

Whatever type you choose, make sure it works quickly and efficiently. If it doesn’t, the animal could get the bait and scurry out before the door or doors close around it.

Always test the trap before setting it to capture any animals. That way, you can make sure it works as intended and make adjustments if needed.

Material

Most animal traps are made out of metal, such as steel. They also often have a sturdy wire mesh that lets air flow throughout the container. This gives whatever you catch the ability to breathe until you can come and take care of it.

The downside is that metal can rust when exposed to moisture for long periods. Some traps are constructed with iron or galvanized metal, which reduces corrosion.

Safety features

Many animal traps come with metal plates that provide additional layers of protection for your hands and arms to keep them from being clawed or bitten. They also usually have handles that give you extra protection while making moving the animal easier. The metal plates often go around these handles.

Certain traps have solid plated doors. These can keep you safe while handling the device while preventing the animal from escaping. Even with these additional features, it’s wise to invest in some protective or work gloves when dealing with wild animals.

8 best animal traps

Havahart 1079SR Large 1-Door Humane Catch And Release Live Animal Trap

Havahart 1079SR Large 1-Door Humane Catch And Release Live Animal Trap

This alloy steel trap is ideal for those looking to capture medium and large animals, such as groundhogs, beavers and dogs. It has smooth edges that prevent the animal from getting injured. It also has a protective plate near the handle for your hands and fingers. It features a one-door design and is 32 inches long by 10 inches wide.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Havahart 1025 Small 2-Door Humane Catch And Release Live Animal Trap

Havahart 1025 Small 2-Door Humane Catch And Release Live Animal Trap

If you want to capture smaller animals such as squirrels or weasels, this alloy steel trap is a reliable choice. It has a two-door design. It’s 17 inches long by 5 inches wide. It’s also sturdy and resistant to the elements. The latch is highly sensitive and can trigger with slight movements.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Kensizer Humane Rat Trap

Kensizer Humane Rat Trap

This trap consists primarily of aluminum. It comes in small and medium sizes, as well as in sets of two. It’s ideal for capturing rodents such as mice or voles. Plus, it’s lightweight, uses a sensitive pedal trigger mechanism and comes with one door for easy trapping.

Sold by Amazon

Homgarden Live Animal Cage Trap

Homgarden Live Animal Cage Trap

Made for capturing groundhogs, opossums and gophers, this steel trap is 32 inches long and extremely sturdy. It has small mesh holes that let in air but keep animals from biting or scratching you. It also has a spring-loaded solid door that can quickly secure any animal that triggers it.

Sold by Amazon

Havahart Small One-Door Easy Set Live Animal Cage Trap

Havahart Small One-Door Easy Set Live Animal Cage Trap

This animal trap uses one door to catch live animals for later release. It’s perfect for dealing with smaller critters, such as rabbits and squirrels. The mesh is rust-resistant and smooth to protect you and the animal. It’s a little over 17 inches long and 7 inches wide. It’s also quite tall and lightweight.

Sold by Home Depot

Ant March Live Animal Cage Trap

Ant March Live Animal Cage Trap

This trap is designed to humanely capture any animal, including squirrels, rabbits, opossums and dogs. It consists of alloy steel and has one door. It also comes with protective gloves for your hands.

Sold by Amazon

Kat Sense Humane Traps

Kat Sense Humane Traps

Meant to capture mice, rats and similarly-sized animals, this small trap is highly effective and easy to use. It comes in small and large sizes and sets of two or four. It’s a great short-term solution to more minor pest problems.

Sold by Amazon

Havahart 0745 One-Door Animal Trap

Havahart 0745 One-Door Animal Trap

This durable animal trap has many plates that prevent the user from getting scratched or bitten. It comes with either one or two doors, depending on preference. It’s 16 inches long and consists of rust-resistant metal mesh. The trigger is sensitive.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

 

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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