for expert advice
Stoats along with ferrets have been named 'number 1 public enemy' of our native birds.
Originally introduced to New Zealand as a means to try and control a growing rabbit population, mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) have boomed in population themselves and are a serious threat to our native wildlife.
One of the best means to stoats and ferrets is by trapping. Trapping in your own backyard or with volunteer groups, plays a huge part in reducing the numbers of these predators, helping to protect our native bird life.
There are 2 ways of trapping stoats and ferrets, one is with live capture, cage traps the other is with kill traps. Both methods have their own uses and advantages.
Live capture cage traps are commonly used for trapping stoats and ferrets in residential areas, or where there may be pets or non-target animals or birds.
Live capture cage traps are easy to set and use. Simply place a suitable bait to lure the animals into the trap and set the trip mechanism to set the door or doors of the trap.
Stoats and ferrets like to travel through tunnels, so making a cage trap appear like a tunnel by covering the top with an old sack or blanket, can increase trapping rates. The Pestgard tunnel trap is one of our most successful live capture traps for stoats and ferrets.
In areas where kill traps can be used, these can be the most effective way of removing large numbers of stoats and ferrets.
As these traps are lethal, care needs to be taken so that non-target animals and birds are not caught. Kill traps for stoats and ferrets are normally set in a protective tunnel to ensure only the target species can enter.
In some areas there are regulations or restrictions on the use of these traps. If you are uncertain, please check with your local DOC or regional council.
Traps used in NZ include the DOC type traps and Fenn type kill traps. Fenn traps were designed in England in the 1950s and are still an effective, low cost method of trapping stoats and ferrets.
We recommend the MK4 kill trap for stoats and the MK6 kill trap for ferrets.
Both stoats and ferrets use common paths or runs that they follow. Locating and placing traps in these runs, helps increase trapping success. Look for signs of these animals including: footprints, droppings or signs of fresh kills.
Rabbit meat is the preferred food of these predators. If you have access to either fresh or frozen rabbit meat, this is an ideal bait to use when trapping. Otherwise whole eggs, chicken meat or some cat foods, will also lure in stoats and ferrets. The smell of a rat or stoat caught in a trap, will also help lure in stoats. Kill traps are often used in pairs, with bait in between. This allows capture from either side of the tunnel and an animal caught in one side, will also help lure another into the other trap.