Havahart Animal Traps & Repellents

Havahart Mouse Trap

Fitting into the Animal Geographies focus on urban wildlife, I just discovered a company called Havahart that sells animal traps and repellents which are virtually harmless to the animals. The traps look great, and I am considering buying one for rats (it’s only $20). Eventually, wildlife (including rodents) is something vegans are going to have to address much more, if we are to reconcile our philosophy with environmental and other issues (what do we do about rats, let alone cougars and deer overpopulation). As I feel this issue is relatively infrequently addressed, I want to give a brief pre-purchase analysis of this interesting company to promote awareness, and also discuss my own experience with rodents and why I am so excited about Havahart traps.

A Brief Analysis

Havahart® is a leading manufacturer of caring control products for wild life.

Havahart sells harmless traps ranging from extra small for mice and rats to extra large for raccoons, and each trap is specially designed for each species. They are also pretty affordable. This sounds great, and if anyone has experience with these, please post your thoughts about it.

The repellents, on the other hand, are questionable. They are organic and environmentally friendly, which is promising. They also work as irritants or taste/odor repellents, yet not as poison. However, the Critter Ridder uses piperin, which may be used as an insecticide, and the other repellents that I found on their website use egg whites for the odor. Thus, they are not vegan. Again, if anyone knows more about this, please share your thoughts.

They do have one very cool repellent, but it’s on the expensive side. For $80, you can get a motion device that simply sprays water at approaching animals. And the Get Away for dogs and cats uses Methyl Nonyl Ketone, which seems  to be non-lethal insect and animal repellent.

Rat Experience

Now here’s my story. When I started talking to one of my housemates today about the rat I encountered in our bathroom last night, which subsequently vanished and may still be in the house, she said, “I have no idea what to do, I’m sorry… use rat poison, I guess.” That suggestion had an eerily familiar ring to it, and one I had been specifically hoping not to hear.

Last year when my vegetarian, “animal-loving” roommate found a rat on the porch, she went on about how they’ll eat holes in your walls and destroy various household objects. At one point, I walked into the dining room to hear everyone (including my roommate) agreeing nonchalantly on the effectiveness of first, lethal traps, and then rat poison. I told them incredulously, “You can’t kill the rat.” This was my self-proclaimed, animal-loving roommate talking carelessly about killing a rat!

And speaking of carelessly, that’s exactly what these lethal traps and poison are. Who would even question how these methods make a rodent feel? The Havahart rodent traps are more sophisticated than lethal ones because they don’t just aim at the lowest common denominator of trapping efficiency – snap conveniently at a limb and be done! (Snared animals are known to chew off their own limbs due to the intense pain.)

I live in a house with other students who are always cool and quite politically open-minded, if not radical, so it shows the sad state of affairs that they can only think poison and lethal traps when they hear “rat.” Most people in Western societies would probably not think poison or injurious traps when it comes to wild dogs and cats, but instead would think exactly of a harmless trap, if a trap at all. I can only speak for myself, but when I heard “trap, neuter and return” in the past, I never thought of cages for some reason, much less traps that snap through the animals’ skin and bones. Dogs and cats may be easy to catch, but wild ones may well carry diseases just as wild rats.

After last year’s incident, I learned that it is possible to create a makeshift rat trap using cardboard and a trashcan, but if I’m going to do this I’d rather leave behind a sturdy trap for those who move in after me to use and make them forget about poison when I’m not around. I was really excited to find out about Havahart because there don’t seem to be a lot of companies manufacturing no-kill traps; or, in any case, I was having trouble finding a variety of ideas. Plus, I have to admit, the Havahart looks cool and shiny, and it might help to have a large, shiny object to show off to my poison-loving housemates. 😉

How else can we change this sociocultural environment wherein “rat poison” is a household term that rolls off people’s tongues faster than any other thought – almost as fast as those critters scurry out of sight? I know that sometimes a rat in the house can be a pressing issue, as between my housemates wanting the rat out immediately and the trap being a few hours’ research and an online order away; I hope this post is a step in alleviating some of that pressure. Now, if we apply some pressure back at the rest of society, they might see how easy it is, after all, to have a heart.


~ by Louëlla on July 10, 2010.

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