It has been a strange summer. The threatened drought did not happen and instead regular rainfall made the garden and the forest grow and be fruitful. Trees have been laden, which is great for home gardeners and the native birds and insects, but also great for their predators, the rats, stoats and ferrets. Reports of stoats seen running across the road – and sometimes squashed on the road – indicate that their numbers are rising and this will be bad for the birds, particularly those like our newly-released weka which live and nest on the ground.
While stoats target rats and mice (and weka) on the ground, they will also scamper along branches and raid bird nests, eating eggs and fledglings. They particularly love eggs, which they will collect and stash away for winter. This love of eggs can be turned against them as eggs make excellent bait in the traps we use to control stoats and ferrets.
Should you wish to help control these pests on your property, a humane kill trap called DOC 200 is available. It will kill stoats, rats and hedgehogs. The details are on line and traps can be purchased complete with their box, or as just the mechanism for handymen to make their own boxes.