Saturday, May 10, 2008

snap type mouse and cage rat traps

this big cage trap found outside the sungei buloh wetland reserve reminded me of those kampong days when we used mouse and rat traps of get rid of these house pests. the mice were usually found within the house but the rats were usually outside, around the house.

i do not know if the spca was already in existence in singapore then but we certainly never heard of it in the 60s. thankfully, they also did not have any knowledge of our mistreatment of small animals like mice and rats. anyway, the society was, and still is, more interested in looking after pet animals, especially dogs, cats and rabbits.

when you had too many of these small animals around and they became a nuisance, you had no choice but to rid of them. so, there was no question of being kind to mice and rats. the extermination of these pests took many forms, most of which were quite cruel.

although both the mouse and rat belong to the same rodent family, they are quite different. a rat is not a big mouse; a mouse does not grow into a rat. the size difference is a major factor. a rat is more aggressive than a mouse. rats are much smarter than mice. a mouse will venture much further from its nest to find food or water.

a mouse is much smaller than a rat. in those days, we used different traps for mice and rats. to catch the smaller mice, we used the snap-type wooden mouse trap. in the case of catching rats, we used a large rat cage trap.

we are not ang mohs, so we did not use cheese to lure the mouse. instead, we used juihee (dried cuttle fish) or a small piece of cooked meat as bait. it was a rather inhumane way of trapping the mouse because when the 'jaws' snapped onto the mouse, it would usually die an instant death.

but, come to think of it, the mouse suffered a lot less than the rat, which would be alive when caught in the cage trap. compared to the way the rat met its death, the way the mouse went could be considered humane actually.

the trapped rat would be subjected to water torture to make sure it would no longer be a nuisance. the whole cage would be submerged in water, either in the drain or in some water container. another way was to give it the scalding water treatment. boiling hot water would be poured over the (poor) animal.

another cruel thing that people did in those days was the practice of eating live baby mice. eating the newly born mice, with the eyes still closed and without any fur on its body, was considered good for the constitution.

i have not seen anyone actually eating it but i heard they either wrapped the baby mouse in some preserved vegetable and then ate it or they swallowed it while having some wine or brandy to go with it.

(i think the cage in this picture is used to catch the straying monitor lizards)


Feng Run said...

I actually heard from a uncle about drowning a rat after trapping it in a cage. Looks like it was common then but I thought it was rather cruel

Victor said...

I heard of an even more torturous and inhumane way to kill the rat then, i.e. douse it with kerosene/petrol, set it on fire and then setting it free to run for its life, probably for the very last time. This method was surely not practised in a kampung as it might just burn the whole village down.

peter said...

yg, what is your email? i like the photo of the jewish cemetry at Thomson Road - can share or not?

yg said...

feng run, what your uncle told you is true; i had seen it with my own eyes.

victor, i believe people then were capable of doing such a thing and getting away with it.

peter, my email address is:

Lam Chun See said...

I remember we used a piece of 'jiu he' (squid) as bait. Can remember how we disposed of the rat; which is a good thing actually. But, I think just the presence of a cat in the house tended to reduce the appearance of the rats.