Critter in wall.
November 17, 2009 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Critter living in wall? How to trap? How to re-home?

We have a critter living in the wall. It sounds larger than a rat, so I am thinking it might be a possum, maybe something else. I have a have-a-heart trap that I intend to put out with food, check every few hours, and take the animal to the river/open area a few miles from home. My questions:

-What food to put into the trap?

-I am hoping it is the wrong season for this, but what if there are babies involved? How do we get/care for them? I do not want the death of little ones on my hands. (this is kind of my main concern)

-Anything I am overlooking to best care for myself and the animal?

-Besides a possum, giant rat, cat, raccoon, or squirrel, is there anything else it might be, that I am not thinking of? (I live just outside downtown L.A.

Thanks so very much!

P.s. The wall is not accessible unless we remove the siding, which I would rather not do, unless very necessary (or calling an exterminator, except as an extreme last resort. We are not there yet)
posted by Vaike to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
Bait: A small can of cat food with a few holes punched in the top.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:32 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I also live near downtown LA. It could be a skunk, in which case you should take the necessary precautions to avoid getting sprayed.
posted by hamsterdam at 3:35 PM on November 17, 2009

Peanut butter is also a good bait. . .
posted by Danf at 3:51 PM on November 17, 2009

Squirrels sound louder than they might seem to in walls.

(Also, opossums are huge. Is your trap big enough?)

Hypothetical advice- rodents are sneaky little buggers. Peanuts and peanut butter are good baits, but they will be awfully careful about going into cage-like things. You might need to set it out for a week or so without arming it so they can trust it.

Also, I don't think it is rodent breeding season, but that may be different down where its warm. When there is appreciable winter, they breed such that the young are strong enough that they can survive winter.

(This Guy I Know accidentally bred an entire generation of squirrels that knew how to get the bait out of a hav-a-heart cage without getting stuck. They figured out how to keep their feet and or tail outside the door flapper and if it triggered, they could just back out. Those, he told me, were hard ones to eventually catch.)
posted by gjc at 5:25 PM on November 17, 2009

I can't vouch for the cat food idea, but I like it.

I've always used a bit of carrot with a bit of peanut butter. Maybe that's overdoing it.
posted by shetterly at 5:37 PM on November 17, 2009

-Besides a possum, giant rat, cat, raccoon, or squirrel, is there anything else it might be, that I am not thinking of? (I live just outside downtown L.A.

Lizard? Snake? A whole bunch of scorpions?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:06 PM on November 17, 2009

Since my joke was deleted, I clearly failed to communicate something: I don't think Sys Rq's suggestions are at all likely.
posted by shetterly at 10:12 AM on November 18, 2009

And I mention this because I could imagine someone who's afraid of scorpions thinking they should do something drastic for fear that the sound is coming from something scary. Odds are that it's a small mammal. Start with the live trap. If that doesn't work, then consider spending money on a professional.
posted by shetterly at 10:15 AM on November 18, 2009

Thanks everyone. I am going to borrow a bigger trap, as a possum would just fit in, but I would rather it have more room, so I can be sure it could turn around and get out okay. And I am going to go with the cat food or tuna. Holes poked in the can is a brilliant idea. Also, from my reading, I am going to wait a bit and see if it just 'moves on', which would be very nice, indeed.

shetterly, missed your joke, hope it was a good one...
posted by Vaike at 3:40 PM on November 19, 2009

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