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Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Animal Trapping (page 2 of 2)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Gophers and Moles

Lethal traps are more commonly used on gophers and moles than live traps. Trap in spring and fall when these critters are most active. No bait is needed; just place the trap in a main tunnel and disguise it well. Wear gloves so you don't contaminate the trap with your scent, and cover the tunnel with soil. Move traps within 2 to 3 days if you haven't caught anything.

Raccoons and Opossums

Bait with sardines, marshmallows, cat food, or corn. Place the bait in the back of the trap so it closes properly. This will prevent these chubby varmints from backing out of the trap after eating. Place the trap near a food source, (e.g. your ripening corn patch) and keep it strongly anchored. Use caution when you release the animal.


Skunks are attracted by fishy smells, so bait their traps with sardines, fish scraps, or seafood-flavored cat food. Cover the trap with a tarp, since skunks like to explore dark areas. If you're using a live trap, the cover will also protect you if they loose their spray. If you're unfortunate enough to get sprayed, wash yourself and clothes with tomato juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or deodorizer made from orange-peel extract to remove the odor.


Beans, lettuce, carrots, and apples are some favorite woodchuck foods. Place the trap near their burrow entrance when you first sight them. Trap only in summer. Spring trapping may orphan a burrow fully of young, and in the fall as they are readying to hibernate.

Photograph by Jenna Antonino DiMare, National Gardening Association
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