Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mobile Animal Trap

We humans develop colonies of animals at the periphery of our civilization. Mice and Rats seek out our food stores for a free meal. Predators of mice and rats do the same for the same reason: easy food. Next thing you know, you have a very large, complex, and frankly annoying food web of animals that you constantly trip over. Also, the mice and rats have "fun" diseases that infect us. For our health, we have to nip this in the bud.
The best solution would be to quickly kill off the mice and rats, but we're squeamish. So most pest-control works by trapping. The animal is lured into one of many cages, which must be periodically checked for the presence of an animal. And when one is found, it should be removed from the cage, followed by removing it from the area. (Some animals, like skunks, are more useful elsewhere. Others, like the mice or rats, probably need to be killed off.)
I saw an episode of "Dirty Jobs," Mike Rowe's little show where he does many of the strange professions that people do for a day, and in this episode, he was a trapper, joining a professional trapper in checking all the cages. Some were empty, some had badgers, racoons, and skunks in them. The cages all had to be emptied by hand. As I was watching this, it struck me that this is fairly inefficient of the trapper's time. Therefore, it should be automated.
I have an idea of putting the cage on wheels. The cage has a small weight-trigger, and when the animal is inside it and inadvertently activates the trigger, the cage puts down the wheels and rolls itself over to a larger centralized holding area, which it would find by GPS signal. Once there, it would deposit the animal, run through a cleaning area to wash off anything the animal left behind, obtain a fresh bait, and roll over to its original location. Then the wheels would be taken back up, and the trap would be fully reset, ready for trapping a new animal.
The trapper's job would now consist of handling the animals in centralized holding, and deploying new traps. Much simpler. The decrease in workload should be offset by trapping way more areas, as the more pest control can be handled, the better.

2 comments:

TwoYaks said...

The biggest problem is that you would need good cell-signal, which isn't great in most places where you're trapping for pest animals. But I suppose with some cleverness, that could be worked out...

Of course, I think the self-guided vehicle bit is far fetched, with the troubles we have with developing true AVGs right now. But even a trap that doesn't need checked would be a step up.

themadengineer said...

Radio signals are pretty reliable worldwide. Doesn't need to be voice quality, although the civilian model is +/- 30 meters, and I doubt the US military will let me use their more accurate version.
I actually got an email suggesting that the cages be on little rails, like tiny trains, which I imagine would lead to clogging/congestion problems....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...