Its a cliché of course that Inventors find themselves, when not in search of perpetual motion or antigravity, looking to build a better mousetrap. On this general theme, Rattus Norvegicus makes the mistake of attempting to dine at the expense of Homo Sapiens -to literally eat our lunch. The United States has an estimated 1.25 billion rats, causing at least US$19 billion dollars worth of damage each year (there are ten rats born for every Human).
There is therefore a need to 1) attract, 2) ‘neutralise’ the rat, 3) clear the trap and 4) reset the process. We’d want to ensure, for reasons of both ethics and effectiveness, that every animal was swiftly killed and not just disabled. Similarly, we need to avoid having animals crawl off and die elsewhere, causing a serious bad smell.
Today’s invention is to place some bait at the top of a hollow pole. Air currents waft the delicious aroma to ground level. The rat climbs up the inside of the pole (which has a textured interior), eventually reaching the baited platform at the top, which is held in place by a magnetic catch. Once the rat’s weight overcomes this support force, the platform suddenly flips through 180degrees, dumping the rat onto a hard, sloped surface on the ground which also deflects the bodies into a waiting hopper. To ensure fatality, this would need a 10m tall pole (based on a simple energy-to-kill criterion), but it could be disguised as a flagpole and located in a fenced-off corner of any infested premises.
(A version of this idea first appeared here.)