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Scientists at the University of Aston have devised a new type of rat trap which could, in the future, transform the way in which rat control is undertaken by gamekeepers.

The new trap addresses the increasing problem of rats becoming resistant to traditional poisons. The device uses a tunnel trap fitted with a laser-activated trigger, which — when broken by a passing rat — causes a pre-determined dose of poison to be sprayed on to the creature. This lethal spray is absorbed through the skin and means a more measured amount of poison can be used rather than an operator being reliant upon poisoned baits.

Aston University’s Andrew Ingham told the BBC that the reduction of poisoned baits in the environment was one of the key drivers behind the development: “We’re putting more poison out to kill the rats that are freely roaming in these areas. You often don’t notice that there’s a massive amount of poison hidden in a little black box at the side of the road.”