Filcris edged mink raft with 215mm high tunnel walls and no hole for a clay pad – marketed as ‘Fenland Edged’.
Cost – £100+VAT or £90+VAT for orders of 30+
Notes: This raft does not shed polystyrene balls and should have an almost unlimited working life. Doing away with the hole in the floor eliminates any risk that mink may not like to walk on wire mesh and increases the retention of scent from previous mink.
Perdix mink trap. Comes with green powder coating as standard.
Cost – £30+VAT or £25 + VAT for bulk orders
Notes. Perdix cage traps are sturdy and well made; more so than other, less expensive makes. They are fitted with wire mesh doors, which allow the quick and easy attachment of the cable from the alarm unit magnet. As with other cage traps, each unit must be checked and adjusted before being deployed. See instructions below.
Trap monitoring unit
Cost £95+VAT for unit and two years of operation. The cost thereafter is about £27+VAT per year. Additionally, there is a small charge for each text message (<5p).
Notes. The only viable alternative to Remoti at present is Mink Police, although Perdix has long been intending to market a more sophisticated (and expensive) trap alarm. Mink Police are currently being marketed commercially in the UK at £170+VAT (e.g. Fourteenacre Ltd), so are almost double the price of Remoti, though the price will be lower for bulk orders.
Remotis are very reliable, and the manufacturer (Ben Morley) will readily replace any that fail. Their main disadvantage compared to Mink Police is that they have no antenna cable extension option, but in most cases, these would not be helpful, anyway.
Monitoring unit setup
Remoti mounted on top of the cage trap with cable ties. Sticky-backed foam strips support the magnet in place on the Remoti housing and allow the magnet to be reset in the correct position every time. The magnet cannot slip downwards and set off the alarm when the raft is agitated by wind or boat wash. Having the Remoti on top of the trap, under the tunnel roof, prevents animal interference with the magnet or the cable attached to it. Another significant advantage of this configuration is that the cable twixt magnet and trap door is short and does not need to negotiate any bends when being pulled by the door. If anything, on average the signal strength of the Remoti is higher when the unit is placed horizontally.
The magnet is the standard one supplied by Remoti, to which a key-ring style spiral clip is attached. It is connected to the trap door by a short piece of braided nylon cable (2mm black cable costs £6.45 for 50m on eBay). The cable is secured in place at each end by a mini carabiner clip (16p each on eBay, in packs of 10). The carabiners allow a cable to be replaced in 20 seconds and can be re-used many times.
The cable that connects the trap door to the magnet may be chewed by a captured animal, whether it’s a mink, rat or water vole. Given that failure of the cable could be disastrous (in that the trap door could close but the alarm not be triggered) we have opted for a cable that is cheap and easy to replace if damage is even suspected. In reality, the cable requires replacement only in 10-20% of trap alarms. Tying a chewed cable back together is inadvisable because the knot may get caught on the trap mesh.
For any raft on a river or other public place, it’s helpful to place on it a plaque or label that will allow it to be returned if it gets washed away, and for people to see that the equipment is owned by an identifiable person or group. The plaques are made of stainless steel and are screwed to the roof of the tunnel (using stainless steel screws).