Tuesday, March 20, 2007
A Dedicated Rat Smoker -- Available Off-the-Shelf
The only way to go ratting in daylight hours is with a smoker. The traditional rat smoker is made from a chainsaw (bar and chain off) or string trimmer whose exhaust manifold has had a flange fitted over it. A length of metal pipe is then affixed to the flange, and a length of car radiator hose is affixed to the pipe. By adding a little extra oil to the gasoline mix, a generous amount of smoke can be generated, with the smoke (and to some extent the vibration and noise of the engine) transmitted down the rat hole. Position terriers, turn on smoker, put smoker pipe down hole, see rats run out to the dogs.
I have always thought a bee smoker might work as a quiet, light-weight, and low-cost rat smoker, but now a dedicated rat smoker has been created.
From the video to be seen on the manufacturer's web site ( http://www.shootright.co.uk/ ) it appears the new rig generates quite a lot of smoke. The mechanism appear to be a simple propane torch affixed to a spray bottle filled with mineral oil. The spray bottle shoots mineral oil down a bit of twisted conductive pipe, which is then heated by the propane torch. The resulting smoke is then expelled by the force of the heated air pressure. A hard screen surrounding the conductive pipe provides some measure of safety and prevents the conductive pipe frorm getting accidently being bent.
This new rig is priced at 80 U.K. Pounds (or about $160 U.S.) which does not make it cheaper than a used (or new) chainsaw. That said, I always applaud innovation, though in this case I expect someone will soon put out instructions on how folks can make their own rat smoker for less.
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POSTSCRIPT: After posting this, I drilled around on the web and found what I suspected: this is not a new invention, but a new use for an off-the-shelf implement called a HUDSON PROPANE INSECT FOGGER. The good news is that you can have one for about 23 Pounds UK rather than 80 Pounds UK (that would be $55 American rather than $160 American) at Northern Tools. Conversely, you could also get a "Burgess Propane Insect Fogger" from Ace Hardware for about $60. In both cases, instead of insecticide being loaded into the receptacle at the bottom, you simply fill it with garden-variety mineral oil.
Of course, if you are looking for the best deal, that's on EBay where both new (in the box) and used propane foggers range from $25 (including shipping) to about $50 (including shipping).