|Wa oo or bamboo root|
The best bait to catch a bamboo rat is onion, garlic, or other aromatic roots from the forest.
The bait is tied or pierced by bamboo cord that has been worked over an edge and twisted to make it pliable.
|A clove of garlic is an irresistable bait.|
The wire or string noose is smoothed against the inner circumference of the tube.
The bait cord is fastened with a knot through a hole under the bamboo tube, and the other end is tied around the splint that is attached to the rubber band on top.
|The peg anchors the noose, the bait cord and one end of the rubber band.|
The rubber band is lashed to a post -- a foot-long splint of bamboo tightly fitted into slots at the back of the tube.
|The post is tapped into a narrow slot.|
After setting the trap the trapper carries it to a crop field, enlarges an active burrow and inserts it.
Then he covers it with dirt.
The bamboo rat always cuts the bait cord which releases tension on the rubber bands and snaps the noose tight around its neck.
Before the days of rubber bands, a flexible bamboo post was whittled down to serve as a spring pole.
A final observation: bamboo rats are valued as a cure for rheumatism, and in Myanmar the belief is widespread.
Of course the tuberous foods of the rats could contain anti-inflammatory compounds, but this is purely conjecture.
What is known however is that bamboo rats (both Cannomys and Rhizomys) are natural hosts of Penicillium marneffei, which causes a debilitating fungal infection.
Nine to 95% of bamboo rats trapped by epidemiologists in China, Thailand, and India tested positive, and soil samples from their burrows sometimes test positive, too.
Five others species of rats however tested negative.
Penicilliosis causes fever, and is a secondary infection associated with HIV infections and other symptoms, but the natural reservoir is not well understood.
A case study from northern Thailand showed that bamboo rats were not reservoirs for human infection, but that people who worked with plants and animals had a higher risk of infection.
Penicilliosis is treatable with drugs, and the bamboo rat eaters I met look pretty healthy.
Gugnani, H. et al. 2004. Role of Cannomys badius as a natural animal host of Penicillium marneffei in India. J. of Clinical Microbiology 42(11):5070-5075