Indigenous Rat Traps

Indigenous pied pipers amid lush green paddy fields to set up traps to catch rats at Swarna village in Prakasam district.

While the rice producing nations across the globe are spending millions of rupees on controlling the rat menace in paddy fields, Jangalus, a nomadic tribe from Nalgonda district (Telangana), use traditional traps made up of palm tree leaves to catch the rodents. They offer their services to farmers and earn their livelihood.A 3-member Jangalu team, who was on their way on two bicycles in search of livelihood, was spotted on the Nagarjunasagar-Nalgonda road near Haliya.Ramaesh Jangalu, a member of the team, said that he, along with his elder brother Mallaiah and 12-year-old nephew left home some 15 days ago to earn some money by offering their services to farmers. The Jangalus, residents of a hamlet near Nereducherla mandal head quarters, travel during the cropping season and visit hundreds of villages. They carry about 200 rat traps made up of palm leaves along with them.Palm leaves are safe because rats cant cut through them, he said. We place about 100 traps in each acre of land for which we get Rs. 250 per night and the farmers feed the team for the day. We carry spare clothes and take bath in the fields itself, he said.Despite the availability of modern techniques to control rodents, the Jangalus are still popular among the paddy farmers, says Assistant Joint Director Agriculture M.D. Jameel Shamed Siddique

In East Godavari, they weave a small basket using palmyra leaves. Two bamboo strips and rubber clips are fixed to the basket. Paddy is put inside the basket. Once the rodent enters the trap it will get stuck in a rubber loop and get killed. The traps are fixed usually in the afternoon and are removed next day morning. Rodent catchers Palivela Sattiraju and Chittibabu said that their business has been booming this year. According to Agriculture department officials, the rodenticide has been supplied to the farmers twice so far. In fact, 2,529 kg of rodenticide has been supplied for use in 2.52 lakh hectares.