In fiction, a common way to trap a small animal is to hoist up a cardboard box with a stick, tie some string to it, and put some food in the middle. The expectation is that the animal will be attracted to the food and go in the middle of the box to eat, only then the person pulls out the string and the box falls, trapping the animal. This sometimes works, but it usually backfires, often accidentally trapping someone else. Compare to Bear Trap and Mouse Trap for other traps frequently found in cartoons. The Hunter Trapper may use the realistic version of this, the deadfall trap, which drops a heavy weight on the animal rather than a box. Truth in Television.
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Anime & Manga
- Haruhi-chan: subverted in episode 8, Ryoko is smart when she sees this particular trap made by Nagato. She goes directly to where "Nagato" is hiding and holding the string. Instead, she finds out that it's not her, and a cage falls on her, trapping her.
- Haruna uses this in episode 4 of Kantai Collection in an attempt to trap Shimakaze with a magazine depicting Kongou on it. Unfortunately they capture Hiei instead, who claims she was drawn towards the trap.
- One Nickelodeon Magazine SpongeBob SquarePants comic had SpongeBob and Patrick try this as one of their attempts at catching the Sea Leprechaun, with a Bland-Name Product version of Lucky Charms as the bait. It fails thrice: first it catches Patrick ("I got hungry."), then Mr. Krabs ("I can't resist a free breakfast"), then Plankton ("If Krabs has it, I want it!"). They then decide they need a new plan.
- This Garfield strip has Jon doing this to Garfield to take him to the vet:
Garfield: Jon thinks he can trap me into going to the vet using a grilled cheese sandwich as bait. What kind of gluttonous idiot does Jon take me for anyway?
(Gilligan Cut to the stick down and Garfield in the box, enjoying his sandwich)
Garfield: What, no pickle?
- U.S. Acres: One arc includes Booker's several attempts to catch worms with that kind of trap. One of the strips features a worm using Booker's trap as a bait to capture Booker and Sheldon with a bigger version of the trap.
- B.C.. In the strip for 2-25-13◊, Thor has set up this kind of trap. When he hears it fall he goes to open it. He finds the Fat Broad inside, holding the piece of cheese he used as bait.
Thor: Diet not going well?
Fat Broad: Be quiet and close the lid.
- Get Fuzzy for June 10th, 2013. Rob and Satchel team up to lure Bucky into a blanket-covered pet carrying cage in order to take him to his annual veterinarian checkup. When Bucky goes inside, Rob pulls a string that swings the cage door shut, trapping him.
Films — Live-Action
- The Siamese villagers in Chang construct a scary-looking deadfall trap that has sharpened sticks pointing down from the heavy top. It is never used, but they do capture and kill a tiger with a snare trap and a leopard with a Pit Trap.
- In Castaway on the Moon, Seong-geun, who is marooned on a deserted island, tries this in an effort to catch pigeons. He screws it up the first time but later successfully traps dinner.
- In the "Canyonlands" episode of Survivorman, Les builds a "figure-four deadfall", in which a flat rock is balanced on an easily-triggered arrangement of sticks. He baits it with a bit of peanut butter and successfully flattens a ground squirrel for dinner.
- Rules of Engagement: Jeff and Audrey use a trap made out of a shoebox to catch a mouse in their apartment. They then release it in the park.
- In New Girl, Schmidt makes a deadfall trap to catch squirrels, but accidentally triggers it showing the others how it works and hurts his back.
- A sketch on WWE Smackdown had Jamie Noble trying to catch wrestling leprechaun Hornswoggle with one of these. Hornswoggle steals the bait while Noble wasn't looking. Surprised, Noble investigates the box, only for Hornswoggle to trap him instead.
- In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, you need to make one of these to catch a rat, using some cheese as a bait.
- A somewhat infamous case in The Dig, due to its frustrating difficulty, requires you to catch a scavenging creature so that you can find its nest, by constructing such a trap out of various bones and machine parts that are lying around.
- Grow Maze features an oddball variant: bringing together the parts for creating a bucket-and-stick trap instead creates a strange furry creature shaped like a bucket, with its single leg forming the "stick."
- Starbound has the Peanut Butter Trap, which is used to summon the fourth boss, a giant jellyfish.
- A vital tool for catching bunnies in Don't Starve. The bait is optional, if you can get them to walk into the trap on their own.
- You can build box traps to catch small game in The Flame In The Flood.
- In Life & Death, Chaos catches Steve with a six pack of beer (laced with enough drugs to put an elephant to sleep) when Steve was wandering the Sands of Time.
- This Men In Hats has Sam attempting to lure Jeriah into his "church", which is nothing more than this. Apparently he got the idea from The Church of Happyology
- In the The Order of the Stick book, Dungeon Crawlin' Fools, the Order sets this sort of trap for a ninja. As none of them can actually see the ninja and an unreliable poison gets thrown into the mix, the party proceeds to make a Schrödinger's Cat joke when the trap goes off.
- In Penny Arcade a box trap is used to dispose of the Fruit Fucker 3000.
- This gif at LOLCats.
- #13 of Cracked's Photoplasty 18 Things You Never Noticed in Famous Pictures (Part 2) takes Kevin Carter's Pulitzer-winning photo of a vulture stalking a crouching Sudanese child and adds a ray of hope by having the child bait a vulture into such a trap. A kid's gotta eat somehow.
- Humorously used in this Twilight Trailer Spoof, where a vampire successfully lures an unsuspecting victim with an ordinary cardboard box and a snickers bar. Even funnier because the box is too small to even cover a quarter of the victim's body. He even struggles a bit before going limp.
- In the Super Mario Logan episode, "Bowser Junior Gets Rabies!", when Chef Pee Pee discovers Junior has rabies, he calls the Brooklyn Guy for a solution on how to cure him. The Brooklyn Guy suggests capturing Junior using one of these traps before he shows up as a doctor. Chef Pee Pee does so, using Junior's golden Thomas the Tank Engine toy as bait. When the Brooklyn Guy shows up later, he asked Chef Pee Pee if he recorded Junior's capture in the trap for him to see, but Chef Pee Pee tells him he didn't.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Best Night Ever", Fluttershy tries to catch a rabbit this way, using (What else?) a carrot as bait. She ends up catching the Grand Galloping Gala janitor. In the commentary, Jayson Thiessen asks if this kind of trap has ever worked in history.
- Family Guy:
- Peter has trapped James Woods in this kind of trap, twice.
Peter: Okay, Brian, next time let's remember this right away, because he's done this twice.
- At the beginning of "No Meals on Wheels", Herbert the pedophile buys supplies to build this kind of trap, including a teddy bear to use as bait.
- Peter has trapped James Woods in this kind of trap, twice.
- Looney Tunes:
- On Bugs Bunny's first regular appearance, "A Wild Hare", Elmer uses such a trap to try and get Bugs, but catches a Smelly Skunk instead.
- Elmer tries it again in "Hare Remover". Bugs finds the trap amusing ("My grandfather told me about these things, but I never thought I'd see one.") and decides to humor Elmer and get trapped, since he went to such trouble to make one.
- Elmer uses the trap a third time in "Pests for Guests", this time on the Goofy Gophers Mac and Tosh. As soon as the trap falls, the sounds of a car driving are heard from inside, followed by a loud car crash. An alarmed Elmer lifts the box to see what happened, accidentally letting the gophers out.
- Wile E. Coyote often tried the deadfall trap on the Roadrunner, and at least once on Bugs. You can probably guess how those turn out.
- In "Rabbit Stew and Rabbits Too!", the Quick Brown Fox attempts it on Rapid Rabbit. But when he lifts the box, there's nothing underneath: Rabbit is inside the box, thanks to Container Cling.
- In the Napoleon Dynamite episode "Pedro vs. Deb" Napoleon catches Deb and Pedro for an intervention by using a "free girl clothes" trap on both of them.
- In The Simpsons, Homer tries to lure Bart with a bottle of Focusin pills. The string tied to his finger went all the way into Moe's Tavern while he waited. In another episode, Lurleen Lumpkin is wanted for tax avoision and several Springfielders want to catch her because they love seeing former celebrities going down. Nelson tries to catch her with that kind of trap using a fake Grammy as bait. Krusty falls for the trap.
- An episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh had Pooh trying to locate Rabbit's lost hammer, by using one of these and setting out a bunch of nails as bait. The trap gets set off and when Pooh goes over to see what he caught, he finds that he caught a saw instead.
- On Its A Sponge Bob Christmas, Patrick makes a box trap for Santa Claus, with a cookie for bait. He gets trapped instead when he forgets what the cookie is for and tries to get it.
- This was used at the beginning of the Mr. Bogus episode "Et Tu, Brattus?", by the tough kid that Bogus had faced off against before, in an attempt to catch Bogus, using a slice of pizza as bait.
- In the U.S. Acres portion of a Garfield and Friends episode, Booker baits one with a peanut to catch, of course, the worm. Sheldon doesn't think that worms like peanuts. Sheldon does catch something, but when he lifts the box to check, it's an elephant.
- In Johnny Bravo, King Raymond successfully caught Johnny by using a pinup calendar of supermodel Vendela Kirsebom as bait.
- In the Sonic Boom episode, "Beyond the Valley of the Cubots", Sonic builds one of these as part of his plan to catch whoever is stealing Tails and Eggman's tools. He uses a screwdriver as bait.
Sonic: What? This is how you catch stuff. Haven't you seen TV?