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Box-and-Stick Trap

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The Canadian version.note 

Tails: That's your plan?
Sonic: What? This is how you catch stuff. Haven't you ever watched TV before?
Sonic Boom, "Valley of the Cubots"

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.


    open/close all folders 

  • A Taco Bell commercial had the chihuahua attempt to capture GODZILLA this way, as part of a marketing tie-in for the 1998 American film.
    "Uh oh. I think I need a bigger box."

    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.
  • Exploited in Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure: In Episode 4, Kabaton sets one for himself, then turns into his piglet form to try and bait the Cures into picking him up. Mashiro sees right through it, but Sora falls for it hook, line, and sinker.
  • I Love Yuri and I got Bodyswapped with a Fujoshi!: In chapter 6, Yoshida finds one set for him by Kashiwa. He lampshades how cartoonish it is, but still falls for it when he sees it's baited with a Lily & Rose DVD.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: JoJolion, Norisuke and Tsurugi try to catch a dog with this upon spotting it around their home. It never even comes close, though they later adopted it and gave the name Iwasuke.
  • In the eighth episode of Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama, the Cocotamas create a box-and-stick trap using an empty cake box to try and capture whoever is responsible for eating all the Yotsuba family's food. The trap manages to capture its intended target before they can provide any bait, as the culprit (a gluttonous Cocotama named Mogutan) ends up trapped by attempting to lick the frosting on the inside of the box.
  • Haruna uses this in episode 4 of KanColle 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.
  • In episode 4 of Kill la Kill, Mako follows a trail of cheese to a very obviously-placed box trap. When Ryuko reaches out to stop her, she knocks the stick out of the way and it falls on her instead, giving her a Pie in the Face.
  • Nichijou: In one short, the Professor sets one of these up for Sakamoto using a fish as bait. Sakamoto is willing to go through with it if it means he gets to eat fish... right up until the Professor yanks the stick the wrong way, nailing Sakamoto in the gut.
  • The Demon King uses one to recapture the Princess after she escapes his castle to go shopping in one chapter Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle. There's a futon in the trap, which snaps shut when she fluffs the pillow.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.
  • The Far Side:
    • Two cavemen using this to trap an approaching sabertooth cat... while they're inside the box.
    • An elderly woman berates her husband for using her freshly-bake cake as bait in this arrangement.. in an attempt to trap neighborhood kids.

    Films — Animation 

    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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • My World… and Welcome to It: John rigs a box propped up with a stick and baited with saucers of food and milk in order to try and catch the title feline character in "The Saga of Dimity Ann." He hopes to capture the cat with it in order to sneak her out of the house and abandon her in the nearby woods without getting bitten. Turns out he manages this by plying her with a catnip mouse instead.
  • 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.
  • Number 6 builds one in The Prisoner E10 "Hammer into Anvil" to catch a pigeon, so he can use it to carry a message.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • A Donkey Kong Land commercial did it to DK himself, using a giant Game Boy as the "box".
  • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, you need to make one of these to catch a rat, using some Cheez Doodles 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 (or, optionally, spiders) 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 rabbits in The Flame in the Flood. You can either kill the live rabbit for its meat and hide, or release it to distract hungry wolves.
  • Fallout 4 DLC "Wasteland Workshop" has traps for critters that work like this. These include traps for catching human foes with humorous signs aimed at their vices, promising Free drugs to the drug addled Raiders; and free ammo and money for the greedy Gunner faction. The real fun is what you put them up against like a pissed off gorilla or, even better, a very angry Deathclaw. Take note however: when you capture dangerous animals like Mirelurks and Deathclaws you will have your settlements attacked by them. Make sure your settlement is well defended and fortified in case of emergency.
  • In The Forest, you can build these to catch small animals, mainly rabbits.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • 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.
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • In "Bowser Junior Gets Rabies!", when Chef Pee Pee discovers Junior has rabies, he calls Brooklyn T. Guy for a solution on how to cure him. Brooklyn 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 & Friends toy as bait. When Brooklyn shows up later, he asks 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 "Cody Gets Expelled!", when Junior, Joseph, and Cody make evil clones of themselves, Junior builds three of these to catch them. The bait Junior uses are his Thomas toy for his clone, Cody's Ken doll for Cody's clone, and a $5.00 bill for Joseph's clone.

    Western Animation 
  • Craig of the Creek: In "Ferret Quest", Craig makes one to catch the ferret. Although his attempts to lure it fail, the ferret ends up being chased into it.
  • 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 groundskeeper instead. 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.
  • 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 evasion 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 the Johnny Bravo episode "Bungled in the Jungle", King Raymond successfully caught Johnny in a box-and-stick trap by using a pinup calendar of supermodel Vendela Kirsebom as bait. This is after King Raymond commented on not being sure anyone would be stupid enough to fall for this kind of trap and going along with the plan only because he was running out of ideas for ways to trap Johnny.
  • 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?
  • The Bump in the Night episode "Bumpy the Untrappable" had a box-and-stick trap featured as one of the traps the boy tried to use to capture Mr. Bumpy. The trap instead captures Squishington.
  • The Fairly OddParents! episode "Crocker of Gold" has Mr. Crocker use a box-and-stick trap to try and capture a leprechaun, using Irish stew as bait. Instead of real leprechauns, he catches Cosmo dressed like one.
  • Hey Arnold!: In "The Aptitude Test", Helga and Harold's test papers get mixed up as a result of Eugene being asked to collect them, and Helga's potential career is a woodsperson. Helga builds one of these to catch a rabbit, using a carrot as bait. The rabbit takes the carrot and hops away, and when Helga wonders how her trap could have failed, it goes off on her.