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Tongue Twister of the Day: The Critter Twitter Trap

John Mangan, a friendly humanitarian, Vermonter, and self-declared “lazy engineer looking for creative solutions to do less work,“ was battling a tiny home infestation and the ethical conundrum that such an infestation brings. For many, pests are always to be dealt with by extermination, but instead of going the traditional deadly route, Mangan wanted to find a more humane solution. A Maker at heart, he decided to buy Havahart cages and build his own connected IoT traps for the critters using Temboo.

“Havahart traps are really nice if you have pests to rid your home of but you don’t feel the need to do this through means of killing the animal,” Mangan explained.


These caring control cages trap the animal alive, allowing you to release it into the wild; however, it wasn’t long before Mangan started to notice a troubling pattern:

The problem we are faced with is constant monitoring of the trap. If you forget to check back frequently, usually at least once a day, you risk having the animal die in the cage simply due to shock or anxiety. As a result, you end up being more cruel to the animal than if you had just put it out of its misery to begin with. It is this problem that spawned my “Critter Twitter Trap.” The goal is to be notified as soon as the trap is “sprung”–thus, we know when to check it.

Using an Arduino Yún, a tilt switch, and Temboo’s Twitter Choreos, Mangan was able to build a trap that will send him an alert whenever it is triggered, and he has written up an excellent tutorial for anyone looking to recreate what he calls “a simple modification to a common pest trap.” The Choreos allow him to send a Twitter message whenever the trap has been sprung–check out what happens on his Critter Trap Twitter account.

“Most of these posts were tests, but a few were live catches!”

The text of the messages is generated from Team Fortress 2, a video game, allowing each message to be unique. Mangan also receives a text message if anything new is caught.

text message

We love seeing an IoT spin put on traditional devices, so if you have any creative projects of your own, reach out to us at You might be our next featured story!