Mantrap (snare)

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Two mantraps (one a "humane" type) and a spring gun

A mantrap is a mechanical physical security devices for catching poachers and trespassers. They have taken many forms, the most usual being like a large foothold trap, the steel springs being armed with teeth which met in the victim's leg. Since 1827, they have been illegal in England, except in houses between sunset and sunrise as a defence against burglars.[1]

Other traps such as special snares, trap netting, trapping pits, fluidizing solid matter traps[2] and cage traps could be used.

Mantraps that use deadly force are illegal in the United States, and there have been notable tort law cases where the trespasser has successfully sued the property owner for damages caused by the mantrap. There is also the possibility that such traps could endanger emergency service personnel such as firefighters who must forcefully enter such buildings during emergencies. As noted in the important US court case of Katko v. Briney, "the law has always placed a higher value upon human safety than upon mere rights of property."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ B2 Non Fatal Offences Against the Person – March 2008, Oxford University Press, March 2008
  2. ^ Fluidized sand mantrap
  3. ^ "Katko v. Briney". 183 N.W.2d 657. (Iowa Sup. Ct. 1971).  Check date values in: |date= (help)


Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Mantraps at Wikimedia Commons