The trap, which can be installed on any ordinary sewer pipe, consists of motion and heat sensors to detect the rat's presence. As soon as the rodent passes under the trap's blades, they drop, causing instant death. Once the blades are raised, the animal's body is emptied into the sewage.
The mobile, battery powered trap is being tested in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers.
Speaking to Le Parisien, Laurent Nguyen, an engineer from the company that invented the device, emphasized that it is specifically designed to be as humane as possible. "The rat hardly suffers," he said, especially when compared to alternatives such as rat poison, to which Paris's rodent population has developed a resistance. The mechanism is also safe for people and the environment, as it does not use any harmful chemicals.
Paris has faced immense problems with rats in recent weeks in connection with last month's flooding of the River Seine, which resulted in thousands of rats which normally live on the waterways and in the sewers emerging onto the city's streets.