Things You'll Need
1/2-inch plywood, 4-foot-by-8-foot sheet
8-inch coil spring
3/4-inch wood screws
Hasp and latch
2-inch hinge, 2 each
1/2-inch wire mesh
A mongoose trap is a great practical joke. The basic prop for the trick is a box that includes a fully enclosed portion and a mesh area. The tail of a mongoose is displayed in the wire mesh section with the assumption that the body is in the enclosed area.
Measure, mark and cut the following pieces of 1/2-inch plywood. Label each piece as you cut. 1 each - 4 inches by 11 inches - Bottom 2 each - 5 inches by 11 inches - Front and Back 1 each - 4 inches by 6 1/2 inches - Right Top 1 each - 4 inches by 4 1/2 inches - Insert 1 each - 5 inches by 5 inches - Right End
Measure, mark and cut a 1/2-inch wire mesh piece to 12 inches long and 5 inches wide.
Lay the bottom piece of wood horizontally in front of you. Position the front and back pieces along the long edges of the bottom piece. Secure the front and back to the bottom using wood screws at each corner.
Position the right end of the box so the edge aligns with the front, back and bottom pieces. Secure the end to the box using wood screws at each corner.
Cut off the tail of the stuffed mongoose.
Measure 6 inches from the right end of the box. Mark the measurement. Place the tail into the box so the end of the tail is on the left of the box and the front of the tail overlays the measurement by 1/2 inch.
Slide the box insert into the box vertically along the measurement. Secure the insert into place with wood screws. The insert will squish the tail and hold it into place.
Center the right top piece over the right side of the box so the edges align with the front, back, right end and insert. Position two hinges on the left edge of the right top piece. The hinges should be spaced 1 inch from the front and back of the box. Secure the hinges into place along the insert and top with wood screws.
Position a hasp and latch on the right edge of the right top piece. The hasp and latch should be centered along the width of the edge. Secure the hasp and latch to the end and top with wood screws.
Center the wire mesh over the left side of the box. The wire mesh should be secured to the top edge of the insert, the front, back and bottom of the box to fully enclose the box.
Open the top of the enclosed area on the right side of the box. Center the spring inside the box. Mark the position and set the spring aside. Screw two eye hooks on either side of the marked area. Put the spring back into the box and twist until the spring is threaded through and held in place by the two eye hooks.
Secure the mongoose body to the spring using duct tape. Push the mongoose and spring into the box. Close the lid and secure the latch.
When you are using the trap, the person you are trying to trick should stand on the mesh end of the trap. Open the latch carefully so the spring pops out with the animal and the view of the observer is not obstructed.