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MFF Special: Analyzing the Unsuccessful and Unnecessarily Large Trap in ‘Predators’

May 22, 2018

While watching Predators I felt bad for the special forces guy named Drake (thank you prequel comic) who spent many days building an intricate trap and having it fail spectacularly. I kept wondering how the guy was able to pull together boatloads of materials (wood, vines, rocks) without being heard or seen while preparing a trap that covered about 50 yards. there must’ve been a lot of cutting, scraping, grunting, swearing and hacking, and it seems virtually impossible that it wouldn’t be noticed. This trap went well beyond what Arnold Schwarzenegger did in Predator and it was all a waste of time.

The trap in Predator was nothing compared to the trap in Predators.

Why was building the trap a waste of time? My theory is the Predators were watching and chuckling the entire time he was building it. The hunters knew what he was doing and let him set up the trap so they could kill him when he finished it. They must’ve been impressed with his ingenuity and figured it would be funny to see the latest bunch of people dealing with it on the alien hunting preserve.

Here is a tiny glimpse of the trap courtesy of io9.

I watched the clip way too many times (50-second scene) and was able to make a rough count of everything needed for the trap and how much time it would take to set up. I’m not an expert on jungle survival (I did watch Jungle though) and I couldn’t begin to explain how to make a trap that shoots spikes into the ground, but I can make an educated guess that suggests how long the Predators waited.

Here are my assumptions:

  1. He did all the work by himself. This assumption is backed up by the Predators: Welcome to the Jungle prequel comic that was released by Dark Horse. Drake’s entire team was killed by the hunters and he became blinded by revenge which leads to his dumb plan.
  2. He worked every day from sunup to sundown. I’m thinking he worked for a solid 12 hours with a few needed breaks.
  3. In the comic, Drake stole a smart disc from the Predators and this tool helped him greatly with the chopping of wood (I’m guessing). So, even though we don’t see it in the movie I’m going to let him have it.
  4. The Predators knew exactly what he was doing.
  5. There could be more to his trap but I’m only counting what we saw onscreen.

Here is what he used for the trap:

*I figured out these numbers via a lot of pausing and educated guesswork

  • 1300 feet of vines/rope/cords (at least)
  • Two large pieces of deadfall – Each piece weighs at least 750 pounds – Adrien Brody suggests they might’ve weighed 1500 pounds each, but I’m sticking with 750.
  • 100 sharpened branch pieces for the really cool but unnecessary spike trap
  • 30 sharpened pieces of thick squat wood for the spike catapult trap
  • 12 4 ft. sharpened poles place inside the 10-foot hole he made
  • 20 feet of thick branches for the large wooden spike trap
  • A bunch of palm fronds and branches to cover up trip wires and holes.

How long did it take to set up the trap?

  • One day to scout for a location and create a blueprint for the trap
  • One day to find all the necessary branches, sticks, trees, rope, vines, palm fronds and deadfall
  • Two days to cut the 100 pieces of wood for the overhead trap. The tops of each piece of wood have been cut flat and they’ve all been sharpened to penetrate tree roots.
  • One day to cut the 32 pieces of wood for the underground and catapult traps. If you look at the pieces of wood on the catapult trap you see will that they’ve been cut into spears. This would take a lot of work considering how big the pieces of wood are.


  • One day to dig out the 10-foot hole. The hole may have been there already but it seems too symmetrical to be natural. He must’ve done some work to make it like that.


  • One day to build the catapult spike trap
  • Three days to hang all the vines and place the wooden stakes into them. The amount of vine work is crazy because Drake set up a system that propels the pieces of wood down quickly. Thus, each piece of wood had to be specifically rigged to be shot into the ground.


  • One day to hang the deadfall for the swinging trap. I’d imagine he’d do this last to prevent it killing him while he was hanging vines.

Total Time = 11 Days to build the massive trap


I’m not an expert on building 50-yard traps but after watching a bunch of Youtube clips and researching limited cutting options (another article here) I think 11 days is a solid option. I say this because the trap had so many time-consuming activities that it couldn’t be rushed or treated lightly. The biggest question I have about the trap is how he rigged the overhead vines without a ladder or step stool. Without a ladder, the amount of time it had to take to rig each spike in the overhead trap must’ve been very monotonous and he probably didn’t want to make too much noise which would’ve prevented serious hacking and breaking of logs.

Conclusion: It must’ve been entertaining for the Predators because they let Drake build everything, then one of them shot him in the back. It proves that the iconic hunters have a sense of humor and don’t mind letting others do work for them.

Poor Drake….

If you liked this random post make sure to check out my other stuff! Also, a big thanks to Brian Raftery at Wired for interviewing me about this dumb data.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. John Leavengood permalink
    May 22, 2018 12:00 pm

    I’ll bet the predators were taking bets like…
    “50 Xenxorian dinars says he accidentally triggers it and kills himself.”

    • May 22, 2018 12:03 pm

      Yes! I picture them sitting on a tree branch while making the bets and drinking space beer.

      • John Leavengood permalink
        May 22, 2018 2:17 pm

        What real world beer do you think would best suit Predators? Perhaps Silencio by Wicked Weed… Marshall Zhukov or Hunaphu… Corona Lite?

      • May 22, 2018 2:20 pm

        I’m thinking Mich Ultra and Bell’s Two Hearted.


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