How to Catch a Rat, Ways to Catch Rodent

Catching rats isn't like catching other animals. You can't snare a rat, the way you can snare a raccoon. You can't just go grab a rat by the tail, the way you can do to an opossum. Cage traps aren't as successful with rats as they are with other animals. Realistically, the most likely way you're going to catch a rat is via trapping.

But remember, the first step is crucial - you must seal up the building first, so all the entry and exit holes are shut before you start catching rats. To try to catch them without doing so is pointless. Once it's all sealed, no more rats can get in, and the ones that are stuck inside with no way out become much easier to catch. Here are some tips on how to catch rats effectively.


Location is crucial when setting rat traps. The best spots to catch rats are often near the edges of the attic, in places you have to crawl to get to. Make sure the traps are set on a flat, firm surface. Set traps along flat edges, like beams, when possible. Lay the traps across rat paths, where the rats travel frequently, and you'll catch more.


Bait doesn't matter very much. In fact, you can set traps with no bait, and have just about the same success catching rats. Again, it all comes down to location. That said, I do bait my traps with a thin layer of peanut butter on the trap pan. A number of baits will work, of course, from meat to chocolate, etc.


This type of trap is the best. As I've mentioned, I've tried many traps over the years. Many types of traps have been invented, but the original wooden snap trap is the best, for a variety of reasons. The pan can be set at hair trigger. They are strong and kill instantly. There's really no design change that I've seen, outside of ease of setting that improves upon the original design.


Yes, if you want to, you can use live cage traps, and trap them live, and let them go outside. This is possible. And I do very much like to be humane to animals, and rats have feelings too. But I do not use cage traps for rat control, because it doesn't effectively get the job done, and displaced rats are absolutely going to die soon anyway. Once they're out of their attic home, they won't survive for long.


Glue traps suck. They don't work very well. I've seen more cases of rat footprints, bits of rat fur, and even gnawed-off rat limbs than actual rats caught. But mostly, I see empty glueboards with nothing trapped on them at all. Rats are pretty smart, and good about avoiding glue boards. Plus, death on a glue board is very inhumane. The below rat suffered for a long time, ripping its own fur off, etc.


I've heard of, and seen, strange water traps, see-saw traps, electrocution, repeater traps, and so on. There are many options out there, but I am certain that every one of them is inferior to snap traps when it comes to catching rats efficiently.


Although I wrote this site with rats in mind, such as the Roof Rat and Norway Rat, the same principles apply to other rodents, such as the house mouse. Mice behave very similarly to rats, they're just smaller. Email me if you have any questions about how to catch mice, mouse catching, how to catch a mouse in a trap, and so on.

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