How to Kill Rats and Rodents

I understand, you have a rat problem, and you want to kill the rats. I do admit, that in my rat control process, I kill rats myself, by using lethal snap traps. You can read about and see photos of this technique all over my website. But before you jump willy-nilly into rat killing, I need to point out an important thing - killing the rats is only part of the solution. The much more important part, the part that will solve your rat problems permanently, is finding out how the rats are getting inside your house, and sealing those entry points shut. If you don't do that, you can kill rats until the cows come home, but your problem will never go away.

As you can see in the above photograph, I make an important point clear. Kill rats by any means, but never use poison. I'm going to discuss the various ways to kill rats below.


This isn't really a viable rat control technique. For some, it's basically a redneck sport. However, there is one very real exception - when a rat gets into the living space of the house, like in the family room or kitchen or bathroom. In that case, a rat can be extremely hard to catch, corral, or remove by any means. I have dealt with several such cases, and amazingly, I've found that the most effective solution, by far, is air rifle. The rat runs around the house and hides under the couch, or the kitchen cabinet, for example. Then it stays perfectly still, hoping that you can't see it. But you saw where it ran, and if you can spot it staying still, you'll have no chance to grab it, but you have all the time in the world to line up a perfect shot with a BB gun. You can even get fairly close. It works great.


This is the method I use. Effective, efficient, quick and humane death. The best overall tool for getting rid of rats in the attic or home. Snap traps kill rats, and they almost never fail, if set correctly. Read more about the advantages of this method on my Rat Trapping Information page.


Poison is the worst thing you can use, for many, many reasons. It just doesn't work. It will not solve your problem, but it WILL create many very real problems, not the least of which is horrible odors in your house - I see it every week of my life. Read here about: Dead Rat Removal. For a full explanation of why you should never use poison to kill rats, click on my Rat Poison page.


Another bad choice. 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. But if they do in fact get stuck, it's a slow and agonizing death, and even a rat doesn't deserve that. And glue pads are one-time use, they are more expensive than good-old snap traps, less effective, far less humane. Why would anyone use one of these pieces of crap? I guess just because someone out there is marketing and selling them. I've never used them, but I've been called to many homes with rat odor, and I found a rotting and stinking rat on an old glue board lying around. Don't use glue traps. They stink.


There are other ways to do it. There are water traps that rats fall into and drown. There are actually small box traps that electrocute rats! I've seen customers try these methods, and they are just plain really inefficient and ineffective. You can sic a cat on rats, and cats will catch a few, but not in an attic, and cats never fully solve the problem. There are probably many other ways to kill rats, and if you've got any solutions you'd like to tell me about, go ahead. I'll still be sticking to standard wooden snap traps to kill rats. If you need professional help, I have friends that I have personally trained in these cities:

What are some humane ways to kill a rat?

There really isn't a “humane" way to kill a wild animal, because the incident will be resulting in their death. There are ways that you can kill a rat, however, humanely and without causing them undue pain and suffering. Rats are best killed rather than trapped-and-released, but you should make sure you're doing it the right way. There is no need to cause an animal serious and unnecessary suffering.


Speaking of serious and unnecessary suffering, that's what poison offers the average rat (or mouse) when you put it down for them. Sadly, the poison doesn't result in a neat and clean death, like the information on the packaging would lead you to believe, instead causing the animal to suffer for a very long time. It is likely that the rat will crawl somewhere very deep within your home, choosing to die there. After a while, the body will start to decompose, and you'll start to notice a rather unpleasant odor drifting around your home. You will now need to find that dead animal, and remove it, and you'll need to buy a whole bunch of equipment in order to do it safely also.

Poison IS NOT a good idea when you have a rat infestation. We would highly advise AGAINST this method of rat removal.

Glue Strips

These are becoming a rather popular way of getting rid of mice and rats, but sadly, they don't provide a very humane approach to the problem at all. They are not designed to kill the animals, instead keeping them stuck to the glue strip until you then resolve the problem. This means that the mice and rats will be stuck there, unable to free themselves, panicking, chewing through their own limbs in order to break free, and potentially even starving to death. They may become victim to attacks from bigger predators also, and may even become a toy for your household pets.

That's before you even begin to think about what you are going to do to the rat now. You an't just dispose of the live rat or mouse stuck to the trap like that. You will need to now humanely kill it, and then dispose of it.

Go back to the Rats in the Attic home page.

What are some humane ways to kill a rat?
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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. They are killed with smaller traps. Ultimately, the same methods for how to keep rats away applies to mice as well. You can read about Killing rats outside house or Are rats smart enough to figure out that the poison is dangerous to them? Email me if you have any questions about how to kill a mouse, mouse killing methods, how to kill mice, or any other advice on how to kill rodents.