- Home - Attic
- How To
Trap a Rat
- How To
Kill a Rat
To Poison a Rat
To Catch a Rat
- Rat in
- Rat in the
- Rat on the
- Rat in the
- Rat in
in Crawl Space
- Rat in
- Rat Feces
- - - -
/ Durham, NC
- Miami, FL
- Tampa, FL
Humane Rat Trapping in Live Cage Traps
Yes, many people don't like rats, but other people
understand that they intelligent animals, and have the same
relative emotions, ability to feel pain, etc as other
animals, such as pet cats or dogs, for example. If you are
sensitive to killing rats and want a humane alternative, it
You can use cage traps instead of snap traps, or worse, glue
traps, or even worse, poison. You can use exclusion instead
of trapping at all. And you can engage in Rat
Prevention, so you don't have to even worry about it.
I'll analyze a couple of the options below:
EXCLUSION WITH ONE-WAY DOORS
You may be able to solve a rat problem without even using
any traps at all. If you can successfully find out how the
rats are getting in and out of the building, and seal off
all but ONE popular entry/exit hole, you can set a one-way
exclusion funnel or door on that hole. Rats are less likely
to push their way out of a spring-loaded one-way door, but a
funnel cone, made out of steel mesh, to just the right size,
can do the trick.
In the left picture, we see a normal one-way door set on a
rat hole. Notice the dark brown staining on this hole - rats
often leave thick brown smudges from fur grease if they go
over a spot again and again. As stated, this type of door
doesn't work perfectly with rats. Some are simply too timid
to push open the spring loaded door. I've done several
tests, and some rats will go through and some won't. But on
the right, we see a funnel door (yes, that's a squirrel
going through it, I don't have any photos of rats going
through this type of device). Rats will usually go through
this type of one-way door. But it must be made and set just
right. The exit hole has to be the right size to go out, but
not back in, which can be a little tricky given that rat
sizes vary with age. And some rats are too timid to go
through. But set right, it can work.
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,
and here are several reasons why:
- The cages often don't fit in the little nooks and
crannies that rats inhabit. Often, I'm wedging a trap in
a small area, and a cage just won't fit.
- It's important to set many traps, at least a dozen at
one time, to do the job right. Setting just one or two
traps will cause several problems, because you'll have a
bunch of free-agent rats with no trap to go to, and they
start to gnaw and create problems. Not many people have
access to a dozen cage traps.
- Cage traps are simply far less effective. Rats are
cautious, and not as likely to walk into a cage trap and
back to the bait trigger pan. With a snap trap, they
simply run along their usual route, and WHAM, they're
dead instantly. Or if it's the bait they are after, one
tiny sniff, and SNAP. With the cage traps, they have to
commit much more, and rats are super cautious.
- If you want to be humane, this is important - the
traps MUST be checked every 8 hours or so. Rats can die
quickly from heat stroke in an attic, and the stress of
being in a cage trap can speed up dehydration and such.
Most people who set cage traps in an attic don't have
the discipline to check the traps on a frequent basis.
You can negate some of the chance of death if you put
fresh orange slices (a source of water) in the traps.
- Okay, say you do trap the rat in a cage, and let it go
outside. It want to get back in the attic, and will
sniff its way back and try to chew its way back in. If
you've sealed the house properly, with steel, this
should not be a concern, but still, you've got
attic-acclimated rats out in the environment now.
Relocating them a far distance, at least a few miles,
- But the final thing - it's kind of pointless. Rats
that are dislocated from the only home they know, where
they have proven food and shelter, will almost certainly
die very soon, from starvation, competition from other
rats, and predators. It's not like there's some great
rat shangri-la out there that you can take them to where
they'll live on, happily. All your efforts of live
trapping and relocation are in vain, because they're
just going into an unsurvivable environment. If you
demand to cage trap, you can read about What
is the best bait to trap a rat?
WHAT IS MY PERSONAL CHOICE?
I use lethal snap traps. The above two methods don't always
work perfectly, and often result in more suffering for rat.
Cage traps have a variety of problems and impracticalities
as discussed above, and rats, unfortunately, just don't
respond 100% perfectly to one-way exclusion funnels. They
tend to work better on squirrels. I want to solve the
problem for my clients as well as I can. Rat control is
already so difficult, that I can't bother with impractical
methods. I am comfortable with my approach, and I always
take animal welfare into consideration.
Animal Lovers (like me)Take Note: If you catch rats alive
and relocate them outside, or if you block them out of the
attic, studies have proven that without their normal home
and shelter, they die or fall to predators very quickly.
Thus, trying to get rats out of the attic alive is
pointless. I believe this is important to know. - David
WHAT IS THE LIFE OF A RAT WORTH?
I fully believe that rats are intelligent animals that can
feel pain and even emotions. However, not all mammals are
equal. I guess, ultimately, I have to admit that I consider
the life of a rat worth less than other animals. I know many
people would disagree, but look at these facts:
I guess all this just adds up to me thinking that a rat's
life isn't worth terribly much. Consider the life of a
different animal - a bat. A mother bat has ONE baby per
year, not 48 babies. She carefully nurses it for a long
time. Bats can live up to 20 years. In that time, they eat
millions of insects that people don't like. I don't
necessarily think of the animal type "bat" as superior to
the animal type "rat", it's just that I think of a single
bat as worth more than a single rat. Rats are a dime a
dozen. I don't mind killing a few to solve a rat problem in
- Rats breed incredibly quickly. They can have 6 litters
per year, with 8 rats per litter. They are sexually
mature at THREE MONTHS OLD. I can't remember the exact
math, but a breeding pair can create, by exponential
growth, like 12,837,835,290 rats in three weeks' time.
Okay, I'm kidding, but it's not like rats are rare.
- Rats rarely live more than a year anyway. Most die out
very quickly. If you kill a rat, the chances are about
50% that it was going to die by some other means within
30 days. If you save a rat's life, the chances are about
50% that it is going to die by some other means within
- They cause problems - that's why people want to get
rid of them. That's also the reason many people don't
like rats. I don't think they're vermin to be hated, the
way other people do - in fact, I know that they are
intelligent animals, and I actually believe that they
have emotions. But they are problem animals.
Oh, and one other thing - my method of lethal rat control is
the most humane available - I seal up the house right away,
and only a few rats have to die, with instantaneous snap
trap death, rather than a shitty pest control company that
leaves the entry points open, and poisons rat after rat,
month after month, letting them die slow, painful deaths.
Read more articles about rats:
What are the types of rat snap
How to Make a Rat Trap
Is it legal for me to trap a rat?
Humane rat traps
THE SAME APPLIES TO MICE
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 live trap a mouse, humane mouse
trapping, etc. There are some interesting live-mouse traps
on the market, that don't exist for rats.