If you’re like me and have been tired of the rat problem in your house, then you too have been scouring the market for different types of rat traps. Like me, you might also be wondering which rat trap will serve you best and help you get rid of this menace. Thankfully, I know your pain and have been there myself. So, I took the time to create a list of the different types of rat traps and their pros and cons.

Selecting the best trap depends on a number of considerations like price, lethal capacity, humaneness etc. So, while one trap might be most efficient, it might not fit your personal values and principles. Let’s get started on the different types of rat traps that exist in the market.

What are The Different Types of Rat Traps?

These are most popular types of rat traps. We’ll discuss their speciality and their pros and cons. This will help you judge for yourself which device suits your needs the best.

1. Repeating Rat Trap

Repeating traps can be great traps in varying situations. The main upside of a repeating trap is that it can continue to be used, even after one rat has been caught. Most traps catch one rat and sit idle until the trap is emptied and reset.

Below is a video of a repeating trap in action. While this is a great trap, it’s $300 price tag does not make it practical for most people.

Repeating traps often act as a kind of revolving, one way door. Rats enter a part of the trap that will cause a door to close behind them or even fall out from under them so they fall into the cage where they cannot escape.

Pros:

  • Live/humane
  • Multiple catches per night
  • Easy to set
  • The trap will not snap on your fingers

Cons

  • Traps must be checked often, typically daily
  • You must release or dispose of captured rats

2. Electric Rat Traps

Electric mouse traps uses an electric charge to kill the rat. It works as a bait-based trap, so there’s a bait station embedded in the trap. These mouse traps have some of the highest success rates when it comes to killing rats efficiently. It’s rare to find these traps with wounded rats or missing the bait.

Rat Zapper
Rat Zapper

The rat trap has the bait station at the extreme back end of the trap. As a result, the mouse or rat is forced to enter the whole length of the trap. There is a sensor placed inside the trap which identifies when the rat has entered. Once the sensor identifies the trespasser, it zaps an electric charge at the occupant. The entire ordeal is completed in seconds and the mouse does not suffer.

Once you pick up a kill, the trap is emptied and then re-baited. Repeat this process over and over, since mice generally live and hunt in groups.

Pros:

  • Electric traps have a high success rate. There’s hardly ever any traps were the bait went missing on the rat was left wounded. Personal experience and third-party reviews suggest this to be a rarity.
  • These are reusable traps. They last for a long time. Each trap can last for years. As a result it offers the best economics in mouse traps.
  • Since the unit is plastic enclosed, you do not need to see or touch the animal, in case you have any reservations. Just invert the trap in a waste bag when you want to empty it and that’s it.

Cons:

  • The price of these traps is a bit higher. However, considering that these traps last a really long time, the price is justified over a period of time.

3. Plastic Snap Traps

Remember those traps we used to see on the Tom and Jerry Show? That the first image I have in my mind whenever I think of rat traps. Well, this is a plastic and modernized version of the same thing. The original wooden traps were difficult to operate and could be used only once.  But the pest control companies nowadays have come up with a more efficient version of the same.

It’s sturdy as before but easier to use and can be reused umpteen number of times. The trap has a small holder. This is where you set the bait (you can visualize it as the cheese Tom used to set for Jerry). Then you pull the metal lever to set the trap. When the mouse/rat steps on the plate, it automatically triggers the lever and the mouse is caught. The lever is placed at 90-degrees instead of the traditional 180-degrees which makes it faster.

Pros:

  • Easy to use. The set and release procedure is familiar and easier now.
  • The release bar is held at a 90-degree angle which makes it faster than the previous models
  • Reusable traps.
  • Kills quickly most of the time
  • One of the cheapest traps in the market

Cons:

  • Those who hate seeing a dead animal won’t like this one, since thee rat trap is not covered.
  • If not handled properly it can snap on your fingers!

4. Plastic Enclosed Snap Trap

Of all the plastic rat trap varieties in the market, the closed variety is one of the best. The enclosed trap works similar to the snap trap we covered previously but it comes with a covered case. As a result, it’s safe to use when you have kids or pets around in the house.

Rat trap in a rodent bait box

Rat traps in bait boxes are idea when trying to keep non-target animals out the the trap. It is cruel and inhumane to set trap out in the open where children and other animals can be injured or killed my the traps.

This is an easy set up of putting a trap inside a plastic rodent box. Be sure to pay special attention to the trap being used. The black plastic traps are designed to work in these boxes. While Victor wood snap traps are great traps, they are too big for use in bait boxes.

Pros:

  • It’s clean and efficient. You do not need to see or touch the animal. If you have reservations, this is one of the better options for you.
  • It’s safe to have when there’s pets or children around the house. Since the bait plate is enclosed in plastic, there’s no risk of hurting anybody.

Cons:

  • Once, it catches a rat, you’ll have to empty the trap.
  • Very labor intensive because you are always cleaning out traps and re baiting.
  • Once the trap is set off, it will not catch any more rats until the trap is reset. I.e., it only catches one rat at at time.

5. Catch and Release Rat Trap

As the name suggests, this kind of trap does not kill the rat. It is used to trap the rat and then set them free. However, there are a few things to be kept in mind, when using this kind of traps. You should always look to empty the traps often, since otherwise they might find it difficult to breathe in the contraption. Next, when emptying the trap, remember to set them free as far away as possible.

My favorite live catch rat trap

There are two main types of catch and release rat traps – metal traps or plastic traps. The metal traps are in form of cages, while the plastic ones are come in tube shapes. Both have a door for the mouse to enter. Once the mouse enters, the trap will automatically shut them in.

Pros:

  • There’s no killing with these traps. So, if you’re looking for a humane solution, this is it.

Cons:

  • You would need to continuously monitor these traps since you would not want them to suffocate and die.

6. Ultrasonic Pest Control

This is one which seems to be too good to be true. I’ve tried this but later understood that I did not know how to use it. It didn’t work at the time. These units use ultrasonic sounds (these are at a higher frequency to those normally heard by humans) to repel pests including rats. You need to understand which device impacts how much area. Depending on the room size, you’re unit will vary.

Strangely, some people have really been helped by this product, but others seem to think this to be a hoax. So, it’s difficult to pinpoint if it does work or not.

As a professional rat catcher, I often see ultra-sonic devices in people’s home when they call us out to get rid of their rats. If the devices worked, we would not be there.

Other cases are anecdotal. Meaning, someone heard a noise in their attic, they buy an ultra-sonic device and then they stop hearing the noises. The logical conclusion is that the device worked, when in reality, it may not have actually been a rat in the attic, the rat decided to leave or something killed the rat. So while the conclusion is that the device worked, it is very possible there is another explaination.

These anecdotal cases are common with snakes. Some sees a snake, they put out “Snake Away”, mothballs, peppermint or any other home remedy for snakes. Then, the person does not see the snake again, so of course they credit whatever it is they put out as a repellant. But the truth is, they could have put water out and they still would not have ever seen that snake again. There are exceptions, however most snake sightings are one time things so it is not accurate to credit a worthless application with the snake being gone.

Pros:

  • No human effort involved. Simply plug them into the electric socket and turn them on.
  • Last a long time. You can change the battery and they are good to go.
  • If you want the keep mice away without hurting them and do not want do manual work, then it’s the best device.

Cons:

  • Hard to understand efficacy.
  • Difficult to gauge which product works with which range.
  • Not all products work. It will require some testing on your part to truly understand them

7. Glueboards

When it comes to rat traps, the glue board is the worst. Glue boards, also called glue traps are ineffective and cruel. The funny thing is, glue boards are also the most common trap used by pest control companies. But this does not prove they are good traps, it shows how inexperienced people in pest control are with rat elimination.

Rat glue board

Glue boards are cheap and easy to use; this is perhaps the biggest reason exterminators use them. However, it is important to know there is a massive difference between spraying for bugs and catching rats. It is a different process a different mindset.

My background is with humane nuisance wildlife management. And that is what I did when I started my first business in Florida back in the mid 90’s. But the state of Florida said I needed to get a pest control license. I had no desire to do pest control but rats were my bread and butter and I had to get a pest control license if I wanted to trap rats.

So I decided that if I was going to have to get a pest control license, I might as well do pest control too. While we occasionally get a bugger of job, by in large, pest control is easy (not including termites!). And after doing pest control for a few years, I discovered I was right, pest control IS easy! At least compared to dealing with rats.

The most challenging thing with rats in figuring out how they are getting inside and more importantly, how to keep them out. More often than not this means climbing a ladder, crawling the attic and walking the roof. These activities quickly disqualify many pest control technicians.

Add to that, many pest control techs hate handling rat traps and even worse, they just plain hate rats!

These are the things that result in pest control exterminators resorting to putting out the world’s worst rat trap…the glue board.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Will sometimes work
  • They will not snap on your fingers

Cons

  • Cruel and inhumane
  • Rats can get partially caught and walk off with the trap
  • Traps can be messy and you get stuck to the trap
  • Incredibly high failure rate for trapping rats

How To Humanely Remove Live Animals From Glue Traps

If you have caught a rat or other animal in a glue board and need to get unstuck, apply an oil like canola or olive oil. The oil will break down the glue and will free anything captured. Where I live in the Tampa Bay Area, it is common to find snakes and lizards stuck in glue traps. Just a bit of olive oil and they are free!

Snap Trap Differences

While there may be more, there are essentially 3 similar, but different types of snap traps with modest differences. While there are countless types of rat traps, the traps pictured below are your safest bets.

As long as you are sticking with the traps below, the minor differences such as trigger size and closing structure is not too important.

At my business, Creepy Creatures, Inc. we almost exclusively use the wooded Victor snap trap with a small metal trigger. We use this because it is the cheapest, most efficient trap. However, in my opinion, the black trap in the bottom right side is the best, most effective trap. Victor also makes this trap in a tan color. The only reason we do not use many of these traps is because they cost about $2.00 more. This is not a big deal for “Do it yourselfers” but when we use as many as we do, that $2.00 adds up fast!

As professionals, we prefer the metal trigger trap on Victor trap as opposed to the plastic trigger trap because of durability. We get far more uses of the metal trigger trap than we do from the plastic trigger.

I want to emphasize, while we have our preferred traps, any of the below traps will work for you.

Different kind of rat traps

Can You Reuse Rat Traps?

We often hear people telling us they have heard that once a rat trap catches one rat, rats will no longer go near the trap. The believe rats smell dead rat on the trap and therefore the trap is now worthless.

We find no evidence to suggest this is true. For over 25 years I have used, reused and resused rats traps. Rats do not avoid traps that smell like dead rats.

If fact, we have had cases where rats caught in a trap have been eaten by other rats…yes, rats can be cannibals.

A Note On Releasing Rats Into The Wild

In almost every case, rats are “commensal rodents” and they thrive around people and are not suited to be “in the wild”. But while they are adapted to live around people, they are also very destructive and rarely do they live in harmony alongside people. Let to their will, rats will destroy food stores, spread disease, destroy electrical systems, destroy insulation and creepy out guests in your home.

I love animals. I do not enjoy killing rats. I understand wanting to relocate them. And while I may or may not be guilty of doing this, it is not a good practice. If you relocate rats, they will either become a problem for where ever they are relocated to or they will be eaten by a predator.

The two most common rats, Norway rats and roof rats are not adapted to live “in the wild” and letting them go “out in the wild” will most likely end with starvation or a predators meal.

I know many people feel like they are doing the best thing by relocating, but animal relocation is rarely a good idea unless performed by qualified people, most often by biologists.

Bait For Rat Traps

Some would have you believe that there is a science and an art to baiting rat traps. If you grew up in the Loony Tunes era, you would think cheese is the best bait.

Conclusion

There’s options, options and options. Depending on your need, current state and urgency, you can decide on the best possible mouse trap for your needs. However, remember, that it’s best to be humane. So ensure that which ever trap you use, it looks to kills them humanely or set them free in the wild.

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Dusty Showers has been in the urban nuisance wildlife and pest control field since 1993. Taught by Garon Fyffe, a pioneer in humane nuisance wildlife management, Dusty has a passion for finding humane solutions to human & wildlife conflicts. Dusty was the only individual invited by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission in the lat 1990's to help write legislation for legal protection of Florida bats. With an instinct for solving wildlife, Dusty found pest control to be an easy "add-on interest". Dusty started his first business "Animal Instincts Wildlife & Pest Management" in the Tampa Bay, Florida area in 1995. Eventually selling Animal Instincts in 2002, Dusty went on to start Creepy Creatures Termite and Pest Control in 2009, which he still owns and operates today in Palm Harbor, Florida.

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