Rat excessive population has been a problem in metropolitan cities for years so you are not alone in attempting to get the annoying rats out of your backyard and neighborhood.

Have you ever had a rat you could not capture? Many pest professionals every so often run into this problem. On one incident, for instance, it took me two weeks of period to take out a single rat from a warehouse. Moreover, did you know? One rat on a commercial airplane liner cost nearly more than half million dollars interruption for the airline because the rat did not respond to any regulator strategy, and the plane had to be smoked. The world’s history is full of similar elusive rat stories.

Mouse and rat cartoon
Mouse and rat cartoon

One of the major hindrances in trying to trap rats is finding the right bait for the job at hand. We often listen people say they have tried it all, but have had little to no luck in reliably enticing rats to a trap.

Unfortunately, but this is true that finding the optimal bait for your particular scenario might require a bit of trial and error. However, you don’t need to worry because the good news is that these days there are far more techniques available for rat bait than there have ever been in the past, ranging from systematically developed designs to everyday products you probably already own in your pantry.

How Find the Rats:

The primary stage in ridding your home of rats is locating where they are living. As they are nocturnal (mostly active at night-time), rats aren’t usually seen in action during the daylight. But, it’s easy to spot signs and marks of their presence.

Here are the signs of rat presence include:

  • Shells or piled nesting stuff in hidden spaces
  • Gnawed fruits in trees
  • Live or dead rats
  • Droppings, especially around human or pet food or in or around trash areas
  • Smudge marks along walls or rodent hairs along paths, near food, or in nests
  • Marks of gnawing of cables or structural wood
  • Slight noises in the dark places, such as scratching echoes from the attic
  • Mini tunnels around the yard or under the home or outbuildings

Rat Trap Techniques:

1) Select the best bait

It is a broadly disputed issue, with some trappers guarantee peanut butter, while others simply purchase rat bait from specialist retailers.

A team of Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington have put the number of baits to the test, and discovered that wild rats prefer milk chocolate, cheese, walnuts and Nutella to standard peanut butter.

2) Try offer some ‘free’ food

Place a bit of ‘free’ peanut butter in the burrow in before the trap – this lures the mice and rats in. It helps entice more rodents too, as they will return to their burrow with the first haul of delicious peanut butter, and then bring back their group to the trap for more.

Here are some samples of optimal baits: 

Peanut butter – it is generally sticky and mice cannot sneak it out of the snare unlike cheese. The rat is forced to stay and consume this, during this time the trap wire or door is set off. 

Meat: Brown rats love to eat meat but you have to use meat as lure with high caution, particularly if you have little children or domestic pets around the house. 

Vegetables and fruits are mostly tempting to black rats but the fruits have to be changed because rats cannot eat spoiled or rotten fruits. 

Other bait ideas include

Cereals 
Cheese                                                                                                                                           Chocolate spread 
Yarn 
Cotton balls 
Cat food 
Dog food 

Rat Trap Strategies:

1) Place your trap in a key location

It may be tempting to position your trap into the center of your garden. This is not essentially the most effective place though, as rats tend to avoid vast open spaces.

Mice and rats like to run closer to fences, plants and walls where they are hidden from deep cat eyes. So the best location for your backyard trap is beside a fence or wall where the rats may be running to their tunnels.

 2) Disguise your traps

You can disguise a snap trap by filling an hollow soda cardboard box (which have four six-packs) with sawdust. Hide an unset rat snare under the sawdust. Position a tempting food trail leading to the carton, and put the food on top of the sawdust including straight over the trigger. Once the rat has familiarized with the box and is actively consuming the bait, install only one food slice directly to the trap trigger and position the trap.

3) Use a movie camera

Movie cameras with low light modes and wide-range lenses can be fitted overnight in those spaces where the elusive rat is suspected to live. The mounted camera may record the rat’s secretive actions and offer the clues required to trap the rat.

Note: And if the primary location fails, try again. If you do not have a fence/wall to position your trap beside, or you are not capturing much, think about where in your garden the mice and rats might be hiding.

Rats will be tempted to locations where they can find water and food. If you have trees in garden or compost heap that drop fruit occasionally on the ground your inhabitant rats will possibly be spending some time there, so that’s a good place for your trap. Another good spot is beside a watercourse.

4) Get your neighbors involved

If you have reached a trapping plateau and do not catch as many mice and rats as you used to, it could be due to they have realized the fact that your yard isn’t safe any longer. They could be seeking asylum in heap or tunnels nearby instead, so getting your neighbors help in trapping will assist ensure all of your neighborhood is protected.

Now here is an analysis of the many categories of available rat traps:



Snap Trap: I will start with the finest type of trap. Snap traps are compact, they execute the rat instantly (and are therefore the most humane of the fatal traps) and they can be positioned in abundance. They are very effective if placed correctly. There are several brands and types of rat traps available, most of them designed in an attempt to “construct an optimal mousetrap”, but the fact is that the ancient wooden standby is essentially the best, in my perspective. Moreover, this is coming from someone who truly loves the cutting-edge in high-tech gadgetry.

Glue Trap: Dumb kind of trap. Ineffective, pointless and cruel. Why use a large glue, sticky board, when a snap trap is way more effective? Rats step on the glue, then make their way off, leaving a leg or bits of fur behind. Then they will never go close a glue board for a second time. If they do get trapped, they suffer the worst as they starve to death or suffocate. Just dumb, I shall say.

Cage Trap: Yes, I have used live cage traps several times to successfully trap rats. And it works, but it’s tougher to trap them with cage, and often times there are many rats, and this is not always feasible to position dozens of cage traps in a pantry.

I will now answer some of the more frequent questions that I receive about rats entering into a building:

How to set the trap for a rat in the pantry?

Place a snap traps on the common spaces rats run – the marks with rat droppings and trampled inѕulаtiоn.


How to trap a rat in the basement?

Position the traps along the walls, along the edges, and everywhere you get to see rats’ feces.

How to trap a rat in the building?

Best trapping spaces are where the rats frequently go – there is no point in setting where rats never run or go.

How to position a rat trap in the ceiling?

If this is a drop ceiling, remove the panels. That is a great place. If not, you have got to run into the attic and set the trap there. In between floors is unreachable, so you have to discover another location where you can go and place snap traps.


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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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