How To Trap A Rat

How To Catch A Rat

The Best Tips For Rat Trapping Success

rat caught in trap
A rat caught in a Fenn Trap - these WILL break your hand!

Find The Source of Your Rats

Rats are neophobic, meaning they have a fear of anything different in their environment. To counter this, you need to be able to think like a rat would think.

The tips set out below will give you an immediate head start.

Rats can enter a property in many different ways, but the most common is via underfloor voids. They get into the voids via damaged drains, adjoining properties, utility points, building faults, etc.

These need to be repaired quickly, but rats may still be present, even nesting in the building.

rats eat through floor
This is where rats ate through a hallway floor.

The Rats Route

Rats will often have a clear route from a food source to an entry point or origin. This is where they need to be intercepted.

Sometimes smear marks and hairs will be present, or it might be more visible, e.g. you have seen them following the route.

Siting The Rat Trap

At some point along the route, you need to decide the best place for the trap to be sited. The best areas include:

  • Where a natural narrowing occurs. Between a washing machine and the wall, between the bed and the wall, or between the cooker and the kitchen units, etc.
  • Dark Corners. These are natural, safe havens where the rats can hide, unseen if disturbed.
  • Under Kitchen units. Removing the plinths of the kitchen units will often reveal piles of food collected and stored by the rats, and show entry points.
Once the location of any traps has been decided, you need to secure the trap, so once caught the rat can't try and escape with the trap still attached.

It can take a few minutes or more for a large rat to succumb to the trap, so it might easily drag the trap away.

Baiting The Rat Trap

Rat traps come in a variety of different designs. The main thing is to use the right bait correctly.

Bait needs to fix on to the traps to prevent cheeky rats cherry picking it. Baits of every variety can be set in place with super glue, to make sure they don't disappear without a positive activation of the trap.

Simply put - The better the bait is fixed to the trap, the more the Rat will need to agitate it, and the better your chances of success.

What Is The Best Rat Bait?

The best rat bait is often what they've been eating in your home. They will trust it. 

The best bait we have ever tried is Dark Chocolate. The higher the cocoa content, the better the results, it would seem.

When using dark chocolate, it is worth noting a few important points.
  • If conditions are hot, it will melt - especially commercial kitchens and loft spaces in summer.
  • It needs to have one edge melted with a match or lighter  (whatever you feel is safest), and then placed into or onto the trap. It should reset in place very quickly and be resistant to being cherry picked.
  • Sometimes mice or very young rats will be present, and they can strip the bait off the pressure plate without activating the trap. So new mouse traps may also be needed. In these cases, poison may be required for faster results.

When To Trap Rats

Trapping is not recommended in all situations. Traps should be considered a component of rat control, but will not prove useful in cases where large rat populations exist.

In heavily infested premises, traps should be used alongside other measures such as proofing, exclusion and poisons, etc.

Rats prefer to be left alone, so always try to schedule trapping activities at times when the property is empty, or people are in bed.

Also, ensure that traps are always deactivated at times when children or pets might be present. Rat traps can, and do cause injury.

Are Rat Traps Humane?

Any control measure that leads to the death of an animal cannot be considered genuinely humane.

We operate on the premise that exclusion is better than poisons and traps, but the realities are that most elimination can be expensive because it usually involves some kind of construction activity.

Exclusion should always be viewed as an investment and the most humane method of control. Another perspective is that these rodents carry and spread diseases that kill people every year.

We are always going to have these rodents in our environment, and although not entirely humane, we must accept that sometimes control isn't merely a choice, it is a necessity for safety.

Thank you for visiting us.

Simon Berenyi WaspKill UK, Bristol Pest Control