Rat Trapping: How To Trap A Rat

Rats can be a large nuisance in your home, making scampering sounds in the middle of the night when you want to sleep, leaving droppings in inconvenient spots, and contaminating your food. One of the best methods to get rats out of your home or property is to trap them and doing so can be fairly simple. In the case of small to medium infestations, it is frequently possible to take care of the rat problem yourself, but you should seek professional help if there are a large number of rats in your home.

Trap Types
There are two main categories of rat traps: live traps and kill traps. Among rats, most people and experts prefer the kill traps for several reasons. Cage traps are expensive and can only be used to catch one rat at a time, requiring disinfection between each use. If you relocate the rat, it will most likely die anyway as it will not be familiar with the area, giving it an increased risk of being eaten or attacked by a predator.

Among kill traps, the most popular option is the snap trap. This trap is compact enough to fit in tight spaces and they are affordable enough to buy several dozen of in the case of larger infestations. They will typically kill the rat on impact to minimize suffering and while improvements have been made throughout the years, the classic snap trap remains a great option. As an added bonus, these traps have flat bottoms, allowing them to sit level on your desired surface.

The other option is a glue trap, which is also very cheap but cannot be reused like snap traps can. The other problem is that rats will frequently manage to step on the glue trap lightly and still get away or leave a small part, like fur or a limb, behind. Additionally, while snap traps kill the rats instantly, glue traps rely on the rat eventually starving or suffocating to death, a lengthy and agonizing process.

Ideal Rat Baits
The good news about trapping rats is that you won't have to worry a great deal about the bait. In fact, if you place your kill traps correctly, you may not even need bait at all. This is because rats are creatures of habit and tend to follow the same path. Keep in mind, however, that rats are more wary of cage traps so these will typically require bait. One of the best options is peanut butter since it is easy to apply and will stay in place.

Trap Placement
Setting the rat traps in the ideal spot is easy if you know what you are looking for. Look for signs of the typical rat paths as they always follow the same pattern. If you notice droppings in a particular patch around your attic right where the insulation is trampled, place some traps there and you are essentially guaranteed to catch rats. Always put your trap on a firm, flat surface so they trigger correctly. Remember that you need to set as many traps as possible as most rats live in large groups.

Introduce The Trap Slowly
When it comes to live cage traps, rats tend to be overly cautious, meaning that you cannot simply place the trap and wait for it to work. Instead, you will want to slowly get the rat used to the presence of the trap. This means you should first set it out without the trap ready to spring or the door secured open. Place a treat inside and repeat this process for at least a few days. Once the rat has gotten used to the trap and the fact that food is frequently there, you can prime it and will have a greater chance of success.

What To Do With The Rat
After you have caught a rat, you now have to decide what to do with it and the answer varies based on whether you used a live or kill trap. No matter the case, you should never touch a rat; always wear gloves and hold the trap as opposed to the rat when possible. Thoroughly wash your hands when you are done.

Live traps need to be checked at least every 8 hours and once you catch a rat, you will want to relocate them to an area that is preferably a few miles away from you. To increase their chances of success, relocate them as a group and find an area with food, water, and shelter. Keep in mind that some areas have restrictions on rat relocation so always do your research before taking this route. You can also simply catch the rat, quickly repair their entry point to your home, and then release them outside.

In the case of kill traps, your first step should always to double check that the rat is truly dead. If it is not, you need to put it out of its misery. You can do so by suffocating him with carbon dioxide or another inert gas or by applying forceful pressure to break the rat's spinal cord. You can either throw dead rats out with your garbage, preferably double-bagged, or bury them at least a foot deep.

Read the How to get rid of rats page for helpful information and to learn more about Rat Trapping: How To Trap A Rat

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