Catching Rats

Table of Contents

Are you facing a rat infestation? Catching and dealing with rats is oftentimes not as simple as laying down a few traps. Rats are fairly smart and inventive creatures that can hide, climb, and communicate. You’ll need some tips to catch rats, straight from the professionals.

8 Tips for Catching Rats

There are a number of ways to catch the rats in your home. Since rats love to live in human structures, they can be big trouble to deal with. It takes tools, know-how, and cunning to catch rats—you need effective trapping tools, the appropriate bait, and appropriate safety measures to properly deal with them. If you find rats on your property, here are the best ways to deal with them. These tips for how to catch a rat are straight from the best in the business.

1. Placing Rat Traps Wisely Will Increase the Chances of Catching a Rat

There are good and bad places to position any trap. The very worst place is beneath a light fixture in the center of a room. Rats, as a species, prefer to be touching surfaces as they move along. Only very hungry and desperate rats will seek out a baited trap in the middle of a room that’s far away from any furniture or objects. This is why it’s so important to place traps near walls and corners, in the path of where they like to travel.

The best locations are near/underneath furniture, or in closets with the doors left open. You can also make tunnels for your traps by cutting out both ends of a cardboard box, or you can set out traps near the door that’s furthest from the exterior door and then work your way inward.

Camera traps are always a good option—these are movement-detection video cameras that will record the rats and let you know where to place further traps. These cameras are typically equipped with special sensors that can film rats in the dark, and they allow you to set up phone alerts.

2. Choose the Appropriate Bait to Trap a Rat

Mouse traps with a slice of cheese scattered on the floor.

There are a number of baits you can choose when setting a rat trap, but a few baits remain at the top of the list because of their usefulness.

  1. Cheese: You might not be surprised to see cheese as the number one—just like the cartoons say, rats love cheese! However, we do need to specify the cheese here. Rats want cheese that’s high in flavor and very odious. This is bait, so the odor needs to lure the rats directly into the trap.  Rats can retrieve their food very quickly, and as soon as they have their prize they will book it straight back to their hiding spot. If you use a big piece of cheese it will make it more difficult to haul away, forcing them to sit at the trap and gnaw. 
  2. Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is a great trap bait because it’s sticky, it’s sweet, and it’s pungent, which is everything you need for the perfect rat bait. Rats adore peanut butter, and they’ll go out of their way to lick any surface clean of the stuff. It’s a good idea to set up your bait with the crunchy peanut butter so the rat spends more time around the trap.
  3. Seeds: Rats will not turn down a good seed. Sunflower seeds remain the most popular choice for rait baits, especially if they are coated in salt. You can also use salty sunflower seeds to suss out if you have a rat problem at all—leave some out in your home, and if they’re disturbed by morning you have a potential problem. 
  4. Tootsie Rolls: Wait, Tootsie Rolls? Rats actually go crazy for chocolate, and you can modify your Rolls in such a way that it makes for an enticing and dangerous bait. If you roll the Tootsie Rolls up into a ball, it makes for a sticky goal that the rats can gnaw on for a while, increasing the chance the trap will trip. 
  5. Bacon: Bacon is a salty treat that rats can smell from a great distance, and if the bacon is crunchy or glued to the trap, rats will work on it until the trap is sprung. The only downside to bacon is that it will go bad much faster than these other baits, and is more expensive. It’s best used in conjunction with other baits to make your traps even more enticing.

Additional Pro Tips: Slightly melt the cheese and place it on the trap so that it sticks. For peanut butter, combine it with another bait to make an extremely alluring setup. For seeds, glue them to the trap. 

3. Cut Other Food Sources

When you limit or cut off a rat’s primary food source, the rats will seek out whatever is available. If you completely cut off any possible food sources except the bait, they will have no choice but to seek out your traps. Put all your food up high and away, seal everything with airtight lids, and make sure there’s no way for rats to sneak into your pantry, storage, or refrigerator. Then set up your baits and traps in the ideal locations and wait for them to spring.

4. Make the Rats Trust Your Traps

Mousetrap

Rats are not stupid creatures. They have enough smarts to stay suspicious of their environments, and they will be apprehensive of any changes. They understand traps, and will not be easily lured. One of the most effective ways to get rid of your rats for good is to make the rats unbothered by the potential traps. You can set up fake, safe traps and let them eat off the springboards. Once the rats understand that this is their food source, they will return for the real traps, which will take them out.

5. Spread Pre-Bait in Areas Frequented by Rats

Rats can be quite fearful, and are not accustomed to trying new things because they stay safe by repeating the same actions and finding comfortable environments. They also dislike being introduced to new foods, and even if you lay out peanut butter and cheese, they might not bite.

They won’t trust your traps at first, especially if the traps are baited with unfamiliar food. You may have to lay down “pre-bait” that introduces your bait to their diet, so that they will end up caught in your traps. Whatever bait you decide to use, lay it out in places the rats frequent so that they will take it back to their nests and accept it as a major part of their new food source. Once you eliminate their caution, it will be easier to get them to go for your traps.

Rats can be quite fearful, and are not accustomed to trying new things because they stay safe by repeating the same actions and finding comfortable environments. They also dislike being introduced to new foods, and even if you lay out peanut butter and cheese, they might not bite.

They won’t trust your traps at first, especially if the traps are baited with unfamiliar food. You may have to lay down “pre-bait” that introduces your bait to their diet, so that they will end up caught in your traps. Whatever bait you decide to use, lay it out in places the rats frequent so that they will take it back to their nests and accept it as a major part of their new food source. Once you eliminate their caution, it will be easier to get them to go for your traps.

6. Use Gloves While Setting Traps Up

Always stay safe when dealing with pests. Rats are filthy, disease-carrying creatures. They’re not only a physical nuisance but they can affect your home or office spaces with illnesses, getting people sick and making your surfaces unsafe to touch. When setting up your traps, you want to wear gloves for a few reasons. First, you want to make sure that your human smell is not around the trap—you only want the rat to smell the enticing bait. Second of all, if you’re placing the traps down in areas that the rats regularly frequent, there could be traces of urine or fecal matter. Keep yourself safe by wearing gloves.

7. Put Some Traps Outside

These furry pests typically invade your house because there is a rat population nearby that’s growing in numbers. If rats have found their way in, that’s typically because there is a lack of security somewhere. Sealing gaps and plugging holes is only part of the battle—you need to make sure rats cannot move freely about your property.

Rats will find their way onto the roof of any home by climbing trees, crawling across branches, or finding other ways up via objects that are too close to the house. You can trim back the vegetation on your property and push any objects back and away from your home so that they have less ways to get indoors. Once you’ve made your home harder to get into, place baited traps near your fence, your trees, your garbage cans, and other places that rats frequent.

8. Set Up A Camera

Set up a triggered camera in your home so that you can see the comings and goings of the rats. Many of these in-home cameras can send alerts straight to your phone, and you’ll be able to find the frequent paths of these furry invaders.

Setting up a trail cam is a great idea to make sure you’re placing your traps in the right place and that you know where the rats are getting in. Trail cams are specially designed to watch animals, they can be used at night, and they send alerts to your phone. They work just as well for rodents as they do for deer, and there are a number of cameras on the market that are great for any price range. If you’re placing the trail cams outside to figure out where the rats are coming from, there are solar powered trail cams with easy setups.

Conclusion

Catching rats can be a lot of trouble. There are a number of ways to make the setup easier, but ultimately rat-catching can be met with frustration when the rats don’t do what you want them to do. They’re smart and wily creatures, and it can take some time to properly establish working baits, set up traps, find their regular paths and deal with them in the long run.

Fortunately, Hama Pest Control are no strangers to rats. We have spent decades in the Toronto area fighting pesky rat problems, and our ethical and humane pest removal has been widely praised. If you’re facing a rat menace that you can’t handle alone, call your friends at Hama. We’re always happy to help you get rid of rats!

Jake Garza
Jake Garza
Jake is the founder of Hama Pest Control, the preferred choice for pest removal and extermination in the Greater Toronto Area. With over thirty years of experience, Jake prides himself in bringing quality, knowledge, and care to Hama Pest Control's customers.
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