Rats are the most infamous of animals these days, known to be difficult to kill. A rat infestation can be a serious problem. Not only will these animals eat food and leave unsanitary droppings in their new refuge, but they can also spread potentially harmful parasites (like fleas), and diseases (like hantavirus and worse, the Black Death). To deal with a rat problem, start by setting traps as soon as possible and be prepared to seek professional help if the infestation escalates.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing a trap
Step 1. Buy multiple traps
Once you've identified a rat infestation, you'll need to quickly think about how to end it. The sooner you start trapping the rats, the less likely they are to multiply. First, go to a local hardware store and purchase several rat traps. The more traps you set, the more likely you are to catch rats. Most rat killing traps are inexpensively available, so it's not a bad idea to buy one or two more than what you think you need. If the extra money you will have to spend on buying more traps allows you to eradicate rats for good, this investment is definitely worth it. To learn more about the different types of rat traps available, check out the steps below.
The only exception here is when using the traps intended to capture the live animal. Since this type of trap is almost always considerably more expensive than regular rat traps, the investment will be higher. Live animal capture traps are best suited for dealing with a small rat infestation, such as when there are only one or two rats roaming your home. If you have to fight a larger amount, you run the risk of not being able to catch all of the rats before they multiply. For more information on traps intended to capture the live animal, see below
Step 2. Use spring traps
The Classic Wooden Spring Trap is a proven and effective way to start trapping rats. These traps work using a metal wire that wraps around the rat's neck when the rat tries to grab the bait. Usually spring traps come in several sizes, so make sure you get the one that's large enough to kill the rats in your home. Avoid using traps that are too small, as they can maim the rat without killing it or cause slow death by strangulation.
- The pros: When properly used, it kills rats quickly and effectively. Traps are reusable and are basically effective forever until set, so they can be left semi-permanently in “problem areas”.
- The disadvantages: this type of trap can occasionally injure. You can injure yourself if the trap is accidentally triggered.
Step 3. Use sticky traps
Sticky traps are thick sheets of paper covered with a very sticky adhesive with a space in the middle for the bait. When the rat tries to take the bait, its legs will be stuck in the glue. As he struggles to free himself, his mouth gets caught in the glue and he will suffocate. While sticky traps are considered effective enough at killing mice, there is some doubt as to their effectiveness against rats, as the latter are larger and stronger than mice. Even large rat-sized sticky traps still may not kill the rat, so you may need to finish it yourself.
- The advantages: this type of trap is less expensive and is disposable. It can also accidentally catch insects, spiders, etc.
- Cons: Sticky traps won't always kill rats quickly. Sometimes they won't kill them at all, but will force you to have to. This solution is considered inhumane by most animal welfare associations such as PETA. Sticky traps are not always effective and over time the glue will gradually dry out.
Step 4. Use poison traps
Usually poison-based rat traps come in the form of prepackaged poison. The latter is placed in a place where the rat is likely to find it by chance, it eats it, moves away, and subsequently, dies. Although the poison is an effective means of killing rats, apart from all methods of trapping, the poison often poses serious dangers to small children and pets, therefore it is of crucial importance to use this type of trap responsibly.
- The advantages: this trap requires little maintenance. You only have to verify that the rats are dead, as the rats will leave the trap and die elsewhere. If you don't have small children or pets, the poison can be left behind on a semi-permanent basis. The poison trap is a good choice to send rats to rodent heaven.
- Cons: The poisoned animal can often take hours or days to die. Sometimes rats don't eat enough poison. With this type of poison, you can accidentally poison pets, small children, or non-harmful animals if you abuse it. In internal rat infestations, rats can die in inaccessible parts of the residence and begin to decompose with a foul odor.
Step 5. Instead, use a trap designed to capture the live animal
It is also possible to get rid of your visitors without necessarily having to kill them. Traps intended to capture the living animal (which are usually small steel cages) can catch rats without harming them. This type of trap usually works by luring the rat with a bait placed on a pressure-sensitive surface. When the rat steps on the surface, the cage flaps close and you capture the live rat in the trap. If you are using a live animal capture trap, be sure to use one that is small enough that rats cannot escape. As a general rule, if a rat can fit its head between the bars of the cage, it can easily slip through. A few large rats can even fit through spaces as small as 1.3 inches wide.
- The advantages: you don't hurt the rat. He is considered human by most animal welfare groups including PETA.
- Cons: This type of trap is relatively expensive and requires intensive labor, the trap must be frequently checked and emptied whenever a rat is caught. It does not, however, guarantee that rats will not be a problem in the future.
Step 6. Consider pets or children
When choosing your traps, it is important to take into account any people or animals living in your home who could accidentally fall victim to your trap, namely, pets and small children. If you have pets or small children, you may not have to avoid all deadly traps, but you should be prepared to take all necessary precautions to ensure that your children and pets will not have access to the traps. So you will probably need to keep an eye on your child or pet at all times when they are near the traps. If necessary, it would also be necessary to create means of physical protection with barriers or place the traps in places inaccessible to your pets or children.
- Large spring traps can potentially cause serious injury especially to small pets, such as small dogs, ferrets, hamsters, etc. If large animals and children step on one of the traps, they may still be at risk of broken bones or nicks etc.
- Sticky traps can cause severe pain and discomfort if a pet or child steps on them. In rare cases, the sticky trap can be fatal if it touches the area around a child's mouth and nose. To remove it, rub baby oil on the affected part and remove the glue with a spoon.
- The poison can cause problems by creating severe pain depending on the amount ingested. If you have noticed that your pet or child has taken rat poison, immediately contact your nearest poison control center. The help you get may save their lives.
Step 7. Call an exterminator for major rat infestations
While it's possible to get rid of lots of rats with your own traps, sometimes it's best to leave the problem to the professionals. If you are unable to capture the rats yourself or think the infestation is out of your control, call an exterminator immediately. Most pest control companies provide qualified exterminators who use a wide variety of solutions, including mechanical traps, hygienic "kill and seal" mouse traps, ultrasonic repellents and rat poison. Signs of a heavy infestation include certain signs.
- Rats visible in the open air. Most rats like to hide as much as possible, so if you see them regularly, chances are there are several.
- The frequent appearance of small granules which are in fact excrement.
- Greasy and dirty marks along the walls.
- Bite or snack marks in stored foods.
- Small gnawed openings in the corners of walls and cupboards.
- Signs of infestation that don't seem to go away even though you think all the rats have been caught.
Part 2 of 3: setting traps
Step 1. Place bait on your traps before placing them somewhere
Once you have chosen and purchased your traps, you will need to find some bait (except for poison traps, which use poison as bait). Put your bait in the place indicated in the user manual usually supplied with the trap. For instant traps, the bait will normally need to be placed on the platform opposite the swingarm. Sticky traps, on the other hand, often have a clamp in the middle, on which the bait can be set. Usually, live capture traps have a similar bait platform in the center. Your bait should be a small amount of food that is palatable to rats. Do not place a bait that is too large, otherwise the rat will be able to take it easily, without however triggering the trap. Some common examples of rat bait are listed below:
- peanut butter
- bacon or meat,
- most fruits and vegetables,
- cereals or cheese (obviously),
- rat baits are available in some hardware stores, pet stores or on the internet.
Step 2. Look for rat-like droppings
These are the most used indices. One of the biggest telltale signs of a rat problem is the presence of little brown droppings. Wherever you find this droppings, you can place a trap. If a rat has been to one place before, there's a good chance they'll come back.
Be careful when handling or cleaning up rat droppings. Some illnesses like hantavirus can be caught accidentally by sucking or inhaling small particles of rat droppings. Wear gloves and a face shield when disposing of rat droppings, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly when finished
Step 3. Place traps used indoors along walls and in corners
For rat problems in your home, it's often best to place traps directly next to walls and in corners where rats (or rat droppings) have been spotted. Rats hate going outdoors, where they can be easily seen. So setting traps on the floor right in the middle of a room is unlikely to catch rats, unless they're in an area where you've particularly noticed their presence before.
If you are using spring traps, place them perpendicular to the wall so that the end of the bait touches it. This forces the animals to touch the platform on which the bait is located if they want to continue their journey along the wall
Step 4. Place your external traps wisely
It is recommended to do this on restricted paths and under foliage. Rats can be difficult to capture outside because it is difficult to predict their movements. Try to place the traps along confined areas where you have observed rats before, such as tree branches, the top edges of fences, gutters, etc. You may also want to place a few traps under the dense foliage, as rats like the security and cover that thick bushes and shrubs can provide.
If you have time, try spending a few minutes looking for the small, narrow tracks in the grass, these are the paths rats use to get in and out. Setting traps along rat tracks is a great way to start capturing these animals
Step 5. Consider setting traps outside for a few days
Rats may be wary of new objects that suddenly appear in their usual path. This can make them reluctant to enter the traps, even if the bait you have placed is appetizing. In this case, you may want to ditch your "unarmed" traps for a few days, so that the rats have a chance to get used to them. Then add the baits and replace the traps in the same places. Rats will certainly approach without fear, so there's a good chance they'll capture one (or more) successfully.
Step 6. Regularly check your traps
Once you've set the traps, get into the habit of checking them once a day to see if any rats have been caught. You should not discover a captured rat several days after it has died, as the corpses of rotting rats have a very unpleasant odor. There will likely be insects and other parasites as well as some very unhealthy microorganisms. For more information, see the section below on how to get rid of rats after catching them.
It is also important to check the traps intended to capture live rats. Leaving a rat alive in a cage for a long time can be potentially fatal especially in very hot or cold areas where the rat is vulnerable and without food
Part 3 of 3: Get Rid of Trapped Rats
Step 1. Do not touch the rats with your bare hands
While not all rats carry dangerous diseases or parasites, some do. It is therefore very important to take appropriate measures to protect yourself when you want to get rid of rats (dead or alive). Wear thick gloves and avoid touching the rat itself, instead just grab hold of the trap. Take off your gloves and wash your hands when you are done getting rid of the rats, and never touch your face, eyes or mouth after touching a rat (or its trap) without your having cared for it. wash your hands well.
Step 2. Kill any rats that are injured
Unfortunately, death traps don't always work perfectly. Sometimes you can find a captured rat that cannot escape because it is injured, but is still alive.In this case, the most humane thing to do is to bring the animal out of its misery by killing it very quickly and correctly. Leaving an injured rat in the wild is likely to cause it to die a relatively painful death, starvation, or be eaten.
- Although several animal welfare associations (such as PETA) ban the use of lethal traps, among the more traditional pest control resources, two methods of euthanasia are usually considered acceptable for rodents: complete dislocation of the cervical spine and asphyxiation. The first method involves fracturing the rat's spinal cord by squeezing the bottom of its neck with quick, powerful pressure, while asphyxiation involves putting the rat in a small container and drowning it or using inert gas. like carbon dioxide.
- For more information on this topic, see the following wikiHow article: How to Get Rid of Rats.
Step 3. Bury or discard the dead rats
If you find a dead rat in your trap, getting rid of it is often very simple: carefully place the rat in a plastic bag and throw it in your outdoor trash can or dig a hole a few inches deep and bury it.. If you dig a hole, make sure it is deep enough, as neighboring pets could dig up the rat carcass.
In the case of sticky traps, you have to lay the entire trap with the dead rat. Do not reuse sticky traps. They will not work as well the second time around, because at first it can be very difficult to get the rat off the trap properly
Step 4. Release the rats alive in the open air
If you caught a rat in a live capture trap, simply take it outside, place the trap on the ground, and carefully open the trap door to let it go. If you care about the rat's survival, release it as far away from your house as possible, such as in a field or in a forest. Freeing rats into unfamiliar territory makes them much more vulnerable to predators and starvation.
Note that if you release a rat alive in the wild, there is the possibility that it will find its way back to your house. In this case, it is important to protect your home from rodents to ensure that the root cause of the rat infestation is eliminated. This involves removing all food residue, sealing the holes on the outside of your house with putty or steel, avoiding any mess in order to eliminate potential nesting spots. For more information, see the following wikiHow article: How to keep rodents away from your home
Step 5. As soon as you finish, wash your hands and clean your trap
When you've got rid of a rat, take off your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly to kill any bacteria the rat may have passed on to you. After this, you can wash your trap thoroughly and clean it for future use (except in the case of sticky traps which are not meant to be reused).
- If you have a hammer and nails handy, don't just place the spring traps on the ground. Nail them to walls, doors and other vertical surfaces. This can be useful for catching rats as they pass along steep surfaces.
- Another great option for rat fighting is having a cat or dog that is good at hunting rodents, such as a schnauzer, rat terrier, jack russell, dachshund, yorkshire terrier, etc.