How do you decide what are the best rat traps & baits? It’s simply a matter of understating the trapping principle, the choice of materials, and understanding that not all rats are attracted to the same kind of bait.
Why do I still recommend traps when there are so many appealing and efficient rat poisons on the market?
Because, if you want to guarantee that a rat goes for a bite, using food-grade bait is always the best choice. On top of that, if you don’t want to kill the rodents, a trap is pretty much the only way to catch them for later release.
8 Best Rat Traps & Baits - Foolproof Options
Here are my favorite picks for catch & release traps and humane kill traps, as well as a few words of wisdom on choosing the best rat bait.
- 8 Best Rat Traps & Baits - Foolproof Options
- Types of Rat Traps
- Foods that Attract Rats
- Outdoor vs Indoor Traps
- Disposable vs. Reusable Traps
The Havahart 0745 is a multipurpose and reusable trap that you can use to catch mice, rats, chipmunks, squirrels, and a slew of other problematic rodents. The trap measures 16” x 6” x 6” which makes it big enough for all common pests.
The design features a single gravity-action door that snaps quickly shut once the rodent activates the trigger. I like that the trigger is sensitive, but not too sensitive to activate the door if you accidentally kick the trap. However, a big earthquake still might trigger it.
If you’re not skillful with your hands, you may appreciate the ready-to-use design. The trap is also easy to set up. Given that the trigger rod is on the outside, it’s easy to pull up and set the door. This also prevents rodents from activating the trigger before reaching the bait.
Another cool thing is that with an exterior trigger rod, the trapped animal will also be safe. So, it’s a humane trap, ideal if you’re looking for a catch-and-release type of trap.
After a renovation or a move into the new home, you don’t always have to start panicking and go on a shopping spree for insecticides, pesticides, and traps. Sometimes, a simple trap/monitor is more than enough.
The Catchmaster Glue Traps are an interesting solution. Each tray, of the 12 included in one pack, has a strong adhesive layer with a protective layer above it. In order to let pests get used to the trap and gather the courage to step on, leave some trays around with the protective cover still on.
Once you peel it off and a rat steps on, it will stay there until you get rid of it. Now you could pull the rat off yourself. Alternatively, you can just dispose of the tray with the rats still attached. Eventually the glue will wear off and they’ll be able to free themselves.
What are the drawbacks of the Catchmaster glue trays? Considering that they’re also foldable and can be placed inside tunnels and other confined places, there aren’t many downsides besides the fact that you can’t reuse the traps.
If you’ve always wanted to use a Tom & Jerry rat trap, I have a proposal you might like – the Victor Metal Pedal Rat Trap. It has that classic design, it snaps quickly, and gets the job done without making a big mess of things.
The trap is fairly easy to use, too. You unhook the kill bar, place the bait, pull back the kill bar, and then hook the metal pedal with the long hook. Be sure to apply some pressure with the non-dominant hand in order to get enough leverage to set the hook.
You may also appreciate the fact that the trap is made in the good ol’ U.S. of A. and from environmentally friendly wood. Operational efficiency aside, you’ll have to follow some important guidelines in order to make sure that rats will take the bait.
First, use two or three different types of baits if you don’t know what type of rats you may have. Secondly, use a toothpick or something else of a neutral odor to apply the bait. You don’t want to leave your own scent all over the trap.
Ever wondered what smoked rat meat smells like? If you’re using something like the Ebung Electronic Rodent Zapper to eliminate rats, you might as well find out. The 7000V discharge from the Ebung zapper kills instantly, meaning that the rats won’t have to suffer.
There are two more things that I really like about this trap. First, you don’t have to touch the rat to dispose of it. Simply, tip the trap and shake the rodent loose straight into your trash can. Secondly, the trap can run on a four-pack of D batteries, which means that you won’t be dependent on a free power outlet.
The rodent tunnel is 3.32” x 3.42”. This makes it big enough for most common household rats and quite a few other rodents too, like mice and chipmunks. And, unlike with a mosquito zapper, there are no fumes that may stink up your place.
Although I can’t recommend this for outdoor use, it doesn’t mean that the trap isn’t built like a tank. On the exterior it measures 11”x4.5”x5” and it features hard shell construction that protects the electronics from heavy impacts.
Animal cage trap is a bit of a stretch, but this Kensizer cage trap can fit a wide range of rodents, including rats. I like this one because of its lightweight aluminum frame and sturdy build. The sensitive trigger mechanism will work in your favor too, as it will quickly shut the door behind the critter and keep it inside.
Although large, at 12.5” x 6.5” x 5”, the trap has only one entrance which means that it can’t catch multiple critters at the same time. But, slow and steady wins the race. Besides, you can use whatever type of bait you want, as long as you cover that side of the cage when you leave it outside.
You may also appreciate the fact that this trap is more budget-friendly than many other models of similar design. And, even though it’s not made of galvanized steel, aluminum is a good budget alternative for outdoor application. As long as the trigger mechanism is protected, which it is, there’s not a lot to worry about.
The Kensizer Mouse & Rat Glue Board is simply impressive. Similar to your regular glue trays, the glue board catches any small rodent, insect, or reptile that gets on it. The adhesive is evenly distributed and very strong, capable of keeping rats stuck on it for more than a few days.
The board is flexible, which offers a great advantage. You can place it in tunnels and all sorts of tight spots. This will also make it easy to keep the glue board out of sight, meaning that pets and kids can’t get to it and get stuck.
There’s another reason why I recommend a quality glue board over other types of traps. A glue board is much safer to use in the kitchen. It doesn’t contain any harmful toxins that can get in your food or water.
Even better, there’s no need to touch the rat to get it off the board. If you flip the board and shake it hard, the rat will come loose.
The Strong jaws on the Tomcat Rat Snap Trap are menacing, to say the least. But, that’s nothing that a piece of good bait won’t help solve. This is one of the safer snap traps you can set inside your home. Unlike others, this design doesn’t need you to use your hands. You can set it just as easily with your foot.
You may want to place the trap perpendicular to a wall or a piece of furniture. That will give it some extra stability while also making it sit in the path most likely for rats to take. The trap is built out of a combination of metal and hard plastic. The metal has anti-rust coating which will also help it last longer outside in the harsh weather.
Escaping the trap is out of the question. The interlocking teeth design on the jaws seals it nicely. And, it is powerful enough to take care of fat rats. You may also like the removable bait cup. This makes setting the trap that much safer since you can add the bait without setting the trap.
Snap traps are efficient, but not all of them can guarantee a humane kill. The Made2Catch Snap Rat Trap has a very powerful spring action kill bar. Unless you’re dealing with exceptionally large rats, the kill will be instantaneous.
The trap’s durability is also impressive. Unlike traditional snap or pedal traps, this Made2Catch is made entirely out of galvanized steel. What this means is that the trap will be just as efficient inside as it is outside. Galvanized steel will fare well against harsh weather conditions and impact damage.
Given the smooth operation of the spring-loaded mechanism, setting the trap doesn’t require too much force. This is a safe to use trap and it’s quite small, too. Because of this you’ll be able to place it in tight spaces and under floor cabinets.
Types of Rat Traps
Rat traps come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, and with various trigger mechanisms. In order to keep things simple, here’s what you need to know. Classic pedal pressure-activated traps are kill traps. They require some bait and you will usually need more than one to solve a rat infestation. However, they’re always reusable.
Cage traps can be kill traps too, but they’re often catch-and-release contraptions. Glue traps immobilize rats, but they can also hurt them a bit since the adhesive is usually very strong. These are your traditional traps and each is available in a huge number of variations.
Rodent zappers belong to the modern class of rat traps. These are essentially beefed up versions of the widely used mosquito zappers. They can deliver thousands of volts in an instant which results in a humane kill, but a kill nonetheless.
Regardless of the type of trap you decide to use, you’ll also have to use bait to catch or kill your rats. That’s why picking the right bait is perhaps more important than the trap design when it comes to efficiency.
Foods that Attract Rats
Contrary to popular belief, if you want to trap rats, using cheese as bait is not always the best idea. There are other foods that can be equally effective, if not more. Bacon, chocolate, dried fruit, and the always popular peanut butter, among many others.
It’s important to understand that different rat species will have different dietary preferences. Brown rats prefer bacon and chocolate. Black rats, on the other hand, will prefer foods that they can find in the wild - think berries, dried fruits, nuts, and even slugs or insects.
But, at the end of the day, peanut butter will always be a good alternative if you run out of commercial bait. Now, when it comes to cheese, rats do like it but it’s just not going to work every time. The thing you have to understand is that for cheese to be bait it should be very smelly. Your regular processed yellow cheese that you use in your grilled cheese sandwich won’t do much good.
One more thing you should keep in mind is this - rats don’t eat large amounts of bait. That’s because they can’t vomit. In order to avoid poisoning, they resort to taking very small bites. This means that once you find bait that works you should stick to it until your rat problem is over. Switching things up will make the rats wary of what they sense.
Outdoor vs Indoor Traps
Not all traps can be used everywhere. Classic pedal traps are usually used inside homes, stores, and garages. That’s because they’re mostly made of wood which is often not of the highest quality. Exposure to the elements can cause the wood to expand and mess up the trigger’s sensitivity.
Cage trap is the best option for outdoor use. Either that or tunnel traps. Cage is usually made of galvanized steel which has great waterproofing features. It also features a foolproof mechanism that won’t get triggered by accident, light rain, or the blowing wind.
One issue you may face is that an open cage can ruin the bait. Instead, using a tunnel trap or a fully covered plastic cage might be a better solution.
Lastly, we have rodent zappers. These are definitely traps you don’t want to leave outside unless it’s the middle of the summer and the weather is dry. Although these traps are enclosed and well-protected, they’re rarely completely waterproof.
Disposable vs. Reusable Traps
Some people choose disposable traps because they don’t want to touch a dead rat to get rid of it. While there’s nothing wrong with that, you have to carefully balance you budget before making the final decision.
Reusable traps are more economical. And, you’ll be able to set them up faster and faster each time. It is worth noting that disposable traps may sometimes be flimsy. They may even be less efficient since many manufacturers design them with quantity instead quality in mind.
Another thing you may want to consider is how you want to dispose of your rats. Reusable traps allow you to catch and release rats in the wild in a safe and sound manner. Disposable traps are almost always kill-traps. Again, since not all manufacturers make high-end disposable traps, the kill method may be less than humane at times.
Never Underestimate the Bait
You may be getting yourself the best rat trap on the market, but it will only be as efficient as the bait you plan on using. Now, as far as options go, as you can see, there are various ways to trap or kill rats of all sizes. It’s just a matter of choosing something that fits your affinity towards rodents and your budget.
All traps in this article will do the job, provided that you use good bait and that you place them in a high-traffic area. There’s no need to pay a professional exterminator hundreds of dollars to take care of a few rodents for you.