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Do-It-Yourself Rat Control


Part 1: Non-Chemical Rat Control

The most important factor to consider when controlling Norway rats is population control. Killing individual rats is not enough; the idea is to control the entire population of rats in a given area, lest "new" rats move into treated areas as quickly as the "old" rats are exterminated.

Area-wide rat population control begins with taking actions to make an area less able to support a rat population, such as:

Trapping Rats

Trapping offers several advantages over chemical control methods:

Types of Rat Traps

The following are some of the more popular and effective of the many rat traps available toddy.

Rat snap trapCheap, effective, and easy to use, snap traps are still among the most popular rat traps around. For best results, snap traps should be "pre-baited" without setting the bail for several days; and then when the rats have overcome their initial fear and have begun to take the bait, re-bait them and set them all on the same evening.

Snap traps should be set with the trigger end in the rats' travel paths, and only in areas inaccessible to children, pets, and non-target animals. Peanut butter, gumdrop candies, bread dough, and salami have all been used effectively as baits.

Snap traps are available at most hardware stores or can be purchased online here.


Rat Glue BoardRat glue traps are another popular non-chemical rat control device. They are considered somewhat safer than snap traps, which can cause serious injuries to human fingers and toes if accidentally touched.

Glue boards work only in dry, relatively clean areas. A rat with wet feet can walk right across a glue board without getting stuck.

Rats who get stuck to the traps may not die for quite some time after getting stuck, which many people find cruel. In addition, if the rat is still alive when you check the trap, then you will have to kill it yourself. If this makes you squeamish, or if you feel glue boards are inhumane, then don't use glue boards.

Otherwise, you can purchase glue boards online here.


Victor Rat ZapperElectrocution rat traps are a newer, cleaner, and more humane way to non-chemically control rats.

The traps are baited with a suitable bait (peanut butter, cheese, oats, salami, nesting materials, etc.) and placed in the rats' travel paths. When a rat enters the trap, it immediately receives a lethal electric shock.

The Rat Zapper Trap trap pictured on the right is considered one of the best available and can be purchased online here.


Rat-sized Havahart trapLive traps usually trap animals unharmed so they can be released elsewhere (although sometimes the animals may injure themselves trying to get out of the traps). Unlike the other traps on this page, live traps can also be used outdoors and pose little risk to non-target animals, who can simply be released if they are caught. The Tomahawk Small Animal Trap is one of the best available.

In some areas, live-trapping of rats and/or releasing trapped rats may be illegal due to their being considered a public health threat; so check with your local authorities first.

Tips for Using Rat Traps

Whatever traps you choose, the following tips will help improve the chances of a successful outcome:

Next: Chemical Rat Control