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How To Set a Rat Trap

Rowan Burgess |

No one wants to discover rats on their property. Left unchecked, a few rats can quickly turn into an infestation.  

Rats are destructive to property and can carry and transmit some serious diseases via their droppings and urine. Rat traps are one of the best ways to deal with a rodent problem.

Rat traps come in different forms, with toxic and non-toxic bait. The concept is simple, but you must know how to set the traps correctly.

Find out how to choose the right rodent control solution and follow our step-by-step rat trap installation guide to deal effectively with unwelcome visitors.

How To Set a Rat Trap Step-by-Step

Find the Right Location

Placing traps randomly in an area where you suspect there are rodents simply won’t work. It’s necessary to establish the location of the rat runs to and from the nest.

Rats instinctively walk or scurry along walls or fence lines for protection. They use the whiskers on their face to navigate by touching the solid object. 

Runs are the best place to locate traps rather than out in the open. Choose a dimly lit area where a rodent is more likely to overcome its natural caution to investigate.

Rats often leave tell-tale greasy marks from their coats on buildings or fences or look for evidence of droppings, which they use to mark their territory. 

On the rat run, place multiple traps at least 4.5 metres (around 15 feet) apart and alternate the orientation of the bait station so you can catch rats coming from both directions.

Choosing the Best Kind of Trap

Rat traps have two key components: the lure or bait and the trap itself.

A lot of poison-based bait sold is a coated grain like wheat. Check carefully, though, as some products can only be bought and used by professionals with rodenticide certification. There are also cereal-based chewy blocks and pasta bait options.

Partner the bait with a secure bait box. These have a central tunnel with an entrance and exit point at either end, and the box opens with a key. 

Bait boxes are tamper-resistant, designed to keep the bait safe in the box, away from pets and children, and large enough to allow a rat to enter and exit.

On humane grounds, some people prefer to kill rats instantly. Poisoned bait is not instantaneous. Plus, rats can return to their nests to die, and if that’s somewhere in your house, the smell can be horrific. 

There's also a concern that a non-target species like a barn owl or kestrel may pick up and eat a poisoned rodent.

Electronic rat killers are baited like a conventional rat trap with a highly palatable, non-poison lure. The battery-powered unit delivers a lethal electrical charge that kills the rat in seconds.

Setting the Trap

Modern rat traps are quick and easy to set. Always wear gloves when setting or moving the traps, as human scent may deter rodents from approaching otherwise.

There will be a designated area to place the poison–coated cereal grains or chewy blocks – just load and set the trap in your chosen location.

Other Considerations When Using Rat Traps

Wear Gloves When Handling Rat Traps

You should always wear gloves when holding rat traps to avoid the risk of touching any poisoned bait. 

Rats are neophobic, which means they avoid new things and will avoid anything with human scent on it – another good reason to wear gloves.

Check the Traps Regularly

If rats discover the trap, they can quickly eat a lot of bait. Check the traps regularly to make sure they’re not empty. 

Even though professional rat traps are lockable and tamper-resistant, you should always keep a watchful eye on them to ensure that any bait remains intact inside to protect non-target species and domestic pets.

Use the Correct Number of Traps

One or two rat traps will deal with a couple of rats, but if you have an infestation, you’ll need several traps. Otherwise, the rats will breed faster than you’re able to eliminate them.

Keep setting the traps until the bait remains uneaten and there’s zero evidence of rat activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Bait for a Rat Trap?

There are poison-based baits and non-toxic baits. The rat trap design you choose will dictate the bait you use. 

Electronic rat killers use a non-toxic bait, whereas traditional rat traps use a wheat-based product coated in poison. Some poisoned baits are for professional use only.

Are Rats Smart Enough To Avoid Traps?

Rats are cautious creatures and are naturally suspicious of anything new. Studies have shown them to be intelligent with powerful noses, so they’ll undoubtedly avoid a bait trap if they can smell human scent.

Always wear gloves when placing and setting a trap, and be patient!

Looking for Rat Traps? Shop Dalton Engineering!

Rat traps are the most effective and safe way to deal with unwanted rodents with various bait choices and designs.

An untreated rodent problem won’t go away. Rats multiply quickly and can spread serious diseases and be destructive to property.

For a comprehensive selection of secure rat traps and bait, shop Dalton Engineering. We sell quality rodent control products for homes, farms, and agricultural units that adhere to professional industry standards and are safe to use.