How To Set A Rat Trap

nuisance rats

Rodent trapping has been going on for millennia using everything from the simplest “stick-holding-up-rock” traps, to the most advanced electronic zappers on the market today, and everything in between. If you are experiencing rat activity and need some guidance for how to trap them, this should help point you in the right direction for how to trap a rat.

Locating activity:

It is important to find the entry points for rodents. Sometimes this is quite obvious, like in an exterior shed that has a broken door. But sometimes it can be more tricky. Look around for signs of droppings, chew marks, and rub marks. Droppings often will be more dense around runways that are frequented by rodents. If the entry point is small then often there will be droppings and urine around it because rodents defecate while squeezing through tight spaces. Runways will often be protected areas along walls, behind large objects, along pipes, wires, etc. Check for discolored areas or scratch/chew marks that might demonstrate repeated activity.  

Choosing your traps:

Once runways are located it is important to choose your plan of attack. In our experience, you can successfully catch most rodents using nearly any brand or style of snap trap. Some obviously work better than others, but the key is consistent baiting and proper placement of traps. If you use the wrong type of bait or fail to properly identify a good runway, you leave yourself at risk that the rodents won’t be interested in the new trap and will never go out of their way to investigate it. 

Victor Pro traps:

We recommend using the Victor Pro traps (the wooden ones with a yellow paddle). They are relatively user friendly, allow for variable sensitivity settings, simple to bait, and have a powerful snap pressure. They are also stackable so they don’t take up much space if stored for long periods of time. Lastly, they are cheap – so if you have to throw the entire trap away you aren’t dying quite as much inside vs some of the more expensive plastic traps. However, most people have home depot or some hardware store close by. Home Depot carries the Tomcat brand plastic traps which work fine (I wouldn’t recommend their wooden ones). You can also roll with the classic Victor wood traps with the metal trigger. 

Bating your traps:

Once you’ve got your traps purchased (I’d order 5-6 depending on your activity level) it’s time to bait them. We recommend using peanut butter as the primary bait on rodent traps. You can also mix in chicken feed, bird seed, dog/cat food, or anything other type of food that they might be used to eating around your property. 

Placing your traps:

Once the traps are baited, set them and place them in the runways that you identified at first. You can use two strategies for placement: first, if the runway is along a wall, set the trap facing straight into the wall (so the trigger is closest to the wall). This allows for rats to enter the trap coming from either direction. Another more thorough option is to set the traps sideways along the wall back to back. One facing one direction, and one facing the opposite direction. This, in our opinion, provides the best chance of capture as the traps are primarily designed to catch rodents straight on. The downside of this is that you need more traps to cover a smaller area because you really need one trap facing each direction to get the full affect. 

Final steps:

And there you have it! Check the traps as often as you’d like, but try not to move anything as rodents need time to get used to the new items in their environment. Once the rodents have been caught, clear the traps, rebait, and set them again until activity stops. Another important thing to note is to ensure that the entry point to outside the home are all sealed up prior to beginning to trap. Many companies advocate for waiting until afterwards to seal the holes up, but it tend to prolong the trapping process when rats have outside access to food/water sources. 

Call or text us anytime!

If you ever need assistance with trapping or exclusion feel free to reach out to our customer service team anytime at 503-985-6523. 



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