Rats are one of the most common rodents that live with humans. They always find the smallest reason to find their way into our surroundings even when they are least welcome.

The presence of rats or mice is frustrating – they nibble your food, release their droppings, and urinate around your home.

The latter is especially dangerous since ingestion of dried rat urine can cause infections such as leptospirosis. This makes them a dangerous pest; one that needs to be eliminated immediately especially if you live with pets and small children.

Safe to assume you’re experiencing a rat infestation since you’re reading this post.

Well, it is about time you learned the effective ways to catch rats and other rodents. This is exactly what this article will provide you with.

Before we proceed, let’s discuss what rats look like, their reproduction, and feeding habit.

What You Need to Know about Rats

Understanding what rats look like, their reproduction, and what they need to survive could help you easily control this rodent.

So here are the basic things you need to know.

Their Appearance

Rats are popular rodents that are between 9 to 11 inches long. Male rats are generally bigger than female rats. They have chewing mouthpart, a tail, and hair on their body which comes in varying colors and patterns owing to their breeding.

how to catch a rat

The most common ones are black, brown, gray, tan, and white. Other exotic colors include siamese, silver black, blue, cinnamon pearl, lilac, etc.

Nonetheless, there are also hairless and tailless rats that are born without furs or a tail respectively.

Rats Reproduce Rapidly

In many cases, female rats can mate up to 500 times in six hours. And brown rats can give birth to over 2,000 babies within a year. A single litter can consist of 22 young ones.

Because rats have a gestation period that is typically less than one month, they can reproduce so rapidly and this can easily get out of control.

Once the rat population starts growing within your house, you will notice increased damage and droppings, which is why you need to control them early.

What do rats need to survive?

All homeowners must understand that rats (whether Norway rats or roof rats) need 3 things to thrive.

These includes:

1. Food

Rats are omnivorous pests which imply that these critters can eat anything that they see. Typically, rats consume trash and left-over food. And in the absence of this, they hunt their own prey and feed on other animals like birds and lizards.

2. Water

As unbelievable as it sounds, rats also take water.

However, they can go for a month without it. This is because they find enough water in the food they eat. When the need arises for them to consume water, they often find enough in the drains, and pipes within the walls.

3. Shelter

Rats find a safe place where they can hide or nest.

In the wild, these critters seek shelter in grasses, weeds, and other plants. Within the house, they often hide behind the walls, under the furniture, or in dark corners of areas that are rarely used within the house. Many of them also make their nests inside or under appliances.

Now that you know the 3 essential things rats survive on, you can easily control the rodent population within your by destroying their shelter, food, and water source.

What Is The Best Way to Catch A Rat?

As we mentioned earlier, rats and mice are not just frustrating to have around, their presence can be dangerous to human health. As such, it is only natural to want to keep them away from your property.

Fortunately, there are many pest methods for this rodent control.

Let’s quickly go over the best ones:

1. Set up rat traps in the right places

Instinctively, rats make use of fences and walls as their guides.

This makes them highly unlikely to roam around at the center of your yard or room. As a result, you can set snap traps to catch them. To make this method effective, you should place rat traps close to the wall or along any other part, they walk on.

If you wish to increase the chances of catching rats with snap traps, you can place these rat traps inside your closet, alongside your furniture, which could include chairs, sofas, among others.

A smart way to go about this rodent control method is to lure it into snap traps by cutting a hole on each side of a shoebox and setting this along a suspected path of these critters.

This prompts the rats to enter. Once they enter, they become entrapped and won’t be able to get out.

2. Bait traps according to what a rat feeds on

One of the most effective means that can help to catch a rat is to bait the snap traps with the rat’s diet.

However, you must understand that different mouse species are attracted to different kinds of food. So, the bait you will use in the rat traps during your pest control depends on the kind you’re dealing with.

Black rats, for instance, are herbivorous so it is drawn to peanut butter. In contrast, brown rats are omnivorous and they find smelly cheese irresistible.

Irrespective of the species you are dealing with, ensure that the diet you use gives out a strong smell so they can easily lure the rodent into the rat traps.

3. Make rats trust traps

These rodents are simply not as stupid and naive as most people would regard them to be. In many cases, a rat gets suspicious when they see a new object in the environment. For this reason, your rat traps could fail to trap rats – or mice – if introduced the wrong way.

How then do you set your trap?

It is simple.

Anytime you want to use the trapping method, your first duty is to accustom the rat to trap before setting them.

As such, if you want to introduce a rat trap, ensure that you place the trap in an active area without setting it. Then, ensure that these pests (Norway rats and roof rats) feed off it. Next, keep an eye out to observe if the trap is not scaring the rodent away.

Once you ascertain this, you can proceed to bait the snap trap with the right diet and set it along their path.

4. Employ the use of the right rat traps

An adult rat that grows up to 9 to 11 inches requires a snap trap that is bigger than its size to trap it effectively.

Unfortunately, most homeowners do not know the difference between a mouse and a rat. This makes it hard for them to differentiate between the type of infestation they are facing and the kind of trap to use.

A mouse has an average length that ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches.

Before you can choose the best rat traps to carry out pest control, it is imperative that you know if you are dealing with a mouse or a rat. For instance, while the paw print of a brown rat is about 20mm wide, that of a mouse is typically under 10mm in width.

Besides this, rat droppings are about the size of a pumpkin seed. On the contrary, mice droppings have a size that is similar to that of a sunflower kernel. You should also know that while rats and mice both find shelter inside homes, the former is also active outdoors.

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Signs of A Rat Infestation

Before you devise a plan on how to carry out pest control, you must know if you have a rat infestation in your home. To achieve this, there are several signs you should watch out for.

Some of these are explained as follows:

1. Strange sounds and smells

One of the easiest signs of a rat infestation is the smell and sound they give off. Besides the fact that they make loud noises especially when they are active, they often give off a strong smell of ammonia – much like the smell of urine or sweat.

Whenever you hear scratching, squeaking noises throughout your home, it is a sign that these critters have found their way into your home and you must find ways to trap them.

2. Droppings & Smears

Rats often leave their droppings behind whenever they move around your home. You may perceive small dark dropping along what could seem to be a rat pathway. Since these creatures are characterized by poor eyesight, they often tend to maintain established pathways.

As they travel these pathways, they often leave their smudges and smears along the way.

3. Rat footprints

The size of a rat’s paw has already been established earlier.

If you think you have a rat issue, then you are taking a look at places in your house that are rarely used and dusty. Once you see tail and foot marks on the ground, then they are most likely present.

If this proves rather difficult, you can also sprinkle a layer of baking soda on the floor of your home and watch out for tracks in the morning.

4. Damage

These critters often leave damage as they move around. Once you start seeing damages on your cables, gnaw on paper, furniture, storage containers, and leftover food, then they are most likely to be present.

Damage Rats Can Cause in Your Home

For a tiny animal, these critters can cause significant damage to your home.

Besides the obvious health issues their presence can cause to homeowners, rats and mice can cause several issues in the house. Some of these are introduced as follows:

  • They can cause different kinds of structural damages to drywall, insulation, wood, and several other building materials.
  • They can chew gnaw at electrical cables, and this will expose homeowners to the risk of electrocution, particularly whenever these homeowners step on live wires. An estimation was made by experts that between 20% to 25% of the structure fires in the United States annually were triggered by rats.
  • They can ruin your furniture by gnawing and burrowing into cushions and testing out batting.
  • They can also destroy your books, clothes, and papers.
  • The noise they create could sometimes make it difficult to rest or sleep during the day or night.
  • They can make their nests in the walls, in appliances, and even below the sink. Their presence can also cause dirt within your home.

These make rodent control important to ensure the safety of your properties.

How Can You Get Rid of Rats from Your Home?

The presence of these critters in your home can prove very frustrating. As a result, there is a need to get rid of these critters by carrying out rodent control and there are several ways to accomplish this.

Some of these are introduced as follows:

1. Inspect your home

You must ensure that you carry out a full inspection of your home before you start thinking of using a rat trap. This helps you find out where these critters come from.

When you inspect the outside of your home, ensure that you focus on any damaged drains, gaps, and cracks in the foundation that could serve as an access point.

It is worth stressing that many homeowners neglect this. However, this is the first step that must be taken to get rid of rats from your home.

2. Seal the gaps

Besides using a rat trap, you should know that rats do not need a large point of entry to find their way into your home. Indeed, rats can squeeze themselves through any tiny hole that you can stick your fingers through. This makes it important to close all gaps in your walls.

If you want a lasting result, ensure that you fill these gaps with metal kick plates, cement, wire wool, or caulk. Ensure that you check them a number of times in a month and ensure that they are properly maintained.

Away from this, mice want their shelter to be a place to hide. One of the most effective means of carrying out rat control without employing the use of poison is to eliminate their hiding places. Ensure that you clean up your space and everywhere around your home.

Furthermore, move all objects away from your wall and ensure that all trash and waste food items are emptied appropriately. Clean up all spills as often as possible and keep your drains and pipes clean.

How Do You Repel A Rat by Natural Means?

You do not necessarily need to resort to rat trapping or rat poison to carry out rat control. Keeping these critters away from your home by trying these natural methods:

Spread the exterior of your home with cayenne pepper, black pepper, or peppermint oil. This will prevent these pests, including norway rats and roof rats, from entering your house. When you apply this substance along the line between the ground and your foundation.

You can also sprinkle crushed pepper – or make use of pepper spray) anywhere close to a rat hole or opening. This irritates the senses of these rats and forces them to leave your home.

Or you can try to use Thanos Ultrasonic Rat Repeller Attack Wave

These methods will efficiently make it easy to discourage mice from entering your home.

What Food Is Irresistible to Rats?

Even though rats can be picky, there are certain foods that they cannot resist.

Several homeowners often use these to lure them out when they wish to catch rats with snap traps. This makes it important to understand how their diets work.

Peanut butter is used by many as a rat lure to trap them. It gives off a scent that rats cannot resist. It is also a non-toxic option that homeowners can explore. Other foods that these critters are attracted to include Bacon, Cheese, Cereals, and Meat.


Rats and mice are unwelcome visitors to homes.

Besides the fact that they are unpleasant to look at, they give off an unwanted odor and carry diseases that can pose a significant threat to the health of homeowners, children, and pets.

They can also be very destructive: they can chew cables and gnaw at furniture and walls. Even though they naturally choose not to leave, there are several options you can employ that can either annihilate, trap, or repel them from your home.

They include luring these critters with the food they find irresistible like peanut butter, fish, meat, and cookies

If you would rather go with trapping the rats ( roof rat or a Norway rat), we have discussed how to safely go about this in the post.

Moreover, you can get rid of these critters from your home effectively and safely by removing the basic things they need for survival. We hope this article was helpful.