Killing Nuisance Rats

Although rats are notorious for being filthy, they pose far more danger. They are carriers of up to 30 zoonotic diseases and are renowned for the destruction they cause by chewing through different structures. That’s why when these pesky rodents invade your home, you want to get rid of their threat permanently – and this can only be accomplished by killing them.

Over the course of several decades, several methods have been invented to help kill rats. However, rats are very intelligent creatures and quickly become suspicious of impending danger. Therefore, you have to understand their behaviour and the appropriate way to employ the selected method to improve your chances of killing them. In this post, we’re going to explore some of the most common methods, how they work, their advantages, and drawbacks.


When it comes to killing rats, traps are arguably the most effective means. Although there are several types of traps, only three broad categories are designed to kill these nuisances critters.

Snap Traps

Since their inception in 1899, snap traps have tremendously helped in controlling rat populations, even to this day. These traps utilize a heavily loaded spring attached to a thin crossbar. Thereafter, bait is placed on the trigger. Once a rat attempts to take the bait, with a tremendous force, the bar snaps towards the rat’s body, leading to death.

Killing Nuisance Rats

When using snap traps, they should be placed in areas of high rat activity, like near the entry hole. Common appropriate bait includes peanut butter, bacon, and meat. Although snap traps are designed to be humane, it sometimes just maims or injures the rat, causing immense pain. 

Also, you have to clean the messy trap. Furthermore, there’s a slim chance that your pet or kid mistakenly steps on the trap. That’s why you have to be careful when making use of snap traps.

Glue Traps

Glue traps are just strong adhesive on cardboard. They are strategically placed in different locations, especially areas of high rat activity or along the usual rat path. Once a rat steps on it, it becomes immobile. Thereafter, you can kill by hitting its head with a hard object. Since glue traps do not immediately kill the rat, they can cause great discomfort, especially if you fail to check the traps regularly. The rat struggles to escape for days until it eventually dies.

Electronic Traps

This is a relatively new kind of trap that uses an advanced smart circuit technology to sense once a rat enters the trap. Immediately, it delivers a high-voltage shock that instantly kills the rat. Some electronic traps even have lighting features to indicate when a rat has been caught. They’re very safe to use around children and pets, unlike snap traps.

When using a trap, placing it in the right location matters, as well as selecting the right bait. Furthermore, it’s advisable to set multiple traps to increase your chances of killing them.

Rat Poison

Rodenticides have been used for centuries to kill rats. There are several kinds of rat poisons including strychnine, anticoagulants, zinc phosphate, and many others. Although they work differently, they all damage specific internal organs within the rat, which eventually leads to death. However, rat poisons are not advisable since they result in unwanted outcomes. 

Killing Nuisance Rats

First, there’s no way to prevent kids or pets from consuming the poison. In 2012, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency reported that poison control centres across the country received over 15,000 calls relating to the ingestion of poison by kids under the age of six. 

That’s why you need to be careful when using rat poison. Even if a rat consumes the poison, it will likely retreat to a secluded spot to die. Trying to locate the carcass can be very challenging and failure to find it means you have to deal with the emanating putrid odor for a couple of days.

Furthermore, there’s the risk of secondary poisoning. Animals that prey on rats also face the risk of getting poisoned if they consume a poisoned rat.


Let’s face it, dealing with a rat infestation problem can be frustrating. The constant sounds of squeaks and chitters are annoying. Coupled with the immense damage they cause, it’s understandable why you may want those rats dead!

However, the simple truth is that it’s better to be proactive than reactive. This means that it’s prudent to keep rats away from your property in the first place. It involves eliminating major attractants like food and shelter. Ensure that no food is lying around indiscriminately, just as you should make sure that all potential entry holes are sealed with hard materials.

Even if it gets down to killing rats, ensure you employ humane methods like electronic traps. This will also help prevent further escalations.

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