Oh, rats! How we wish we could love all creatures and let them roam around the garden but the destructive nature of a rat will ruin all the hard work you put into your yard. There are different species of rats and mice, there are the kinds that some would like to keep as pets while some are the nasty ones are just pests that need to be controlled.
Know Your Enemy
Understanding the rat’s behaviour, can help you, bait, trap, and catch them the most effective way. Knowing their food preference and habitat will allow you to control the pest population in your household.
Difference Between a Rat and a Mouse
Aside from physical attributes and size, another distinct difference between a rat and a mouse is behaviour. Therefore, setting up traps to catch rats and mice should be approached differently. They also have different food preferences, movements, and habitats.
Look for Signs of Rat Presence
To spot if you have a rat infestation in your living environment is pretty easy even when they usually come out of their hiding place during the night. Here are the things that indicate that rats are roaming around:
- If you see dug out soil in your garden
- Rat droppings
- Piled up nesting materials in a dark cornered place
- Chewed up wiring, wood, and insulation sheets
- Scratching sounds around your walls, floor, or ceiling
Food, Habitat, and Movement
Mice and rats have different appetites, and rats being the bigger ones obviously eat a lot. Rat diet preferences include grains and meat while mice like to eat cereals and plants. So, basically, you can have both pests lurking around your house to find food.
Rats burrow under buildings, walls, fences, and plants. In their habitat, these rodents can reproduce as many as 6 to 12 children per year and it could be a real pest control problem when it reaches a large population.
These animals move at night and can fit into a small hole of half diameter. A rat has the ability to climb and swim to get where they need to be to feed. They can live in sewers and enter through broken pipes and toilets. Rats are very cautious types of rodents, they create regular routines and paths to follow. Trapping them could really pose a challenge as they would usually avoid new objects on their path. Mice on the other hand are the curious ones that investigate anything new that if you lay a trap on their way, they will most probably walk right into it.
Effective Ways to Use Rat Traps
Choose the Right Rat Trap
A rat is a big rodent that will not be succumbed to a mouse trap and vice-versa. You have to get an efficient trap that works in your environment. There are different types of rat traps that you can use. The most conventional type is the snap trap. In using this type, choose a design that is easy to operate to prevent your hands and fingers from getting accidentally snapped by the trap. Older models and design snap traps can be difficult to operate.
When using a glue trap, the glue board kind of works to catch a rat. It is quite safer to use compared to snap traps. Since rats are cautious, using rat glue traps has an advantage in terms of being sneaky. It is less expensive than the snap trap and could be used indoor and outdoor. However, using this type of trap for catching rats can be inhumane as the rodent would suffer for hours before it dies. It can also gather dust over time making the trap’s glue ineffective.
If you’re looking for a more humane approach to rat trapping, a live animal trap is your best option for catching rodents. You can set this trap on your own by having it baited with lures to get them inside the trap.
Pick a Strategic Point for the Rat Traps
If you’ve seen the signs of rat presence, you can now place the traps along their path based on their routine. If you’re using a snap trap, it is recommended to set it extended at a right angle from the wall with the trap trigger facing the wall almost touching it. To increase the chance of trapping, you can set the rat traps in pairs back to back with the trigger facing in opposite directions to catch the rat from either direction.
You can also hide the unset rat traps under grain, sawdust, or any familiar debris that rats encounter along their way with a cardboard box. You can also set the rat trap outdoors on tree limbs, trellis, backyard fence, and under vegetation. If trapping is unsuccessful after 2 weeks, don’t feel bad. Rats are just really careful when there are new objects. You can move the trap placement and try again.
Rat Trap Bait
One of the best baits to use for rat traps is peanut butter. But there are other food items that serve as rat attractants to lure them into the trap. Unlike what we’ve seen in cartoons, cheese is not really the best bait to use in rat traps. Instead, use nuts, dried fruits, or even pet food. Bait can only be an effective part of trapping if placed properly in your trap and putting the right amount of food.
Tips and Tricks for Trapping Rats
Remember that rats are pretty clever in choosing their path when roaming around at night. Strategic trapping can increase the probability of trapping them and here are some tips and tricks for successful hunting these rodents:
- Before handling the rat trap avoid touching your pets to prevent the scent from transferring from your pet to the trap that could pose a threat to the rats. Also, don’t touch the traps without protective gloves.
- Don’t use or mix rat poison to your bait. It could be lethal not only to the pest but also to your pets and children. Poison use has the disadvantage of locating the rat kill that could be a nuisance when it starts to stink.
- Deploy multiple to increase capture rate. Use the same type of rat trap around your home to trick the rats
- Avoid placing the rat traps where your pets and children can access to prevent injuries and accidents.
- When removing a dead rat, use protective gears. Do not touch it with your bare hands as rodents may carry disease and viruses.
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A Piece of Advice
To avoid rat infestation that you have to resolve to rodent control, it’s better to prevent the rats from moving into your home. Although we cannot guarantee our homes to be a hundred percent rat-free, you can lessen their presence by fixing anything that can attract these rodents to come. To start, keep your yard and house clean. Properly dispose of food leftovers, keep the corners of your home tidy with no piled debris that rats can nest on. Fill or fix the gaps and holes that rats may pass through.