How to Catch a Rat

Discovering rats in your home or business can be a traumatic experience. In addition to the physical damage they can do to the property, rats can spread disease and create unpleasant odors throughout the area. Thankfully, once you identify the problem, there are many options available for catching a rat.


Begin by identifying the type of rat that is causing the problem, determining its high traffic areas and selecting the rat trap that best meets your circumstances and needs. The following information will guide you through the process of getting rid of rats in your home or business.

Where do you live?

Identify Rat By Region

What does the rat look like?

Where are you seeing signs of activity?


Roof Rat

  • Nests in higher elevations
  • Outdoors: shrubs and trees (dead palm fronts)
  • Indoors: attics, ceiling voids and upper portions of buildings
  • Nocturnal

Norway Rat

  • Nests in lower elevations
  • Outdoors: burrows in soil and sewers
  • Indoors: basements and lower portions of buildings
  • Nocturnal


Norway rat

3/4" droppings with blunt ends

Roof rat

1/2" droppings with pointed ends

Other Signs to Look For

  • Smudge marks from fur along baseboards or travel paths
  • Gnaw marks on corner of walls, floor joists, and wall studs
  • Strong musty odors
  • Unusual scratching sounds

Trapping Options

Once you have determined whether it's a Roof Rat or a Norway Rat and identified its activity areas, use the information below to determine the type of rat trap that will best meet your needs.

Shop All Trapping Options

Electronic Traps

Benefits of Electronic Traps

  • Humane, high-voltage shock quickly kills rodent
  • No chemicals or poisons
  • No-touch, no-see design
  • Trap is reusable or disposable
  • Easy-to-use: bait, place, turn on, empty
  • High efficacy
Kills per set of Batteries Batteries Required Battery Life

Kill Method Kill Chamber Size
Electronic Rat Trap
Electronic Rat Trap
50 4 "C" batteries 1 year in
standby mode
Humane, 7,000 volt shock Large
50 kills per set of batteries Requires 4 "C" batteries 1 year battery life in standby mode Humane, 7,000 volt shock Large kill chamber
Rat Zapper Ultra
Rat Zapper® Ultra
60 4 "D" batteries 2 years in
standby mode
Humane, 8,000 volt shock Large
60 kills per set of batteries Requires 4 "D" batteries 2 years battery life in standby mode Humane, 8,000 volt shock Large kill chamber
Zapper Max Indoor-Outdoor Electronic Trap
Zapper Max®
Indoor-Outdoor Electronic Trap
30 4 "AA" batteries 3 years in
standby mode
Humane, 6,000 volt shock Large
30 kills per set of batteries Requires 4 "AA" batteries 3 years battery life in
standby mode
Humane, 6,000 volt shock Large kill chamber

Electronic Trap Tips

  • Place along walls or in high areas for best results
  • Most electronic traps are for indoor use only; for outdoor trapping, try the Victor® Zapper Max™
  • Use with caution around children and pets

Snap Traps

Benefits of Snap Traps

  • Consistent quality from a century-old brand
  • Proven design
  • Ideal for runway trapping
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors
  • No chemicals or poisons, can be used around children or pets
  • Traps are reusable or disposable
  • Economical
Wide Pedal Rat Trap
Wide Pedal Rat Trap
Original, wood-based, wire snap trap with wide trip pedal Uses FSC® certified wood Made in USA (with global components)
Safe-Set Rat Trap
Safe-Set™ Rat Trap
Spring-action mechanism eliminates pests on contact Easily set and release with just one click Safe-Set™ design prevents accidental triggering of the trap

Snap Trap Tips

  • Best used in clusters of 2 or 3 in high activity areas
  • Be sure to secure the trap to the floor
  • Use with caution around children and pets

Baiting Tips

  • Use only small amounts of bait for the best results
  • It's best to leave traps baited, but not set, in high activity areas for 2-3 days, this will allow the rats to become comfortable with the new object
  • Norway rat baits: hot dog, bacon, beef stick, peanut butter
  • Roof rat baits: nuts, peanut butter, dried fruit, berries

Prevention Tips

The best way to handle a rat infestation is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Eliminating the opportunities for rats to enter your home or business and making it unpleasant for them to nest or feed there are the best ways to stop an infestation before it begins. Here are some tips for making sure the infestation doesn't recur.


Indoor Prevention
  • Thoroughly clean kitchen and other areas where food is stored and consumed
  • Make sure all food storage containers (including pet food, bird seed, etc.) are tightly sealed
  • Store belongings off of floor to eliminate potential shelter areas
  • Rodent-proof hard to reach areas that are often neglected
  • Clean pet bowls at night


Outdoor Prevention
  • Trim overgrown vegetation and shrubbery until ground underneath is visible
  • Remove debris such as rock or brush piles and old equipment
  • Elevate lumber and firewood at least 18 inches and away from the house

Seal Off Entry Points

  • Keep garage doors closed
  • Trim tree branches back from roof line
  • Screen off chimneys and vents
  • Fill in any hole larger than a quarter
  • Sealant materials: steel wool, caulk, sheet metal, and concrete

Ultrasonic Repellers

PestChaser Ultra Rodent Repeller PestChaser® Ultra Rodent Repeller
Ultrasonic repellents, like our PestChaser® devices, use high-frequency sound to drive away rodents. For best results, ultrasonic devices should be used in conjunction with traps as well as sanitation and rodent-proofing efforts. Once an infestation is under control, continuing using the devices to prevent rats and other rodents from coming back. Shop Ultrasonics

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