How do you get rid of rats without using poison?

how to get rid of rats without poison
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Ways to get rid of rats without poison

Rats are filthy rodents which spread disease. If your property becomes home to a rat you will need to act quickly to stop an infestation.

Poison is an extremely popular method of killing the rats in your home. It’s cheap to buy and can kill a large percentage of the local rat population when used correctly. However, rodenticides cause a slow and painful death so you may be looking for alternative ways to get rid of rats without using poison.

How to get rid of rats without poison? The best ways are by using the following methods:

  1. Use electric traps like a Victor rat zapper
  2. Place baited snap traps around your house
  3. Catch and release humane traps
  4. Natural methods like black pepper, chili powder, peppermint oil
  5. Get a dog or cat
get rid of rats without using poison
Use an electric rat or mouse trap.

Battery operated electric shock traps

These traps offer the most humane ways of killing rats by passing an electric shock quickly to the rat, killing it instantly with no pain. They can be used effectively for rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks and other similar rodents. They also make it easy to dispose of the dead rat by simply lifting the lid so you don’t need to touch the body.

Classic wooden snap traps

The original wooden snap traps still work really well, cheap to buy you can easily dispose of the whole trap with minimal fuss or remove the rodent for trap reuse. These traps work by baiting a pedal, once the rodent removes the bait by triggering the pedal the kill bar springs shut killing the rodent.

Modern plastic snap traps

A modern take on the classic wooden trap, these plastic traps are easy to bait, reusable and highly durable. Teeth around the edge of the trap spring shut when the pedal is touched. The springs are made of steel, not plastic. An effective trap which can be used time and time again.

use humane live traps to get rid of rats
Use humane catch and release rat traps.

Catch and release humane traps

These humane mouse and rat traps work with a spring door which shuts once the rat goes inside. It won’t be able to escape until you open it. Peanut butter is the recommended bait to tempt the rodents inside. Best used for catching mice.

Glue traps

My least favorite of all traps, glue traps offer a non-toxic way of catching rodents and insects. They should not be used in areas where children or pets are present. They can be used slid under fridges and areas where you can’t always place a snap trap. The downside to a glue trap is having to deal with the rodent after. You may need to hit it with a quick and sharp blow to the head before placing in a bag in the trash.

The dangers of using poison to kill rats

Using rodenticides in and around your home to kill rats can cause many problems. Rodenticides cause a slow and painful death by interfering with blood clotting which results in uncontrollable bleeding, eventually leading to death.

Poisoned rodents will seek shelter, usually returning to their nests or making their way to areas of warmth and moisture to drink as they become dehydrated. Often dying en route and becoming trapped in your walls, behind cabinets in your kitchen, refrigerator, oven and in crawl spaces. This will leave you with a disgusting odor and insect problem to deal with.

Rodenticides are harmful to children and other animals

Rat poison is often scattered and not used contained within bait stations making it easy for children, pets, and other animals to access. Each year over 10,000 children are accidentally exposed to rat poison in their homes by mistaking the colorful blocks as candy. Rat poison is extremely dangerous to dogs, cats and other household pets.

Rat poison also creates a problem for the local wildlife. Natural predators like owls and foxes feed on poisoned rodents who have often been eating rodenticides for several days, building up high levels of toxic anticoagulants in their bodies. Wildlife feeding on poisoned rodents can then become sick.

poison baits to get rid of rats
Poison causes a slow and painful death.

Types of rat poison available to buy

There are generally 2 different types of rodenticides available for commercial and residential use. They contain toxic chemicals which cause organ failure in rodents:

Anticoagulant baits: These slow-acting pellet baits usually come in paraffin blocks and should be used in a bait station with a metal rod to keep the bait in place. Roof rats, in particular, like to take food away with them to store and can drop it along the way providing access to it from children and pets. Anticoagulant baits can take several days to kill so you should hope the rats die far away from your home (often not the case). For an infestation of roof rats look for anticoagulant baits which contain bromadiolone or brodifacoum as these are often more effective.

Non-anticoagulant baits: Common non-anticoagulant rodenticides contain zinc phosphide or bromethalin. As opposed to anticoagulant baits which generally require multiple feedings to be lethal, the non-anticoagulant baits will be lethal in a single feeding if a sufficient amount of the bait is consumed. These baits are also available in sealed, individual packets.

Did you know? Rats are very sensitive to changes in their environment. Even slight habitat changes or modifications may cause rats to move on.

How to get rid of rats without poison or traps

Prevention is the best cure for a rodent infestation. Check outside your property for access points. Rats and mice can gain access to your home via small holes around doors, pipes, vents and the roof. Use a steel mesh to plug any holes. Rats are excellent climbers and can climb brick walls. Use a metal sheet around walls to stop rats from gaining a footing on the smooth surface. Cut back vegetation around your home and keep the lawn mown short. After you have modified the area to make it less habitable by rats you can try these natural methods to repel rats from your home:

  1. Ultrasonic pest repellents: Plug and play ultrasonic pest repellers emit high-frequency sound waves to repel rodents and other pests away. They are inaudible to the human ear but sounds like a jack-hammer to rats and mice. Plug these in around your home to make it uncomfortable for pests.
  2. Black pepper and chili powder: Pepper and chili make for a great non-rodenticide alternative. When rats and mice inhale the powder will cause their lungs to become irritated and will eventually kill them.
  3. Mothballs: Mothballs can help dislodge rodents from the areas they are currently in but will not keep them away from your home, they will simply move to another location. You can’t typically place mothballs everywhere so will need to also use other methods to help control rodents.
  4. Dryer Sheets: I have mixed views on this and personally have never had any success with using dryer sheets with fabric softener to keep rats away. It may help repel them for a short period of time.
  5. Pets: Having a cat or dog around that can catch and kill rats is handy but if you have a large infestation your pet will soon be outnumbered. Rats within city environments have grown large and will often fight back, biting your pet creating a nasty infection if left untreated.
  6. Peppermint oil and sprays: An environmentally friendly way of getting rid of rats and mice you can pour peppermint oil on cotton balls and leave on the paths they take around your home. There is a risk that rodents will use the cotton to create nests.
  7. Encourage owls: For a natural repellent in your yard encourage owls by placing nesting boxes high up in trees. Inside the home place owl feathers along the route where you suspect rats and mice are traveling. The presence of an owl will scare the rodents and they’ll move on to another area.

Bottom Line

Poison rat bait should be avoided when children, pets, and wildlife can gain access to it. There are many alternatives and more humane ways to get rid of rats without using poison by using electric shock traps, snap traps, catch and release traps. You can also try other natural repellents such as ultrasonic devices, sprinkling chili powder, peppermint sprays and attracting owls and other natural predators.

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Mike Henderson

Mike Henderson

Hi and welcome to the site. I'm passionate about pest control and have a keen interest in writing about solutions for a wide range of common pests. Keep visiting for more answers to frequently asked 'how to questions' and join us on the journey!

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