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How to Set a Rat Trap

Last Updated: 14.07.24


Pests around the house can always create a wide range of problems so it’s best to try to get rid of them as quickly and as effectively as possible, no matter if you need to use things such as rat traps or something less aggressive, such as a humane mouse trap. Of course, this also depends on the type of pest we are talking about and on the level of infestation.

When it comes to rats, a word that makes many of us shudder, there are several solutions that you can use to get rid of them. Some of these are mechanical, while others involve chemicals and poisons. However, the latter alternative might not be suitable if you have children or pets running around the house.

If that’s the case and you want to use a poison-free way of terminating the rats, then a good old rat trap can certainly be the way to go. The only trick here is to set it up properly and, if possible, to prevent any fingers from being snapped in the process. If you want to know how to get this done right away, in the following lines you’ll find the information you need.

However, before getting into the details, it’s important to point out that you really need to keep your fingers out of the strike zone, since if you don’t, you might not enjoy a pain-free experience. With this being said, let’s see what you need to do.


Setting it up

The first step here is to release the armbar, also known as the holding bar, from the staple. This element is thin, made of metal, and features a hook at the end. Once you move the armbar, you can direct it towards the back of the trap until it hangs over that area.

Next, you will need to add the chosen bait onto the trap. In order to do this, place it on the pedal that you can see in the middle of the trap. A smart approach here is to choose the bait according to the type of rat you intend to catch. Since brown and black rats are the most common ones, it’s good to know what foods each type prefers.



The bait

Brown rats are omnivores, so they can be tempted using dry meats, strong-smelling cheese, or bacon. Black ones, on the other hand, are herbivores, so you might want to use things such as peanut butter or fruits to get the job done.

Once you’ve established what the bait will be, it’s a good idea to use a toothpick or another similar tool to place it on the trap. If you touch it with your hands, your own scent might remain there and it might scare the rats away. One thing you need to remember about these animals is that they are extremely smart and always very cautious.

In case the rat trap doesn’t set, there’s a chance that there’s too much bait added to it. If this happens, you need to go back to the previous step and remove some of it, but again without touching it with your hands.


Trap sensitivity

If the trap comes with various levels of sensitivity, then you can choose the most responsive one. Firm traps are easier to set up but they trigger harder, while sensitive ones are, of course, harder to set up but they will get the job done in no time.

The next step is to pull back the kill bar and use your thumb to hold it in place. That would be the rectangular piece of metal that goes along the top end of the trap. You need to take the armbar and carefully lift it over the kill bar, in order to latch it under the bait pedal.

In this entire process you need to keep you hands and fingers away from the action area of the kill bar, as you could otherwise trigger the strike. Once this is done, you are all set to start getting rid of those rodents that might otherwise destroy things on your property or carry diseases.



In order to successfully catch rats, you need to think about where you are going to place the trap itself. This is actually quite an important step in this process, since if you don’t choose the right spots, rats might still be attracted to the bait, but the chances are significantly lower.

The ideal approach here is to place the trap in those areas where you’ve noticed plenty of rodent activity. Since rats usually travel alongside walls, the trap is best placed on these routes. In case you are not catching any rat for several days, it’s a good idea to try moving the trap to another location.



Secluded and dark areas that are not in the way of humans, and various corners around the property are your best bet for being successful in this task. What you can do is to take some time are try to spot the routes they use in your vicinity and then use those exact ones.


Tricking them

As we’ve already mentioned, rats are highly intelligent and adaptive creatures, which is actually one of the main reasons for which they managed to survive in any type of conditions for such a long time. Therefore, you should never underestimate them, but you can try tricking them.

One way to do this is to set traps without activating them, but leaving plenty of bait around. If you do this for a couple of days, chances are that they are going to get comfortable and come looking for food. Once they are cozy in this environment, you activate the traps.

For this and any other rat-control approach, you need to regularly check the traps and see if any are being caught. If that’s the case, make sure to remove them as quickly as possible. This way, you make way for new catches, but you also prevent the other rats from getting the hang of what is actually happening around the traps.



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