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What Is the Best Bait for a Rat Trap?

Last Updated: 14.07.24


As you go through reviews of traps for rats you might be wondering what type of bait you should use in order to get the results you want as quickly as possible. Some of the most common baits used for rat traps are bacon, cheese, or peanut butter.

On the other hand, you should keep in mind that the right approach is to choose the bait depending on the type of rat you are trying to catch. These rodents come in many types of sizes and types, and some of them have particular characteristics you need to be aware of.

In case you are not sure what type of rats you are actually dealing with, then monitoring the situation for a little while beforehand, using a special camera, might be a good idea. This way, you will know exactly what you need in order to effectively get the job done and rid your property from them.

You can always ask for advice from a specialist as well, but before taking this approach, it’s good to have a general idea what the most common types of rats are, what particularities they have, and what are the most suitable baits that you can use in each situation.


The Norway rat

The Norway rat is the common type you can find in Europe, but it made its way around the world. Originally from China, these rodents are also known as brown, gray, common, house, water, sewer or barn rats.

These are a lot of names for the same animals, but the main thing to remember here is that they can be found across the United States, as well as in certain regions of Canada.

Adult brown rats are usually quite large and can reach up to 16 inches in length, measured from the tip of the nose all the way to the tip of the tail. Their fur is grey-brown or brown, and they have blunt noses, as well as small ears. Their tail is actually shorter compared to the rest of the body.

These rats are prone to be found in lower locations such as the soil, basements, sewers, or the ground floor of a home. They are not picky when it comes to their food, since they were and still are able to survive extreme conditions.



Black rats

Originally found in tropical Asia, black rats are also known as roof, ship, or house rats. This type is most commonly found in New Zealand and Australia, as well as in India. Compared to Norway rats, these rodents are smaller and they reach up to 12 inches in length, measured the same way, from their nose to the end of the tail.

Another particularity that can help you identify them is the fact that the tail is longer than the body. Plus, the fur is black and they have pointy noses and large ears. When they are in the wild, these rats live in trees, and they kept this habit when they reached urban settings as well.

For this reason they are most commonly found in attics or roofs. As opposed to their brown counterparts, black rats cannot handle the cold very well and they do tend to be pickier eaters.


Choosing the right bait

Once you’ve established what type of rats you are dealing with, you can proceed to choosing the most appealing bait that will help you get rid of the them. Black rats are vegetarians, while brown ones eat both meat and plant foods. In case you need to catch more than one type, you should go for peanut butter as a general bait.

For brown rats, the mouthwatering options include bacon, dried fruits, chocolate, peanut butter, gumdrops (as weird as it might seem), thin slices of sausage or hot dogs, as well as nesting materials. Dental floss is actually a good example of an appealing nesting material.

As for black rats, their diet includes dried fruits, berries, some insects, snails or their shells, peanut butter, and other types of nuts. In this case as well you can use dental floss to attract their attention towards the trap, since they can use it as nesting material.

A fun fact you might not be aware of is that rats cannot vomit, and the way they protect themselves against potential poisoning is by eating very small amounts of new foods at first. What this means for you is that you should use the same bait throughout time.


The trick

Rats need to feel that another rat has eaten from a piece of food in order to be very comfortable eating it as well. That is why, you should let rats enjoy the bait without setting the trap. If you do this for several days, there is a high chance that a rat will take a piece and that others will start being interested in eating it as well.

Moreover, this approach gives rats the chance to get comfortable around the traps without being suspicious. These are very intelligent creatures, so you should also make sure to check the traps often, once they are set.

If any rat is caught you should remove it as quickly as possible. This way, you make room for other ones to be caught, but you also prevent them from becoming very cautious around the traps.



Other tips and tricks

When it comes to rats, smelly bait does the trick, especially for brown ones. If you choose a stinky piece of cheese, then there’s a high chance you’ll be successful in the task at hand.

Another particularity of these rodents is that they hold the food with their paws and eat the middle. For this reason, they tend to prefer thinner and longer foods that will allow them to easily handle the pieces.

You want to avoid large pieces of bait, since they can be dragged off a trap and eaten elsewhere. Instead, you should make sure that the pieces of bait fit just right the trap’s platform.




1) What Do Rats Eat?

2) How to Attract Rats

3) Things You Didn’t Know About… Rats

4) All about rats



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