An update from the War on Rats

Originally published at:


Yep, rats are clever little buggers. You’re going to have to mix it up, kind of like how using the same antibiotic for too long just breeds resistant bacteria.

“Cage” traps, rat poison (warfarin), electronic traps… You have to keep a cycle going. Remember that you can think of rats like hackers: you’re not trying to make it impossible for them to get in, just more trouble than it’s worth so that they’ll go bother an easier target instead.


Clean the snap traps so they don’t carry the odor of your hands, old bait and rat death


I tried to befriend a rodent once. It let me down.

I had the same experience in college, where the science lab was giving away leftover lab rats as pets.

Miserable buggers.

Friend of mine kept rats for a while, and I told him he’d regret it. He eventually did. It wasn’t how when they bred, the mother would eat the young. It wasn’t how they would shred anything that came within reach of their cage. It wasn’t how they managed to maliciously pee on everything around the cage. It was that they would be friendly and cool and fun, and always top it off by trying to take a chunk out of him.

So he put the murderous mother in with his monitor lizard. Nature is crazy and brutal.

I wonder if it’s possible to leave their carcasses out for hawks, raccoons and coyotes? They would learn to come around and hopefully won’t cause issues with your pets.


I throw them away with a rat in their killbox. Old bait is peanut butter, it helps.


I’m not going to diss Great Pyrennees, but that’s the wrong dog for the job. Get some ratters to get to work. Jack Russells were bred for this. Ditto for a lot of Southern Cur type dogs (like mine). We used to have a rat problem. We don’t anymore.


Eradicating rats / rodents is a no win, limit their food source and you can some what control them.


I have seen Nemo pluck a rat out of the brush as we casually walk down the street. The problem he’s having here is that they are small and not on the deck and he is large and not getting off the deck at night because I ain’t chasing him all over hell and back to get him to stop killing things for the crime of coming close to the house.

Seriously, rats, deer, lost hiker – Nemo doesn’t give a shit. Once the sun goes down, he is on guard duty.


We have a Husky and a Yorkshire Terrier, both great prey-motivated breeds.

Hilariously, the only time we ever had a rat was in the garage… The only place the dogs can’t get to, and where we keep the cat food and litter. The rat was living less than 10 feet from where the cats went every day, behind a few pieces of spare lumber.

Until I saw it one day, then grabbed the husky and a 2x4 and chased it down. Cats = useless, dogs = awesome. (Although to be fair it was a gigantic freaking rat).

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Cats = useless, dogs = awesome

Now don’t be dumping on our feline friends!

Before we had a dog there was a neighbourhood cat, and she not only took down a rat in front of my eyes, but managed to dispose of the entire body (and I did look hard), even though it was probably a quarter of her own size.

(In all honesty, I think it depends in the individual animal. I had a cat that loved watching the mice in the house, just watching them. Didn’t do a damn thing to hunt them.)


The first step in oppression is to dehumanize the other. Rats? Or big, healthy mice? Cute mice with wiggly little noses!


I had a palm rat problem here in Florida. There were coming out of palm groves and were chewing through screens and causing a good amount of damage. I tried several baits until I found the one that they love…and cannot steal. Slim Jims. I’d buy one of the super-sized ones, cut it into pieces, and drive it OVER the trap trigger. The mere act of trying to steal the bait triggers the trap. I didn’t catch a rat every time, but it really helped cut down on the problem until I got the palm groves cleared out.

Good luck!

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Commiserations from a fellow rat catcher…

I do agree that you need to start mixing it up a bit. Rats are smart, and once you see traps with the bait eaten clean, you’re essentially training them to recognize and circumvent the type of traps you’ve set out. So get a few of the other traps. I still think the good old wooden snap traps seem to work marginally best, but the various plastic snap traps work just fine too. I usually have 3-4 different types of traps set out.

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I could probably do without a picture of a dead rat as the thumbnail of the post, but i am glad that you’ve been able to curb your rat problem. I would have likely given up and gotten a professional on day 2 :stuck_out_tongue: would rather not deal with rats myself.


I haven’t had to deal with rats. Only mice. My preferred strategy is to set out un-set baited traps and keep replacing the bait for a couple of days. Then I bait them and set them and it’s just carnage for a couple of days. Once I have a day of all empties, I declare victory and rest up for a year or two in preparation for the next battle.

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If you have owls and hawks around the dead mice make an easy meal for them.


I have some familiarity with the endless war on rats and mice, and have had some success. As others here have pointed out, you have to constantly change tactics.
Poison can work, but you have to be super careful about kids and pets. What I do, is get pieces of pvc pipe, at least 18 inches long, the diameter slightly larger than the pests skull size. I then glue chunks of the poison in the very middle of the pipe. Glue it so that a puppy could not shake it out. Don’t forget to label the pipe as poison.
Big glue traps work, but you need a strong stomach. If two rats get trapped on the same glue board, they begin to blame each other for their predicament.
But nothing beats a determined and homicidal cat.


I wondered about that. What I’ve been doing is mixing it up with the traps.

They want the peanut butter. Only a few traps have their bait left on and are untouched after a few days, luckily those are the traps closest to the house.

I have left traps, once snapped, alone and unreset until the bait is cleaned off them. I bait them and leave peanut butter globulets around too. They eat all the peanut butter.

After a few nights of a trap sitting there unset I rebait them and set them.

Seems the rats get used to being able to easily eat peanut butter and occasionally forget to test the traps if 1/2 the time the traps aren’t live anyways.

I have also added dry dog and cat food to the peanut butter, that does not seem to help.

Sixteen dead! Yikes! Number of young = ???
Don’t be lulled into cohabitation. They’ll eventually figure out how warm your house is. Eliminate all food sources including pets’ food in neighborhood, scattered/waste bird feed, stop adding kitchen scraps to compost, etc. Garbage night is no excuse!
Humane? This isn’t a healthy situation for the rats, either.
Good luck!


Maybe hire a professional?