How to Kill Rats With Poison

Updated November 21, 2016

Rats carry a wide array of diseases and can wreak havoc on your home or property. According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, rats consume and contaminate food and gnaw on dangerous electrical wires and wooden structures. They also carry and oftentimes transmit diseases like murine typhus, leptospirosis, trichinosis, salmonellosis and rat bite fever to humans and livestock. Learning to effectively kill rats with poison is essential if you want to rid the pest from your property.

Choose a specific rat poison to use. The Warnell School of Forest Resources, located in Athens, Georgia, recommends using poisons containing warfarin, pival, fumarin, chlorophacinone or diphacinone for maximum success.

Place the poison in areas where you've witnessed recent rodent activity. According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, located in Davis, California, droppings, gnawings and damage indicate the presence of rodents.

Wait patiently while the poison takes effect and kills the rat. Depending on the type of poison you use, it could take a few days to a few weeks for the poison to enter the rat's system.

Locate the dead rat and dispose of it immediately. Use your nose to locate the deceased rodent. Place sanitary gloves on your hands and put the dead rat in a secure garbage or plastic bag. You can dispose of the dead rodents by throwing them in the trash or by burying them.


Prevent children and pets from stumbling upon and consuming the rat poison by placing the poison in bait stations. Bait stations are only accessible to rodents and not curious children or pets. If you have children present in your house, teach them not to play with or handle the poison. Rodent-proof your home or property to prevent future rat infestations. Use caulking or steel mesh wire to close all holes or openings in your home. You can purchase steel mesh wire and caulking at hardware stores.


Remove the rat carcase immediately to prevent a pet or other animal from consuming the pest and becoming infected with the poison.

Things You'll Need

  • Rat poison
  • Sanitary gloves
  • Garbage/plastic bags
  • Steel mesh wire
  • Caulking
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About the Author

Brittany Tucker began a freelance writing career in 2008. She specializes in home and garden topics, and her work has appeared on a variety of websites. Tucker studied English literature at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.