How to kill outdoor rats

Rats carry several potentially harmful diseases, including Weil's disease and listeriosis. For many, killing these rats is the first line of defence in keeping their family and pets safe. The most effective and inexpensive tool available for eliminating rats are traditional snap traps. You can buy these from home improvement and DIY centres and use them to kill rats outdoors. The use of snap traps can also eliminate the need to use any poisons or pesticides, which can be toxic to humans and pets.

Identify the outdoor areas with the most rat activity. These places usually have large piles of rat droppings, urine stains, burrows, trails and grease marks.

Remove any other outdoor sources of food for the rats, such as open rubbish bins, compost piles, pet food or food scraps that may be left on the ground. The rat will be less likely to accept the snap trap's bait if there is a competing food source available.

Place the snap traps on the ground in the areas that rats have been frequenting. The traps can also be set in other places where rats will naturally frequent, such as the outer walls of a structure.

Bait the trap with a dollop of peanut butter, a slice of apple, dried fruit or a small piece of meat.

Set the trigger on the snap trap. If there are different settings on the trap, use the one that is the most sensitive.

Check the traps several times a day. Once the rat has been trapped, it must be disposed of properly.

Wearing rubber gloves, pick up the rat and trap and place it into a plastic shopping bag. Tie the bag shut and place the plastic bag into a second bag, which should also be tied tightly.

Place the dead rat into an outdoor bin with a tightly fitting lid.


Avoid allowing children and pets in any area that contains the snap traps.

Avoid using glue traps outdoors. Flying dirt and debris could land on the traps, rendering them ineffective.

Consider introducing an outdoor pet, such as cat or dog, to the area to hunt and kill the rats.

Things You'll Need

  • Snap traps
  • Bait
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic bags
  • Outdoor rubbish bin
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About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.