How to kill house rats

Updated February 21, 2017

Rats are not creatures that you want in your home. They can transfer diseases to humans as well as damage items in the home by chewing through them. There are humane traps that you can use that won't kill the rats; however, you then have to deal with taking them out to release them and hoping that they don't get back in. For this reason, many people opt to just kill the rats and dispose of them.

Purchase snap traps. These work well on most rats because the snap traps have enough force to kill them instantly.

Set the trap in locations where you have found evidence of rats, such as a hole or droppings.

Rotate the pin that holds the snap trap so that it is off the trap plate.

Pull the metal snap back and hold it down with one hand.

Pull the pin back over the metal snap and onto the latch on the other end of the trap. This will hold the metal snap down.

Place a piece of food that the rat will eat, which is pretty much anything, on the trap. If you want to keep the rat from escaping with the food and avoiding the trap, use a sticky form of food, such as peanut butter, as the bait.

Put food, such as cheese or bread, onto a small plate.

Sprinkle the poison on the food. Look at the directions on the package of the brand you purchased to know the right quantities.

Look for areas in the house where there are rat droppings.

Place a plate down near the rat droppings. Slide it into a dark area, such as under a cabinet or under a chair. Rats tend to hide in corners and crevices and are more likely to be in these locations.

Check the location a day later to ensure that the food has been eaten.


When poisoned, rats will die fairly quickly; however, you won't know for a while where they died. For this reason, snap traps are better for indoor rats. You really don't want to wait until you smell the dead rat before you find it.


Make sure not to put poison in areas where animals or kids can get to it.

Things You'll Need

  • Traps
  • Food
  • Rat poison
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About the Author

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.