Rats are not easy animals to catch. The rodents are fast, intelligent, and, thanks to their skeletal structure, are capable of squeezing under doors and through cracks that would otherwise be too small for them. A rat trap bucket is an effective, hands-off rat trap that you can make at home. Unlike rat poison, a lethal trap bucket poses no threat to household animals or small children, as it kills the rats by drowning them. The trap bucket also can be used to trap the rat without hurting it. This method is especially useful if you're trying to catch a lost pet rat.
Drill two small holes on opposite sides of the bucket, about two inches below the rim. The holes should be slightly bigger than the thin metal rod, to allow the rod to turn freely. To ensure the holes are lined up correctly, drill the first hole and insert the metal rod. Push the rod through. Drill in the spot where it comes into contact with the other side of the bucket. Remove the metal rod before continuing.
Drill a hole through the centre of the top and the bottom of the tin can. The holes should be about the same size as the holes you drilled in the side of the bucket to allow the can to turn freely. Stick the metal rod through the can. It should spin evenly to keep from sticking on one particular spot. Remove the metal rod.
Fill the bucket with water. The water level shouldn't be too close to the can, but it should be deep enough for the rats to drown in. A couple of gallons should be sufficient, depending on the size of the bucket. To make a nonlethal version of this trap, do not fill the bucket with water. Even without water, the rats should be incapable of scrambling up the slick, plastic sides of the bucket.
Insert the metal rod through one side of the bucket. Feed the end of the metal rod through the holes in the tin can. Push the rod through the hole on the other side of the bucket. The metal rod should run from one side of the bucket to the other, like a bridge, with the tin can suspended halfway across. The metal rod should be slightly longer than the diameter of the bucket to prevent the rod from accidentally falling out.
Smear the tin can with a thin layer of peanut butter. The smell will lure the rats into stepping onto the tin can.
Set up a small ramp from the floor to the edge of the bucket. File a notch in the bottom of a plank of wood. Rest the notch onto the lip of the bucket. The notch will stop the ramp from sliding off. This ramp will create an easy way for rats to reach the rim of the bucket. Dab a small amount of peanut butter on the ramp to attract the attention of the rats.
Rats are nocturnal animals, and as such are most likely to go looking for food at night. Check your trap every morning to see if anything has been caught. Empty the bucket regularly.