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Four reasons rats are hard to trap


If you've had a rat problem, you know it can be frustrating and harder to solve than you first think. Rats are clever and can outsmart backyard trappers who don't do their research.

In this article, we explore four reasons why rats are hard to trap and offer up a little advice based on research. Hopefully, it’ll help you get on top of those pesky rats!

Rats are not mice

It's easy to misdiagnose your rodent problem. You may hear something scuttling around the house, glimpse the end of a tail or see droppings and assume it's a rat rather than a mouse, or a mouse rather than a rat.

This can cause you to lay traps that target the wrong pest and reduce your chances of success. Mouse traps are ineffective rat traps, and rat traps are ineffective mouse traps.

Rats can eat the lure from many mouse traps without triggering them; their bodies are longer, and they can reach further than mice. Also, many mouse traps don't strike with enough force to kill a rat.

Like rats, mice can also eat lure from many rat traps without triggering them as often they’re  too light to trigger the trap.

Strikes can be non-fatal when they do occur. Rats heads are much larger than mice, and they can be struck near the nose rather than the neck by mouse traps, while mice can be caught by the tail in rat traps.

Take the time to diagnose your rodent problem and lay the appropriate traps; rat traps for rats, mouse traps for mice, or one of the rare solutions designed to target multiple rodents.

Rat are suspicious

Rats are super cautious of anything new in their environment -  including traps. They’ll avoid them until enough time has passed for them to become familiar.

The good news is we know that ’experience of odor’ reduces a rat's neophobia towards any object (including food) That means rats are less afraid of new things in their environment the more pervasive a scent is and the more frequently they encounter that scent. We can reduce a rat's wariness toward your lure and trap by adding more lure into their environment, so they become more familiar with it. Pre-feed liberally around your trap and be patient. Rats will begin interacting with both in time.

Rats have food preferences

Which means it can take time for them to get a taste for your lure.

Many researchers have explored this topic. In this study, rats were fed wheat flour only for five weeks. Then they were offered wheat flour or an alternative, wholemeal flour. At first, they ate the wheat flour and little to no wholemeal flour, but after a few days, they had changed their preference largely to wholemeal. Researchers repeated this experiment many times, and what they found was the time it took for food preference to change varied.

In some cases, preference was delayed by a long period of fluctuation where rats sampled both food sources before showing a clear preference. In one example, the delay was 22 days before preference was evident, while in another, it was 21 days. In other cases, preference developed within a day.

The key takeaway here is rats will sample new foods offered to them (like your lure), but it can take time for their preference to change. This is why it may take a while to have success with a new trap and lure.

Rats reproduce at an alarming rate

Rats produce a new litter of up to 22 rats around eight times a year, and it only takes females five weeks to start breeding! This makes it difficult to eradicate your rat problem even if you've done your research. Although a single trap might take care of one rat, getting the whole rat family requires more. This is especially true if you empty and reset your traps infrequently. Common advice is to use dozens of snap traps for your rat problem. You need to manually empty and reset them to ensure they’re ready to catch the next rat. The aim of the game is to reduce your rat population faster than it increases, an automatic solution that’s constantly ready for action helps you do this.

A more effective alternative

The A24 Rat Trap is an indoor or outdoor trap that kills rats instantly, without the use of toxins. The trap uses a CO2-powered shot to humanely kill rats and mice, then automatically resets itself.

Instead of relying on common foods as bait, the A24 Trap uses a specially formulated lure that last up to six months. This enables you to use a trap for months at a time, without the need to reset or rebait it, allowing time for the rats to become comfortable with the trap's presence and enabling you to eradicate the entire family of rodents. 

The A24 can be easily installed in nearly any location, making it easy to place the trap in the most effective trapping place possible.

Although rats can be challenging to trap, a little innovation can go a long way toward making your rodent problems a thing of the past.