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How to kill a rat in your house, instantly and humanely

As I've discussed repeatedly, it's pointless to start killing the rats in your house until you've first solved the root problem - the openings they are using to get inside. But once your building is sealed shut and no more rats can crawl in or out, it's time to kill the last few rats that are stuck inside. Once done, your rat problem is solved forever! If you need help with a rat infestation, click on this map of Professional Rat Removal Companies serving every town/city in the USA.

Okay, no one is going to actually shoot rats like in the above photo. There are really two primary ways people use to kill rats:

POISON THE RATS: I hope it's the most important thing I say about rat control, aside from the importance of sealing the building: rat poison is horrible. It does not solve the rat problem. It is inhumane, as the death is slow and painful. It does not kill all the rats. Not every rat that eats poison dies. The rats that do die will die in your attic or walls, and cause a horrible stink - I guarantee it. But worst of all, it doesn't work. New rats just keep coming and coming, and the rats that don't die just keep reproducing. Poison is the worst.

TRAP THE RATS: Yes, you need to trap the rats. I have found that live cage traps absolutely do not work. But also, if you live trap and relocate a rat, it will die anyway. Rats can't live in an area outside their territory - 90% of the time they die within 48 hours of relocation. So I kill the rats. But how do you kill a rat in the house? There are many lethal traps out there, but I like the snap trap.

Yes, the old-fashioned wooden snap trap is the most effective option. Believe it or not, in hundreds of cases of testing over many years, this trap has proven the best. There legitimately is no better trap out there! These traps can be set to a very sensitive level, the flat bottom rests nicely on any flat surface, even insulation, which is where the best trapping spots are in the attic, along the runways. For more detail about the process, read my how to trap a rat page.

How to kill a rat in your house - I said above that no one is going to shoot rats, but from time to time I do, with an air-powered bb gun. 1000 feet per second is best, and that's pretty powerful for a small animal like a rat. I only shoot rats when they are running around in a house, and there's no better option to quickly get it - it's not like you can easily net a rat - they dart into tight spots at lightning speed, and are almost impossible to catch. But when they think they have a safe spot, they stay perfectly still in a crevice, and a bb gun is actually the most viable option I've found thus far. But if you're not looking at a rat in an emergency situation, it's the same thing. Set snap traps, in the cupboard, cabinets, behind the couch, behind the kitchen stove etc. Don't set them where you'll snap your fingers! If you want to be safe, especially around pets and children, you can use a special lockable rat box, and set the traps out in the open, in these locked boxes. I've done so many times. That will catch the rats in the home safely. Look online for the Protecta rat box and Snap-E snap trap. But remember, the only thing that really matters in order to solve the rat problem forever is to seal shut the entry areas outside the house.

Rat removal info - main rat removal information page.
How are rats getting in - this is what you need to read if you want to solve the problem.
How to get rid of rats - just another general guide.
Rat in building - general information on different parts of buildings rats get into.
Rat damage photos - just so you know what they are capable of, and so you can see the signs.
Pest control for rats - why to never hire a regular pest control company to do rat work.
Rat repellent - do repellents and rodent deterrents work?
Rat prevention - some tips to keep rats away, and lessen the number in the area.
Rats in the attic - a good guide to one of the most common problem areas with rats.
Photos of rat poop - for identification purposes.

Customer Rat Email: HI David: In my total ignorance but everpresent imagination I can't help but wonder why one couldn't devise a pretty simple electrocution trap through a plastic pipe 2,3, or 4" with a suspended c.d. rigged above a slot to act as a trap door and a couple of exposed bare 12 volt d.c or 120 volt a.c. stranded wire lampcord ends inserted from either side for them to brush against as they go for the bait. I also understand that mothballs might be utilized to coerce the little, check that, BIG bastards to abandon the attic and take the pipe as the only way out. If so, how many mothballs would be required? Also what about 24 hour halogen floodlights; thus eliminating any dark hiding places to give them insomnia ? OR Metallica at full volume lol And finally; couldn't these vermin be netted and dropped into water? I sort of think they might be somewhat aggressive if cornered but I have 3 dogs, one of which is a proven rodent killer, to help and a reasonably open attic but I sure like your BB gun suggestion, especially with a semi or fully-automatic one! paul - p.s. what about carbon monoxide from a car exhaust. once they were killed and the attic was ventilated my dogs would sniff out the carcasses before they decomposed

My Response: Those are all interesting ideas, but not necessary. Just follow my advice: the ONLY important thing is sealing up the entry holes into the house. Then how you kill them doesn't matter, but snap traps are definitely the easiest. But I do have to say that mothballs are totally worthless.
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