How to Get Rid of Rats Without Poison

Rats can be a frustrating intruder. When they invade your home and leave behind their tracks and waste, it is important to find a way to eliminate their presence permanently. Rat poison is dangerous to pets and children, and is also inhumane as it causes rats to bleed to death.

There are ways to get rid of rats without poison, and locating the place where the rats live is key.

  1. Locate the rat nest. Check close to the ground and near the walls of the home's foundation. You should be able to see the burrows where they live, by looking for clues such as tracks, feces and smudges.

  2. Locate how rats are getting into your home. Any opening 1/2 inch wide or more could be an entryway for a rat. Gaps in between wires and pipes are entry points as well. Search from the ground to the roof, as rats are able to climb to the roof. Rats may already be living in your attic or basement. If you can't find the source of the rats, you may need to contact a professional pest control expert.

  3. Close up the entry points with metal, cement, or mortar. Fill cracks in the foundation of your home with cement.

  4. Set up as many as 10 snap traps to catch the rats. Use butter or peanut butter on the traps as bait. Load the trap with bait first, then set the trap, carefully placing it in a likely area.

  5. Place the traps throughout the home if the rats are inside the home, or surrounding your house at possible entry points.

  6. Check the traps on a regular basis to see if you are catching them. Initially, check the traps hour by hour and slowly extend this interval as you become more confident that you are catching the rats. Dispose of any rat bodies in plastic bags and reset the traps.

  7. Check the traps on a daily basis after you believe you have eliminated the source of the rats.

  8. Prevent further infestations by periodically checking to see that the openings are still blocked off, even after you have actively attacked the source of the rat infestation.

  9. Tip

    Blacklight is supposed to reveal rodent urine, which can help in identifying where the rat nest is. Keep all food containers sealed.


    Always wear a protective mask and gloves when working with rats. Don't use too much bait on the trap, which will encourage more rats. Half a tablespoon of butter or peanut butter should be enough.