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Rats tend to be wary of new objects, so they will need a good reason to enter your live trap. Baiting a trap includes two critical elements: selecting a bait and carefully positioning the bait inside the trap. Learn more about recommended baits and placement below.
The best bait for your trap may depend on the species of your rats. In North America, two species are most prevalent: the Norway rat and the roof rat. The Norway rat is usually found at or below ground level in burrows, basements, sewers and dumpsters. The roof rat is usually found higher up - in trees, cliffs, attics and higher levels of a home or warehouse.
Norway rats prefer foods high in fat, protein and sugar. The best baits for Norway rats include:
Roof rats prefer plant-based foods like nuts and fruit. The best baits for roof rats include:
TIP: If you aren't sure of the species, use a bait like peanut butter or dried fruit, which appeal to both types of rats.
How to Bait a Rat Trap
While the right bait will help attract a rat to the trap, proper bait positioning will help you successfully capture it.
The best bait placement will:
Lure the rat fully into the trap.
Require the rat to step on the trigger plate in order to reach it.
Take into consideration the trap type (1 vs. 2-door):
1-DOOR TRAP - Position bait at END
Place the bait beyond the trigger plate, towards the back end of a 1-door trap. Position it away from the trap walls to prevent a rat from reaching the bait from outside of the trap.
2-DOOR TRAP - Position bait at CENTER
Place the bait in the center of a 2-door trap. You can either position the bait directly on the trigger plate or hang it from the top of the trap. Position it away from the trap walls so that it is unreachable from outside of the trap.
Rats tend to be cautious of new objects in their territory. Pre-bait your trap to get your rat used to it before you set it up for a catch. To pre-bait your trap, tie the trap doors open and place bait inside. Position your trap and wait about a week before setting it up for a catch.
Rats may be extra wary of a trap that carries any trace of human scent. Be sure to wear gloves at all times when handling or baiting your trap.
A live rat trap can be a very effective tool for removing rats from your home or business, if the proper steps and precautions are taken. Baiting your rat trap is just one of these steps - learn more by reading How to Trap a Rat »
For more baiting tips, read How to Bait »
Professional Advice on Baiting an Animal Trap
Our friend and Havahart® supporter, Billy the Exterminator, talks baiting traps.