How to Kill Rats: Fast & Humane Rat Removal Solutions

AMES Group specialise in the humane removal of rats and use a variety of different baiting, trapping and luring techniques. We understand the problems that come with rat infestations and provide clients with both pest control solutions and home rat removal advice.

Before you remove the rats, you will need to find out where they are nesting.

How to Find Rats

Before you begin killing and removing rats from your property, you will first need to identify where the rats are nesting or infiltrating. Setting baits and traps in random locations is not an effective process and could even put puts or small children in jeopardy. 

Rats are not commonly seen in the day, so it’s not likely that they won’t be caught in the traps in daylight. They are nocturnal creatures, so traps are most effective at night. 

However, there are some telltale signs to look out for, which include:

  • Rat droppings near the nest site
  • Chewed up carpet, furniture or electrical wires
  • Scratching noises at night (floorboards, ceilings etc)
  • Nests made from debris or bits of carpet

If rats are located outside: 

  • Burrows and mounds in the ground
  • Damaged bird feeders
  • Evidence of gnawing of wires or structural wood
  • Gnawed fruit and vegetables in the garden

Identifying the Type of Rat

While most treatments will succeed in eliminating the presence of rats, it’s important to know what type of rat you’re dealing with in order to get the most out of your treatment method.

For example, if you have a roof rat, you will have to place traps and treatments in your attic or within your roof linings.

In the majority of cases, there are only two main types of rats found in both domestic and commercial properties:

  • Black rats – black rats are less common than brown rats in the UK and while they can be found in domestic properties, they prefer wetter environments (such as ports). They are adept climbers and swimmers, meaning they are able to access hard-to-reach areas with ease. Black rats are around 16-24cm in length and their tail is longer than their body. They are slender in build and have large ears and a pointed nose. 

They usually live for about a year in the wild, but are able to produce 5-10 babies per litter, and they usually have around five litters a year.


  • Brown rats – bigger than the black rat and far more common in domestic and commercial properties. They are around 40cm long and have a much shorter tail than black rats. It weighs more than the black rat, between 350 – 500 grams. 

They enjoy eating sweeter foods and drink milk, both of which can be used for baiting traps. Brown rats typically produce up to 3-6 liters a year with each litter containing 7-8 young.

The Best Rat Killing Methods

Humane elimination and disposal of rats is encouraged for both the sanitary of the environment and to ensure the rats do not suffer. All rat killing methods should be fast and effective to ensure swift and safe removal. 

We have seperated treatments into three separate categories: baits, traps and placement of traps and baits. This ensures that you are using the right traps/baits in the right places to increase the success of rats being caught.

How to Kill Rats Using Rat traps

There are a number of rat traps on the market, some good and some very bad. It’s important to know which rat trap is suitable for your problem to ensure safe and effective elimination. 

  • Snap traps – the most common rat trap, made out of plastic, metal, wood, or a combination of all three. They are relatively inexpensive and multiple can be used to humanely kill rats. 

How they work – snap traps work by luring a rat onto a pressure point that when stepped on, triggers a metal bar to snap down onto the rat, killing it instantly. Bait is typically used to lure the rat onto the pressure point, bait does not have to be used as some rats will simply be curious about this new object and may want to inspect it. It’s important that these rat traps are regularly inspected to ensure if the rat has been caught, it’s responsibly removed from the premises. 

Note: cheap traps may not kill the rat, but instead badly injure it, which is inhumane and can cause severe distress to both the rat and yourself. Be sure to purchase the correct trap for black or brown rats.

  • Live traps – live traps work differently to snap traps, in that they arouse the rat’s natural curiosity and lead them to investigate the new object in their environment. 

They come in many shapes and sizes, some are designed to look like small houses, others are a series of interconnecting narrow pathways that once entered, cannot be exited. Most live traps are made from plastic and metal.

How they work – Live traps usually incorporate some sort of small entrance that rats enjoy wiggling into and exploring. They will be able to easily enter the rat trap but will not be able to escape. Again, these traps must be regularly inspected to ensure the rat has been caught and can therefore be humanely disposed of or released.

  • Glueboards – glueboards use a strong glue to trap and stick rats to a board. They are usually around 30 – 60 cm long but can come in many sizes. They are made from wood, metal or plastic and feature a glue-based foundation. Baits can be used to lure the rat onto the glue board which it will then become stuck on. 

How they work – as briefly mentioned, glueboards use glue to stick rats to the board. Rats become trapped and then they must be removed outdoors or humanely killed. Glueboards have certainly lost popularity over the years, mainly because of the advancements and affordability of better rat traps, such as the live and snap traps. 

Some rats will also be able to escape from the glue traps, especially if it’s a large brown rat. In this scenario, the rat may end up dragging the board around with it. On a positive note, at least you will be alerted by the noise of the rat dragging the board around the property.

Other Methods on How to Kill Rats

Below are the other methods used to kill rats.

  • Rodenticides – rodenticides are typically used in large scale infestations to humanely poison and kill rats. They are small ingestibles that are placed or scattered around the rat nest site or area of suspected activity.

How they work – rodenticides work by activating Vitamin K in the rats central nervous system, a critical component in the production of blood clotting factors in the liver. This shuts down the rat’s internal systems quickly and eventually kills it.

Proofing your property – prevention will always be better than a cure. The best ways to ensure that rats do not enter your property is by adhering to the following:

  • Maintain a hygienic home or workspaces
  • Cleaning up any leftover food
  • Sealing and cracks, gaps or fissures in the wall

Following these simple steps should ensure rats have no reason to enter your property. If you want to know how to get rid of rats in the house, please visit our article on how to effectively remove rats from your home.

Struggling With a Large Rat Infestation?

If you discover your rat problem is worse than first expected, a large scale infestation may be inevitable. That’s where we come in, AMES Group provides a fully comprehensive rat elimination service for commercial properties and large scale infestations. 

We are based in Birmingham and cover rat problems across the Midlands. We hold over 35 years’ experience in the pest control industry and are BCPA-certified, so you can rest assured that our team will handle your rat problems with care and professionalism

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