If you have rats in your garden or any outdoor space, one of the ways of controlling them is by trapping them.

For you to have an easy time trapping them, you should use the best outdoor rat traps.

The cool thing is that you have many options to choose from.

Benefits of rat traps

When you are looking to get rid of rats outdoors, there are plenty of reasons why you should go for rat traps and not any other options:

  • One of the advantages of using the traps is that you don’t need to worry about poison getting to your pets or children.
  • When you are having rat infestations in a small area, rat traps are highly effective and give quick results.
  • Finally, it’s easy to locate the dead rat and dispose it.

There are plenty of situations when you should use rat traps. These situations include:

  • When poison baits pose a potential hazard to your children, pets, and wildlife
  • When the rodents are showing bait shyness
  • When you are worried that the dead rodents will create odors as you can’t find them
  • When rodent baits aren’t allowed in your area due to the risk of food contamination.

Our recommendations of the best outdoor rat traps

AB Traps Pro-Quality Live Animal Humane Trap Catch and Release Rats Mouse Mice Rodents and Similar Sized Pests—single door 

Rats are dirty and destructive but you don’t have to kill them. If you are like me and you simply want the little creatures out of your yard, this is your go-to trap.

Is it safe?

The trap doesn’t injure or kill the captured animal. It has a proven traditional Chinese design with a light trigger action.

This means that when even the smallest rat gets in, it triggers the trap to close thus locking the rat inside.

The trap has enough room for even the largest rat to move around. The holes in the mesh wire allow the air in which keeps the rat alive.

When the door is locked, the trap has a good handle that you can use to move the trap. You don’t want to place your fingers in a position where the rat can reach them.

How is the construction?

The major concern with many homeowners is the rat chewing through the trap and escaping.

Not with this one. The trap is made from tough aluminum wire that the rats can’t eat through.

This gives you peace of mind that you will find the captured rat.

While the construction is sturdy, I have come across some of the traps being torn open by large squirrels and opossum; therefore, if your garden also has squirrels, you might find the trap torn.

On the other hand, if there are only rats, you don’t have to worry because as it's mentioned, they can’t cut through the wires.

How to use the trap

You should start by finding the areas frequented by the rats. You should place the trap in these areas and set it up.

The rat trap is easy to set up—it’s a matter of common sense and you will be good to go.

The trap isn’t designed to be used with baits, but to attract the animals, you can use cheese, seeds or any other material that will get the attention of the rats.

When you are setting the trap, you should remember that rats are very sensitive to smell; therefore, wear gloves so that you don’t transfer the human smell onto the trap which will repel the rats.

It’s always wise to free feed a disarmed trap at least one night. This is to make the rats feel comfortable with the trap.

This has also been shown to aid in getting the smell of the rats on the trap.

When a rat is caught, always double check that the door is secure. I have had a lot of experiences where the rat jumps out of the trap due to an insecure door.

Always aim at keeping the trapped rat as calm as possible as you are transferring it to a distant place.

You can do this by draping a towel over the trap while in transit.

Pros

  • Beautiful, proven Chinese design
  • Fast, reliable door action
  • Affordable
  • Extremely light trigger action
  • Easy to set up and dismantle

Cons

  • The aluminum wires aren’t strong enough to stand a large squirrel or opossum

Havahart 0745 One-Door Animal Trap 

Havahart 0745 One-Door Animal Trap for Chipmunk, Squirrel, Rat, and Weasel, X-Small

The trap is designed to trap small sized critters such as rats, voles, squirrels and flying squirrels.

How does it work?

The device makes use of an ultra-sensitive trip-plate to capture the tiny animals. The close-set wire mesh contains the rats in place.

Once the animal is in the trap, it trips the trigger, and the gravity-action door drops behind it. The trap holds the critter safely until you can release it.

Is it safe?

The reason you are choosing this trap is that you don’t want to hurt them and this trap helps you to achieve it.

The smooth internal edges protect and prevent the animals from injuring themselves.

The designers not only think about the animal, they also think about you.

To keep you safe and away from the rat, the traps feature a carrying handle.

This way you are sure that you won’t get into contact with the animal thus you can’t be hurt.

How to use the trap

Just like with the other trap, you need to find the areas in your yard that are frequented by rats and place the trap there.

For you to draw the animals into the trap, you may have to use baits.

Since you can also use the trap to capture squirrels, voles, and chipmunks, you should use a bait that is specific to the animals that you want to get rid of.

If there are chipmunks in your garden, use peanut butter to glue the corn, seeds, or raisins to the trigger plate of the trap.

When it comes to rats, use bacon, nuts, or peanut butter.

For squirrels, use apple slices, grains, nuts, and peanut butter. Finally, if you have voles in the yard, bait them with gun drops or sunflower seeds.

After placing the baits, don’t set the trap. Let the animals get comfortable with the trap for a day or two.

After they have familiarized themselves, you can now go ahead and set the trap.

After you have captured the animals, strive to keep them as comfortable as possible. You can do this by covering the trap with a towel.

When it comes to releasing the animal, release it at least 2 miles from your garden.

Some states have regulations on how you should catch and release the animals.

For you to be on the safe side of the law, always check the regulations and adhere to them.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • You can use it for a wide range of animals
  • Safe for both the rats and humans
  • Extremely easy to set up

Cons

  • I found it to be too small even for larger rats. In my garden, there are also squirrels. From my camera, I could tell that the trap had caught a squirrel, but the tail was too long and got in the way. As a result, the door didn’t close once the animal was in. this led to the animal getting away.
  • The squirrel simply ate the baits then go away. Which is sad and disappointing.

CaptSure Upgraded Humane Smart Mouse Trap

It’s another trap option that you should consider when you are looking for a humane way of keeping the rodents out of your garden.

The traps work by the catch and release method where you catch a rat and then release it far away from your garden, usually in a wooded area.

Are the traps safe?

The pieces are made from a tough clear plastic; therefore, you can be sure that the rats won’t chew through the material. Once the rat is caught, you should expect to find it in the trap.

While it’s made from plastic, it has air holes at the top that allow air in, to keep the rat alive.

Unlike traps made from wire mesh, you don’t have to worry when you are using these.

The wire mesh units pose the danger of the rat gnawing at your hands when you are disposing them, but this isn’t the case with these.

Since your hands don’t come in contact with the rat, you don’t have to worry about getting bitten.

How to trap the rats using the trap

Since the traps are small, they are extremely easy to set up and trap the rats of your interest.

Just like with the above traps, you need to let the rats get comfortable with the traps before you can set it up.

After a day or two of placing the rat traps on the garden, you should now go ahead and set them up to catch the rats.

All you need to do is to place peanut butter inside the compartment then open the spring door.

Once the rats get into the trap, it's caught alive and unharmed.

You only need to take the trap out to a wooded area and release the rats.

Are the traps easy to maintain?

Unlike the other traps that rust and produce bad odors, these are made from stain resistant and waterproof materials which makes them easy to clean and maintain.

After releasing the rats, you should wash the traps with clean water and let them dry and you will be good to go.

Pros of the traps

  • They don’t cause any harm to the rats
  • Extremely easy to set up and maintain
  • Reusable
  • Safe around the pets and children
  • Affordable

Cons of using the traps

  • They are small and designed to catch small critters. This means that if your yard has larger animals, the trap won't trap them. In some cases, the animals can even damage the trap.

Tips when using the trap

As mentioned, rats are highly sensitive to human smell; therefore, you should avoid transferring it to the traps as much as you can.

The key to ensuring that this happens is to always wear gloves every time you are handling the traps.

To avoid scaring the rats during transit, always cover the traps with a towel or any other material.


Tomcat 0361710 Rat Snap Trap 

If you don’t mind handling dead rats, you should go ahead and buy this trap. The trap has the original design of snap traps that has been proven over the years.

How do they work?

You simply open them up, set them, and wait for the rat to arrive. To attract the rat, you should place bait on the bait cup.

When the rat steps on the trap, it snaps, holding the rat in place.

The interlocking teeth make it impossible for the rat to escape.

While they have a powerful and aggressive design, the traps are easy to set up.

Most of the people shy away from using snap traps as they are afraid of getting their fingers caught up by the trap.

You don’t have to worry about it when you are dealing with these traps. This is because you can easily set them even with your legs, ensuring that your fingers are safe.

Just like when using other types of traps, you should avoid holding these with your bare hands.

This is because rats can smell the human hands off the traps which makes it hard to trap the animals.

Just like when using the catch and release traps, it’s wise that you give the rats time to get used to the traps.

Since they have an aggressive design, it’s common for the rats to shy away from them.

Before you set them up, leave them outside for a few days so for the rats to get comfortable with them.

The cool thing is that the removable bait cup allows you to place the bait without having to set up the trap.

What I like about the traps

  • They interlocking teeth not only prevent the rat from escaping, they also play a vital role in killing the rat.
  • You can set them even when using your feet so you don’t have to worry about hurting your fingers
  • They are affordable

Cons

  • The tough, strong spring makes the traps too tough which can be dangerous for you especially if you aren’t concentrating when setting them up.

Tips to consider when using the traps

While the traps are powerful and catch and even kill almost all the rats that land on them, I have lost a number of traps when large rats and other larger animals are caught.

Since the larger animals are stronger, they drag with the traps with them once they caught.

For you to avoid losing the traps and getting the caught animal, you should consider tying the traps with a string or wire to the ground.

This way you are sure that even when the rats are caught, they can’t move with the traps.

If you have a large garden, you will have to invest in many traps so that you can eliminate the rats fast.

The cool thing is that the traps are cheap; therefore, you can buy many of them.


Protecta LP Rat Bait Station 

This isn’t essentially a trap, but a device that protects children and pets from accidental poisoning.

How the rodent bait station works

The bait station holds the bait securely inside thus preventing the pets and children from coming into contact with it.

Rats don’t die inside the bait station; therefore, you shouldn’t expect to find rats there.

The rats that enter the station will eat the bait, leave the station and die somewhere else.

This means that you will have to find the dead rats so that you can dispose them properly and also get rid of odors in your garden.

To ensure that the pets and children can’t access the bait, the stations close automatically when you close them. You have to use 2-prong keys to open them.

Due to the consumption of the bait by the rats and degradation by environmental elements, you will have to replace the baits every now and then.

All you need to do is to open the bait stations then place new baits.

How to place the bait stations

You should place the bait stations in areas where the rats can easily find them. Some of the best places include the rodent runways, dark secluded areas, and next to walls.

How you place the stations depends on the type of rodent that you are looking to catch.

For rats, place the station 15-30 feet apart, depending on the severity of the infestation. If your garden is heavily infested, place the stations closer together.

Pros

  • The station is sturdy and durable
  • Animal and baby-proof
  • Highly effective
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a beautiful design; therefore, it can give your yard an ugly look
  • You won’t be able to refill the station in the event you lose the key
  • Since the rats die outside the station, you have to find the dead rats in order to dispose them.

If you don’t mind finding and disposing the dead rats, you should definitely go for these bait stations.

The units are highly effective and durable when you take good care of them. Not to mention that they are very affordable.


Types of rat traps

When you are looking for rat traps, there are plenty of types that you can go for. The most common ones being:

Snap Traps

best outdoor rat traps

They are the most popular and they can be said to be the traditional rat traps.

These are the traps that our parents and grandparents used to get rid of the rat menace. Some still use them to date.

While they were originally basic and made from wood, they have undergone a set of changes over the years and now they come in many exciting and modern designs.

Nowadays you can find metal, plastic, and even the original wooden traps.

While this is the case, they still use the same old working principle: the change in pressure causes the metal rod to snap a rat.

In most cases, the trap catches the rat, but the rat can die when it comes into contact with the sharp parts of the spring-loaded trap.

These traps are cheap, easy to set, and when you set them correctly, they can kill the rat instantly.

When setting up the trap, you should be ultra-cautious as it can easily break your finger. This is due to its ultra-strong spring.

Glue Traps

best outdoor rat traps

These are the safer options to snap traps. Unlike the snap traps, these are less likely to make the rats trap shy.

This is because the glue boards have a lower profile hence the rats are less suspicious of the new object. The devices are also less costly than snap traps.

While they are great in their working and cheap, some people feel that since they don’t kill the rat immediately, it might be inhumane for the caught rat. This is because you can hear the rodents dying.

When you are placing the traps outdoors, ensure that you place them in a dry and dust free area.

For you to catch rats, you simply need to place the rat glue boards in the areas where you have witnessed rat activity.

Live catch traps

They are said to be the most humane way of controlling the rodents in your garden or yard. You only need to place a bait in the trap and then place it outside.

The rat will get into the trap and it won’t leave.

In addition to this method being more humane, you can catch more than one rat with it. After capturing the live rat, you can decide what you want to do with it.

You can kill it or release it far away from your yard.

Electronic rat traps

best outdoor rat traps

The people that have used the traps have reviewed them as god sent. This is because there is no mess, no squeaking, and no blood.

The high voltage shocks and kills the rats in seconds.

When the rat gets inside the trap, it completes the electric circuit with its body which leads to death.

Once the rat is dead, you only need to dispose the rat which is easy and clean (as there is no blood).

While the traps are highly efficient, they tend to be expensive; therefore, when you are planning of buying them, you should be ready to part with a substantial amount of money.

The amount might even be more when you are looking to buy many of them.

Rat trapping tips

Just like in any other area, there are plenty of factors that you need to consider for you to easily trap the rats. These tips include:

Place the traps at the right place

There is no way you are going to have an easy time catching the rats if you place the traps in the wrong place.

You should note that rats use walls and fences as guides. This means that they are unlikely to roam into the center of the yard.

The best place to place the traps is along the paths where the rats are more likely to travel.

These include along the wall and areas with low lighting.

If there aren’t dark areas in your garden, consider placing a box there with a hole that will raise the curiosity of the rodents.

Use the right bait

Just as you will have problems catching rats when you place the trap in the wrong place, you will equally have a problem catching the critters when you use the wrong bait.

The bait that you choose depends on the species of rat that you are looking to catch.

For example, if your yard is infested with black rats, you should go for a herbivorous bait.

If on the other hand, the yard is infested with brown rats, go with an omnivorous diet.

If you aren’t sure of the species on your yard, hire a rat exterminator or any other expert to help you with the identification.

Regardless of the species, you are looking to trap, you should go with food with strong smells. Some of the best ones are fish, nuts, and moldy cheese.

The strong smell will lure the rats which makes it easy to catch them.

Familiarize the rats with the traps

The small heads of rats shouldn’t confuse you. Some people have the notion that since the rats have a small head, they are naïve.

This isn’t the case. Just like humans, rats are suspicious of new objects in their environments.

This means that you are bound to put off the rats when you introduce traps cold turkey.

The best way of going about it is to get the rats accustomed to the traps before you set them.

This calls for you to place a trap in an active area, but don’t set it.

Allow the rats to feed off the unset trap for a day or two then set it after the critters have got used to the trap.

Use enough traps

If you see one rat, you should be cautious as you might be having many others. This calls for you to use enough traps for you to easily get rid of the critters.

A tell-tale sign that you need to place more traps is finding the existing traps with caught rats every day.

You should continue adding more traps until you get rid of all the rats in your yard.

Place the traps properly along the walls

As we have mentioned, rats love using the walls. This is often because the walls provide them with protection.

For them to maneuver through the walls they use their whiskers to sense objects in front of them.

Since the critters work by sensing, you need to be cautious of how you place the trap so that you don’t give the rats the impression that they aren’t on their usual path.

The best way of placing the trap is by placing it against the wall at a 90-degree angle. Place it with the trigger side placed closest to the wall.

In some cases, you might find that you have to place the trap parallel to the wall. If this is the case with you, place it toe-to-toe with the trap facing the opposite direction.

The purpose of doing this is to make it easy to catch the rat that is coming from either direction.

When you are placing the traps, be cautious of how you space them out. The best way of doing it is by keeping them spaced at least 15 feet apart from each other.

Mass trap the rats outdoors

The outdoor space makes an excellent place to mass trap the rats. For you to be successful at it, you need to plan ahead.

Start with selecting a bait area such as a pile of grains, bark or other natural areas where the rats congregate.

You should then place as many traps as possible on the area and leave them unset.

After the rats have got used to the traps (often after a few days), set the traps and you will catch as many rats as possible.

When you successfully do this, you will seriously reduce the rat population to the extent where they won’t be able to repopulate.

If you do it and the problem still persists, you should repeat the process.

Remember when you are doing it, leave the traps unset for multiple days. Once the rats have got comfortable with the traps, bait and set in order to hit the rat population again.

Use the right traps

You will place the traps in the right place, use the right bait, but there is no way you will be successful in your mission if you use the wrong rat trap.

There are plenty of outdoor rat traps in the market that you can go for.

For you to buy the right one, you should know the type of rats in your garden.

The most common Norway rat has a body that measures between 7 and 10 inches in length with an additional 6 and 8 inches of tail.

This means that if you buy a trap that is smaller than this, you will most likely fail to catch the rat.

For you to avoid buying a trap that won’t give you the services that you are looking for, take time to find out the type of rats you have in your yard. If you are unsure, ask a professional to help you with the identification.

Keep the baits poison free

One of the primary reasons why people opt for rat traps instead of poison is because they want to protect themselves, their pets, and their loved ones.

Mixing your baits with poison you will be putting yourself in great danger.

For example, when the rat gets away with the bait and drags it across the floor, the poison could spread to the flooring.

Depending on the nature of the poison, it can be harmful to your legs.

The poison can also get to your children and pets.

In the event the rat ate the bait and slyly got away, chances are that it’s going to die somewhere else.

This makes your work difficult as you have to locate the stinky, rotting corpse.

Wear gloves when handling the traps

While there might be no poison on the traps, it’s good to wear gloves when you are handling the rat traps.

The reason for this is that rats are afraid of human smell and they can easily detect it from the oil left by the fingerprints.

If you touch the trap with your bare hands, wash the trap with hot water before you set it.

With the human scent absent from the trap, you have high chances of the trap catching as many rats as possible.

Repel the rats

If you don’t like the idea of disposing the dead rats, consider repelling the critters instead. One of the best products you can use is a pest chaser.

The device emits piercing oscillations that the rodent can hear.

The oscillations are often deafening to the rat hence it stays away from your garden.

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