It can happen to anyone. Businesses and homes can turn from comfortable to cringe-worthy as soon as you notice just one sign of it. What could cause so much damage?


The small, furry, four-legged critters can wreak havoc on any building and its inhabitants. Not only do they cause damage to your property, but rats also pose health hazards to humans and domestic animals because they carry diseases. If you’ve caught sight of one, you probably want to know what kills rats instantly. 

Here’s the answer…

Here’s How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home Fast

Seeing just one rat in your home is a reason for concern, because unfortunately, where there’s one, there’s sure to be more. Even worse, rats usually go hand in hand with mice. As a homeowner or business owner, you probably want to know how to kill rats instantly to put an end to your issues for good!

It helps to know a little about your furry little nemesis, like that there are over 60 rat species in the world. Of those species, the most common types linked to business and home infestations are the Roof and Norway rats. There may be many species, but all rats flock to the same things, like food and clutter.

We’ll discuss all the common methods for removing these invaders, including natural remedies and traps. You’ll even learn some helpful facts, like why poison isn’t the best option. Read on to learn all the best ways to remove these pests and reclaim your home or business! 

Rat Poison: Not Ideal

poisoned dead rat

Setting out rat bait is a highly effective option because the rodents nibble on the block, ingest the poison, and die. However, rat poison is not the best option for several reasons, namely safety issues. 

Rat Poison Can Harm People and Pets

Poison rat baits do their jobs, but they can also be dangerous for humans and other animals. Children can pick up the bait blocks and eat them. In fact, the EPA notes that in 2012 they received more than 15,000 calls about children ingesting rodent poisons. Most of the affected children were under six years of age, and some kids experienced adverse health effects.

Further, children aren’t the only ones at risk when you use poisoned bait blocks. Rat poison can affect family pets and helpful wildlife, including birds of prey. 

Rats Don’t Die in the Open

Unfortunately, the rat poisons don’t work immediately, so you won’t find the corpses near your bait blocks. Instead, the rats crawl off and die in hard-to-reach places. 

Imagine dead rats decomposing in your walls! Not only will that corpse smell horrific enough to make people sick, but it can also attract more pests, including other rats. 

Rat Traps: Quick & Effective

Rat traps can be an effective pest management solution. There are several types to choose from, but it’s best to avoid any complicated traps that are hard to set up. Choosing a trap can be a challenge, especially if you aren’t sure what to expect with each type. 

Catch-and-Release or Live Traps 

live mouse trap

Catch-and-release traps, also known as live or humane traps, offer an alternate solution for people who don’t want to instantly kill rats. They work with smaller rodents, including mice, and you can see inside to know you’ve caught one.

Live traps offer a solution that’s safe for everyone in your house. However, catching and releasing the rats may not save their lives. If you let them loose away from your home, it’s likely the rats will die within 48 hours

Electric Traps

These battery-powered traps are easy to set up and deliver a high-voltage shock that’s lethal to rats but won’t harm humans or larger pets. They step on the metal plate, which delivers enough voltage to kill the rat instantly. Just make sure the batteries are functional.

Snap Traps 

mouse snap trap

Snap traps are old-school, easy to set up, and highly effective. However, snap traps can also harm children and pets who come across them and accidentally trigger the snap.

Sticky or Glue Traps

dead rat on a glue trap

Glue traps are basic boards with sticky glue on one side. The rat runs across the board and sticks. Struggling only enhances the trap. Some people consider this approach inhumane, and you can’t reuse them like you can some other types. Larger rodents have also been known to run off with the trap stuck to them.

Bait Boxes or Bait Stations

outdoor rodent and rat bait station

Bait stations use poison, but it’s contained in protective boxes that kids and friendly animals can’t access. Rodents can reach the bait because they’re small and flexible enough to squeeze through the holes. Though it’s safer for children and pets, you could still have an issue with finding the corpses. Additionally, if you have a dog that eats a rat that’s been poisoned, it will also poison your dog.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Rats

Some homeowners may prefer DIY methods to repel rats from their houses. The downside of these DIY methods is that they don’t last as long, so you’ll have to keep reapplying them.

  • Black pepper is repulsive to rats and will send them running in the other direction.
  • Eucalyptus or Peppermint oil can repel rats because they hate the smell.
  • Another way to use a rat’s sense of smell against them is to plant peppermint and catnip in strategic places.
  • Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to humans, but it can dry out rats until they die.

Rat Facts: What Attracts Rats and How Do They Get In Our Homes?

Rats seem like such simple creatures, and they are. However, rats are crafty, capable swimmers that just want a cozy home.

Profile of a Rat

What do you think of when you hear the word “rat?” Perhaps the long, thin tail, tiny dexterous paws, or the furry body. Those are all true, but there’s more to rats than their appearance.

Despite their timid natures, rats are social creatures that like to live in packs. To form a new pack, a male and female split off, and nest in a new space. Unfortunately, new packs grow quite fast because rats can reproduce as young as five weeks of age. They mate frequently and can have litters ranging from six up to twenty young. 

For their homes, rats love dark and moist areas. Empty buildings, overgrown areas, waste dumps, and especially food dumps make rats feel at home. It only takes a small hole in the building for a rat to find a way in and set up residence.

Rats are omnivores, but they aren’t picky eaters. Rats will happily dine on waste. They’re also incessant chewers thanks to constantly growing teeth. Rats will famously chew through almost everything, including softer concrete, aluminum, wood, and plastic.

How to Attract Rats

Sometimes the best way to keep something at bay is to know what it loves. Here, it helps to know what rats like so that you can make your space less hospitable. 

  • Comfort and warmth can be tough to find, especially during winter. Rats find spaces where warm air escapes and find a way to wiggle inside. During summer, those same rats love the air-conditioned escape from the heat as much as you do!
  • Food sources call rats like nothing else, and they aren’t picky. Bread, pet food, nuts, berries, and even bird food can draw rats into your space.
  • Cluttered areas provide plenty of cozy protection for rats to breed, and that’s exactly what you don’t want. They just love overstuffed closets, dirty pantries, messy rooms, piles of wood, and thick, unkempt vegetation.
  • Water is just as important to rats as food, so they look for it wherever they can. Watch for water dripping from leaky pipes, kitchen drains, wastewater, and birdbaths.

The bottom line is that rats are simple creatures seeking food, water, and secretive places to breed. If your home or business provides all the above, then a rat can lay down roots, populate and thrive. Your best solution is to prevent rats from ever entering your building!

Keeping Rats Out

rat holding a gnawed electric wire

Keeping rats out is the most important step to take. Create a pest control plan to make your house less welcoming by doing the following:

  • Maintain a clean yard and secure your trash cans.
  • Trim all the shrubs and bushes around your property.
  • Cut down tree branches that touch your house so rats can’t use them to gain access.
  • Assess your house for any entry points and seal them. Pay special attention to holes, electrical or plumbing access points, air conditioners and attic vents, chimneys, and also along roof rims.

When to Call for Professional Help?

From time to time it takes a professional to resolve a rodent problem. You know it’s time to call a professional pest control company for help in these situations:

  • If your efforts to get rid of them don’t seem to work at all.
  • If you suspect an infestation.
  • If you hear them at night or see them around your house.

Remember, professional pest control exterminators are skilled, knowledgeable, and equipped with the proper tools and techniques to eradicate your problem for good.

Want to Kill Rats Fast? Call Big Dave’s Right Pronto!

If you have tried the tips above and still have rat problems, please contact the experts from Big Dave’s to get rid of your pest problem for good! For more than thirty years we’ve proudly served our fellow Texans around Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth. Our highly trained staff responds quickly and efficiently handles any pest problems with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call now for a free and honest quote!