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Rat Trapping Tips

If rats are your thing (and they should be) you’ve possibly by now chosen a trap, so it’s time to figure out how to catch the critters!

Be aware, you may not hit rat nirvana on day 1, it can take time and often it’s a learning process to see what works on your property. Often this is a combination of trap placement, lure or bait, the time of year, and understanding their behaviour.

Step 1: Have you got rats?

It might sound silly, but step 1 is to check if you have rats. The traditional way is by using chew cards or tracking tunnels. But the thing is, you do have rats, and these tools will at best only give you an idea of how many. The best way is to use a camera, we’ll talk more about this another time.

Step 2: Trap Placement

Trap placement is super important. Like they say “fish where the fish are”! Here are some starting points.

  • In urban environments rats tend to run along walls or hard objects, think how this might apply in your environment. This might be a natural feature, such as a waterway or fence line.
  • Consider where pests might be in your backyard and why. Many predators can be found near water and food sources such as fruit/nut trees, roses, compost bins, and chicken houses. 
  • While rats are typically nocturnal, they often still seek “cover”. Placing a trap under a bush that provides cover can be effective
  • Place traps on a flat surface and make sure that the entrance and exit are clear of obstructions including long grass, basically so that there is a “sight line” through the trap
  • Place traps in warm, dry spots as many predator pests don’t like to get their feet wet (particularly feral cats and ferrets). Avoid putting traps in ground dips where water can pool or in soggy patches.
  • Rats are neophobic (wary of new things) so put the tunnel in your chosen location, add bait in and around the tunnel, but don’t set the trap for a week or two.
  • The reality is, some trap locations will perform better than others. If you’ve not had significant results after a few weeks in a location, move the trap and try again.
  • Try disturbing the ground in front of the box, as this can arouse curiosity
  • If rats aren’t hungry they won’t risk entering the box and trap. Ensure there are no “free food” sources nearly.

Step 3: Baits or Lure to Use

Rats often pass their food preferences between them, and ‘teach’ others about a food source. Effective lures include:

  • Peanut butter, the standard!
  • Peanut butter mixed with rolled oats
  • Nutella
  • It’s good also to try some variations, that could include …
  • Chocolate, bacon (raw, unsmoked), lard, or dried fruit
  • Check your bait as often as you can and refresh your lure every two weeks
  • Try lure on the mesh at the front of the safety box and place a blob just inside the entrance. Free food with no associated negative consequences will make them less cautious about entering the box
  • Make a lure trail leading to your trap. You could use peanut butter, or something like pet food pellets which your rat might associate with reward without consequences
  • Place the lure trail and the trap along a known rat run, perhaps against a wall or along a fence

Step 4: Record your catches!

The reason behind reWild Wainui was to help connect Wainui’s community of new or existing trappers. The goal is to understand the successes we are all having, and help us achieve even better results through sharing knowledge.

Recording your catch is important to understand how many we are catching, but also what traps are working, what bait is most effective, and where we are catching them so we can identify hot spots or gaps.

We can help you get setup on, and they have a good app to help record your catches.

Download our step-by-step guide for registering on, it’s easier than you might think!

Join the project and start trapping!

Rat Facts

Rats are a common pest, in our houses and in the bush. We have two main types so it’s important to understand the type of rat your trying to catch to improve your chances.

Rat Traps

There are many different types of rat traps available, here’s our take which traps are likely to be most effective for you.

Rat Trapping Tips

While rats are numerous, the are wily creatures and can present a challenge to catch. Here’s the what, where and how of trapping rats!

Let’s work together to help reWild Wainui!

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