The Rat Fan Club

Removing Wild Rats from Your Home

by Debbie “The Rat Lady” Ducommun

The best way to keep rats off your property is to remove any access to food or shelter.  Rats are attracted to pet food and bird seed as well as garbage and dog poop.  Garbage and food should be stored in metal or heavy duty plastic containers.  You need to seal any access to your house, even very small holes, as young rats and mice can squeeze through any opening they can fit their head through.


I have heard that one way to repel rodents from an area is to use fabric softener sheets for the dryer, especially the Bounce brand, scattered around the area.  I’ve also heard you can use Lifebuoy soap (which contains phenol) cut into pieces and hung in muslin or other cloth bags (you can also buy a package of cheese cloth at a grocery store, cut it into squares and gather up the edges and tie them to form a bag).  I’m not sure how often you would need to replace these products to keep the rats away.


Also see the article at


If you need to remove rats from your home or business by killing them, please use snap traps, and do not use poison or glue traps which are inhumane.  Snap traps kill instantly and so are more humane.

Using a Live-Trap

If you want to remove wild rats from your home without harming them, you can use a live trap.  Live traps are usually available from humane societies and feed stores.  The best thing is to put the trap out and fix it so the door won’t close at first so the rats will get used to eating out of it.  The best bait is peanut butter put directly on the treadle.  Once you know rats are eating the bait, you can set the trap.  Doing it this way insures that the rat doesn’t accidently set the trap off before he goes in.  If that happens, he would never go in the trap again. 


Now, the tricky part is where to release him.  You can’t just let rats go in forest or field.  They must have source of water, and around water they will be able to find things to eat such as insects, worms, snails, fish, frogs, etc.  So the best place to release them is at a permanent source of water such as a creek, river, lake or pond. 


In most parts of the country, the common wild rats are Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), also called brown, sewer or barn rats.  In warmer climates the roof rat (Rattus rattus), also called the black rat or tree rat, can be found and is often the most common wild rat in these areas.  Roof rats must be released in an area where there is water and trees.

Birth Control

Field tests are currently being run on a chemical that would sterilize female rats when eaten.  The company developing this product is called SenesTech in Flagstaff, AZ.

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