As its name implies, a rat cage trap is a metal cage which instantly closes when the victim touches a switch. For better efficiency bait is placed inside the body of the cage luring the rat, and making the victim to close itself in.
Sometimes the switch is triggered by a pressure plate right at the cage entrance, which is activated when the rat steps on it and depresses after rat moves toward the end of the cage attracted by the bait. In the other case the switch is placed at the end of the cage with bait on it, activating a lever which releases the closing door behind the rat. This is considered a humane method of catching rats because of the possibility of catching them alive and release them.
This is not the best rat trap when a larger population of rats is present. The ability of catching only one rat at a time makes it suitable only for small numbers, up to a dozen individuals. Also catching the rats individually, makes the other rats present trap-shy, which basically means they will somehow learn to avoid the cage, by associating the danger with the scream and agitation of the trapped rat. In a way this is similar to bait-shyness, which means they only taste a small portion of a new food when presented, to avoid intoxication since they can’t vomit.
In case of large numbers of rats this trap is not highly effective, and extermination poison is often involved. Since the animal rights activists put pressure on pest control companies, numerous patents for multi-capture rat traps were registered. The truth is they are not very efficient, since a hesitating rat can release the trapped individuals.
The best and most humane rat trapping method is the single rat cage trap. For better results and effectiveness, multiple trap settings is recommended.
Positioning the traps in a good spot could be another deciding factor to keep in mind. Be sure to set the traps in these places, for the best results:
- Place the rat traps in high-activities areas, such as feeding and nesting zones, or passages between them.
- Darkened corners, behind appliances and other objects, walls base and areas with droppings also might be suitable for the best rat trap positioning.
- Also place the trap touching a wall if available, since rats run along the wall sides to avoid detection, and 15-20 feet apart from each other
- To avoid trap-shyness place the unset rat traps in the suitable areas, for a week or two.
- Masking the trap with sawdust, grains, or other materials, while placing the bait near or above the unset trap will increase its effectiveness. As soon as the rats overcome the bait-shyness set the traps.
Always wear gloves when handling dead rats, and wash hands meticulously afterwards. Use a trash can with tight lids and place the rat in a plastic bag when disposing the dead rats. If you have concerns about diseases they can transmit, use disinfectant. A commercial disinfectant, or even 3 tablespoons of bleach mixed with one gallon of water could work.
Pros and cons
If the infestation is large, trapping is very laborious and time consuming, ineffective on the long run, poisons and other methods being more suitable. But if the infestation is in a sensitive area, where poison bait pose a potential hazard to children, pets or wildlife, the rat traps are the best solution. Another aspect to consider is food contamination threat when using poison, while using a rat trap will avoid this scenario. If you are concerned about the fate of the rodent and looking for a humane method for trapping, the best rat trap could be the cage system, since it’s not killing the rat. On different occasions the rat might die, due to stress or other factors, in which case you can remove the dead rat before the odor sets in.