Humane Rat Traps

Depending of your point of view rats can fall in two extremely different categories: for some, rats are the perfect pets, and for the others they are the annoying pests. Since our website covers the latter part, in this article we’ll talk about getting rid of rats in the most humane way. We’ll try to make a classification (so to speak) of the most humane rat traps. Situations differ from one location to another, and everybody is entitled to their on preferred approach.

Cage Traps

Capturing rats alive and releasing them into the wild should be the first option. And it’s easier than it seems. There are plenty available cage traps on the market which will do the job. To help you choose one, we prepared an all-you-need-to-know article about cage rat traps.


Releasing the rats back into the wild is conditioned by some major factors. If you want to do this the humane way, follow these guidelines:

  1. Be sure your home is rat proof. All your efforts for trapping rats would be in vane if they come back into the house.  It doesn’t matter if you live in rural or urban area; there are enough things to be done to keep rats away. Read in detail how to rat-proof your home.
  2. Don’t move the rats in unfamiliar surroundings, there is a good chance they will die. Release them in a 100m radius. Make sure you read the article from previous point to avoid rats reentering property.
  3. Check the traps regularly, even hourly if possible, but try not to disturb them. Rats will become suspicious.
  4. Don’t set the traps outside in extreme weather conditions, especially in flood zones or in extreme cold or heat.
  5. In urban areas where releasing them is not a viable solution, euthanizing them would be a humane way to go.

For the ones of you who are skilful enough, and have the time, we prepared an article with 3 homemade rat traps. It’s easy, reliable and satisfying.

Electric traps

Another good alternative for a humane rat trap would be the electric rat traps. Their kill rate is over 99%, and the rodent is dead in a few seconds. Because of the high voltage of these units, rats won’t fill a thing.


This is especially effective in urban areas, where you can’t just release the rats outside, and euthanizing every rat would become very costly and time consuming. Not to mention, handling live rats could be dangerous. These kinds of traps are easy to use and safe if handled with a little precaution. Most of them work with both batteries or plugged into a wall socket. This makes them suitable even outdoors, but make sure to protect them from rain or humidity. To remove the dead rat just gently tilt the trap and let the rodent slide into a plastic bag and tie a knot, or even better, in a zip lock bag. There are plenty of electric rat traps to choose from. If you need any help, check this article about electric rat traps.

We classified this kind of traps as humane traps even if they kill the rat, because the death occurs fast, clean and as humanely as possible. The animals won’t suffer.


Maybe keeping them away, and not having to deal with traps, would be a very good alternative for most of us. And we recommend it. You can choose from a very large variety of repellents found in commerce, or make some at home. None of them are working 100%, but that is because rats learned to overcome some odors, incentivised by some goodies, or by the perfect nesting place.

Repellents fall in two categories: botanical and electrical (ultra-sound devices)

Here is an easy to make repellent with products found around your home: make a mixture based on plenty of cayenne pepper, salad oil, horseradish and garlic. Let the mixture sit for four-five days, and then pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture in areas frequently visited by rats.

Cats. Yes cats

You may say that there is nothing humane for a rat to get killed by a cat. Most of the times the rats don’t die instantly; cats have the tendency to play with its prey for a while, but it’s the most natural death for a rat. Rats are also the main food source for owls, snakes and foxes.

Snap traps. Not

Often found on a humane rat traps list, but we strongly disagree. Indeed they are meant to deliver a quick and strong blow in the cervical area which severs their spinal cord, leaving them unconscious and unable to feel the pain. The death comes a few moments later, when the brain stops receiving blood; in a good case scenario.

In a worse case scenario, which occurs more often than wanted, the rat will not die instantly. That is because the trap activates too slow, or the spring is not strong enough to deliver a killing blow. The rat will suffer a horrible death, from internal bleeding, or dehydration and starvation.


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