What Kills Rats Instantly?

Snap Trap Kill Rat Instantly

When rats become a problem around the home or yard, killing them is a common solution. However, not all methods of extermination are the same in regard to how humane they are to the animals. A humane approach is to learn what kills rats instantly (or close to it), so that they do not suffer.

Of course, trapping rats alive and relocating them appears on the surface to be the most humane solution. However, we will discuss later in this article why this approach isn’t as humane as many people may think.

Below are the common methods to kill or trap rats. Again, some of these methods are clearly better than others in terms effectiveness and their ability to quickly kill.

Snap Traps

Snap traps are often cited as being the most humane method for killing rats since they tend to get the job done quickly. The below video demonstrates how a traditional snap trap works (no animals are harmed in the video).

Keep in mind that not all snap traps are built the same. The below snap traps have a reputation for efficiently killing in a humane manner.

TrapsImageProduct Link
Kat Sense Rat TrapsBuy from Amazon.com
Made2Catch Metal Snap TrapBuy from Amazon.com
Victor Rat Snap TrapsBuy from Amazon.com
Tomcat Rat Snap TrapsBuy from Amazon.com

Tips for Using Snap Traps

  • Pick the Best Bait – The most common and often most effective food for bait is peanut butter. Placing a tiny scoop on the designated bait area of the trap will likely provide promising results. Other foods that have been known to work are meats (bacon, fish, steak, etc.), cheeses, fruits, vegetables, cereal, and nuts. 
  • Location, Location, Location – Success in trapping rats often depends on the location of the traps. Place the traps in high traffic areas. For rats, this often means against the baseboards. Additionally, look for rat droppings or other signs of rat visitation and concentration the traps in this area. Be cautious not to place traps where pets or children have access to them. 
  • Build Trust – Rats are often skittish around objects they are unfamiliar with. When you first place down the traps, bait them but do not set them to trigger to kill the rats. Rather, let the rats get familiar and comfortable with the traps first. Once you notice the rats have taken the bait from the traps that have not been set, you can then set them to snap to kill. 

Electronic Rat Traps

When a rat walks into an electronic rat trap to take the bait, it receives a lethal high voltage shock. This shock quickly kills the rat without the mess that can come with some snap traps. A high quality electronic trap will near instantly kill most rats.

You must be careful with pets and children around this type of trap. They can be accidentally shocked by putting their hands/paws into the unit. You may wish to review the safety aspects of a particular electronic trap before purchasing it.

SEE ALSO>>>Does Bleach Keep Rats Away?

Many electronic rat traps are equipped with lights that indicate when a rat has been exterminated or if there is a low battery. The Victor trap shown below actually connects to wifi and alerts the homeowner on their mobile device when there is a kill.

TrapsImageProduct Link
Pestrax Electronic Rat TrapBuy from Amazon.com
Abco Tech Eletronic Rat TrapBuy from Amazon.com
Victor M2 Smart-Kill Wi-Fi Electronic Rat TrapBuy from Amazon.com

Glue Traps

Glue traps are a board with a extremely sticky adhesive attached to their surface. When a rat walks over the surface, they stick to the board and are left to suffer until they die of starvation, dehydration, or exhaustion. This can be days, especially if a human is not monitoring the trap to quickly end the suffering.

Glue traps are often cited as being one of the cruelest methods of dealing with a rat problem. We do not recommend using these traps due to their inability to quickly kill. Additionally, if placed outside, it is not uncommon for animals to become unintended victims of these traps.

Rat Poison

Again, here is another rat control method that we do not recommend. Firstly, rats who eat the poison (rodenticide) commonly do not die immediately. Instead, they suffer from internal bleeding, toxic gas build up, organ failure, or by others means depending on the poison used.

Secondly, since the death is not immediate, the rat has a chance to hide within the home before it dies. This, of course, creates a huge problem with a decaying, smelly rat hidden deep within the home. There is then potential for insects to move in to feast and lay eggs on the rotting rat body. This, of course, can create another major pest problem in addition to the rats.

Furthermore, a poisoned rat also has the ability to kill an animal that eats the rat. This is known as secondary poisoning. For example, an owl who eats a poisoned rat may be indirectly poisoned.

Lastly, when poison is spread across the home or yard there is a chance for a pet to take the bait and die or become extremely sick from ingesting the poison.

Overall, there are just too many negative consequences of rat poison to even consider it as a viable option.

Live Traps

Live traps work by placing bait in back of a cage trap with an entry opening wide enough to accomodate a rat. When the rat moves far enough into the trap, the entry door slams shut, trapping the rat inside. The rat remains alive and typically unharmed, which allows the homeowner the chance to relocate the rat away from the home.

The important aspect of live traps is that you have to be committed to rountinuely inspecting them every couple of hours. This will help reduce the rat’s stress and give it a fighting chance back in the wild.

There are two things to consider when using live traps. First, live traps are bulky and often intimidating for rats to enter. They tend to be less effective as a trap compared to the much smaller snap traps.

Secondly, rats often do not survive relocation. Outside of their known environment they are weak. They face the burden of predators, food source competition, and the inability to find food. In some circumstances they can cause serious problems to the ecosystem.


Unfortunately, a rat will suffer, at least a bit, no matter the method selected above. As discussed in this article, some methods of elimination are clearly better than others. We believe that high quality snap traps are the best option to quickly exterminate rats in a humane manner.

Ultimately, the key to solving a rat problem is to determine what caused the rats in the first place. In other words, you need to find out how they gained access to your home or yard and what is attracting them to stay (i.e. food, water, outside shelter, etc. ). Seal off all suspected entry points. Remove ideal places to hide and eat in the yard such as wood/compost piles Additionally, eliminate food /water sources such as pet bowls, crumbs, open food boxes, and leaking sinks or hoses.