How to catch trap shy rats

How do you catch trap shy rats? After early success, rats are now avoiding my traps. Chew cards show there are still rats around, but the rats are no longer clearing bait from the boxes, whether the trap is set or not. I have tried different baits, and locations, with no success. A Google search suggested I should wear gloves, and maybe also keep the traps clean/wash them. I have not tried the last two suggestions - are rats that fussy/clever? Please, do I need to clean my boxes and traps? Or are there other methods that are known to work?
Thanks, paul

I think wearing gloves is definitely worth doing. I have also found sometimes adding extra bait near the box entrance can help lure them in and think the trap is safe. You just have to be persistent.

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Get more cunning than the rat. If you are using a box trap dig a trench and bury the box in the ground, acessable from both ends. Put sticks and leaves around the entrance so it doesn’t look person made. Try putting lots of bait in the tunnel for three nights, on the forth night set the trap. Happy hunting!

You can add some different traps, e.g. SA2 cat/possum trap which we have found will trap rats also, including large rats

We’ve had success with rabbit blood. If you can get one, rubbing a rabbit all over the trap outside and inside must make the box smell amazing to a rat (and stoats as well). Also, if you’re using something like Erayz or peanut butter, dip your finger in the bait and drag a line from the trap through the holes in the baffles to the entrance. Another trick is to deactive the trap, and throw some bait in the box like what Hugh and Helen said. Get the rats used to the idea that the box is safe, and they’ll let their other rat friends know where you can get some food. Then after the bait has been taken a couple of times, activate the trap.

Many thanks for your suggestions. It sounds like rats are much smarter than mice. I have tried the rat cafe approach for over a week now (ie, bait but trap not set), and leaving food at the entrance. Worse still, they have not eaten the peanut butter I placed on the outside of the trap. That leaves me to: catch a rabbit (not easy around here), wear gloves (easy), use another trap (easy), and bury the trap/box (possible in some places). Many thanks.

I have read this chat topic with interest. We developed our rat eradication programme over eight years. The first thing to understand is that there is no template for pest control. There are too many variables. As this is a chat forum I cannot go into detail other than to say that we started with traps then, after total frustration, moved to a multi feed toxin, still not getting the knock down we ended up using very successfully the lowest toxisity single feed bait, Contac (Bromadiolone which is one fifth the strength of Brodifacom). If anyone wants a copy of our management plan google “Managiti Restoration” and ask us for a copy. You will not clear rats from an area with traps.

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Many thanks. It’s great to hear what your project has learned, but disappointing to hear that we may have to use toxins. Our project focuses on backyard trapping in an urban area, and I suspect many trappers, me included, would prefer to avoid toxins. Please check/confirm the name you suggested that I Google - Managiti Restoration. (Google seems keen on car restoration). And would you be happy for me to include your reply (and snippets from others) in a Facebook post to our project?

Rats become trap shy and this is why you will need to also use poison. Ditrac is a good product in the philproof rodent station.

How did you get on in the end Paul? I have a similar problem here where the ship rats are easy to catch in the traps, but the Norway rats seem to possess much greater intelligence and caution. In two cases I know where their den is, but they will not go near a trap or the poison I hung over their hole on a wire. I’m also open to any easy tips on how to kill them in their den without spending too much time and money. Cheers, Cam