If you are dealing with rats on your property, then you may be tempted to take care of them with rat poison. While this seems like a quick and easy approach, it is actually far from simple and is also inhumane.

Using poison causes rats to die a slow and painful death. It also causes you inconveniences as you have to find the dead rats and remove them from their hiding spots before their carcasses begin to decay and smell. You are unlikely to get lucky and have the rats die out in the open, so expect a hunt if you use poison.

With the inhumane nature of using poison to kill rats and the fact that it makes extra work for you in the future, what other options can you turn to? Luckily, there are plenty of humane methods to control rats.

First, Prevent and Deter Rats

Most of the humane rat control alternatives focus on preventing or deterring rats from choosing to visit your property. Most of the preventative and deterrent methods involve taking away food, water, and shelter from rats, but in various ways. 

Don’t Give Them an Entrance

Start by properly sealing up your home so that rats can never get inside the building in the first place. If they are unable to get inside, you will not find yourself dealing with a rat problem and resorting to poison.

When sealing up your home to keep rats away, you will have to close every crack or gap, no matter how small. You would be surprised at how little space rats need to squeeze through. Pay close attention to areas by air vents, pipes, windows, and doors, as gaps are likely there.

Clean Up Your Leftovers and Kitchen

Rats will see even the smallest crumbs of food as an invitation to take up residence and get a free meal, so do your best to keep your kitchen clean and free from crumbs. This means putting away leftovers in airtight containers or in the fridge. You should also wipe down your counters and sweep your floor to get rid of crumbs that could appeal to rats.

When storing food items in your cabinets or on the counter, ensure that it is all in rat-proof containers. A determined rat can easily get through a cardboard box or a plastic bag to get to your pasta, bread, or cereal. If you are concerned about rats, move these items to airtight containers when you buy them.

Seal Your Garbage 

Rats are not picky when it comes to food, so if they find a half of a piece of bread in the garbage can, there is no difference in their mind than finding the same item on the floor or counter. In other words, just because you throw away leftover food, this is not enough to keep the rats away. What you need to do instead is ensure that your garbage can is tightly sealed so that rodents cannot get inside it. Otherwise, they will just pop it open and enjoy their feast. This goes for both indoor garbage cans and outdoor ones. 

Be Careful with Pet Food

Because rats are not picky eaters in the least, they will just as gladly eat pet food as they will eat human food. As such, you need to take care when storing and serving your pet food. If you are worried about rats, make it a point to feed your pet at set times and put away their leftovers. Always store the pet food in an airtight container and supervise your pet as they eat. This way, you know that no pieces of kibble get left behind to tempt rats. 

Be Careful with Bird Feeders

If you have bird feeders in your yard, treat those the same way you would pet food and take extra care. Ideally, you should not feed any birds on your property while you have a rat problem, as any fallen or leftover birdseed will appeal to the rats. At the very least, use bird feeders that are far from your home and trees and tricky for rats to get to.

Option: Natural Repellents

mint repellent for mice

There are some natural repellents that claim to keep away rats and convince them to leave, but these provide mixed results. Most of the time, using something like peppermint will not actually resolve your rat problem. On the bright side, it is affordable enough to try if you are desperate and in search of a humane method. It will also make your house smell nice. 

Option: Get a Pet

If you do not currently have a pet and have been thinking about getting a dog or cat, then this could be another humane way to get rid of rats. The presence of the animal may be enough to scare away the rodents. However, it still may not work and you may still find rats. 

When Not to Use this Method

  • Do not get a pet just to control rats or mice. Adopting a pet is a long-term commitment, so make sure you actually want the pet. 
  • Do not get a pet if you have already spread out poison. Otherwise, your new pet may consume the poison and get sick, or they may get secondary poisoning by eating a poisoned rat.

Option: Spring or Snap Traps

If you have rats on your property and your only option is to kill them, then you should opt for snap or spring traps. This type of trap will kill the rat instantly, meaning that it does not suffer. As such, they are considered the most humane method of killing rats. 

Always Work with Humane Rat Control Professionals

Even if you will not be the one interacting with and removing the rats, make a conscious effort to work with rat control professionals who use humane methods. This shows a high standard of ethics and a willingness to do the job correctly the first time. If you are unsure, always ask a professional what methods they use to get rid of the rats before hiring them.