How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home (Without Chemicals or Snap Traps)

It’s unpleasant to think about sharing your home with rats. However, it’s a reality more often than you’d think. In fact, around 14 million Americans dealt with rodent infestations in 2021.

When you’re in this situation, you know how frustrating (and downright exhausting) it can be to find the right solution. The thought of hurting the furry creatures—as unsettling as they can be—makes many people feel uneasy.

The good news is that there are better options for how to get rid of rats in your home. Let’s go over how they live, where they hide, and the most humane way to deal with them.

Mice vs Rats

If you’re hearing something scurrying about at night, it could very well be a rodent. But rats and mice rarely coexist. Rats can be much harder to get rid of, so knowing which one you’re dealing with is important. Let’s go over the main differences between the two:

  1. Eating habits: Mice eat grains, but rats prefer a protein-rich diet of meats or even pet food. Rats are also twice as likely to take their bounty to more secluded areas. If you’re noticing that food is magically disappearing from your cabinets, it could point to a rat infestation.
  2. Droppings: Rat droppings are round and about the size and shape of a small olive. You might find them in groupings since rats use their feces to mark their territory. Mice, on the other hand, have much smaller and thinner droppings that are likely scattered about.
  3. Features/Appearance: Rats are larger than mice. At full size, they can reach up to 18 inches, whereas mice can get up to 7 inches. Rats also have thicker, shorter tails.

The Dangers of a Rat Infestation

Having rats in your home can be a recipe for disaster. For starters, they evolved to depend on humans for food—so your living space isn’t the only thing you’ll be sharing. Expect intrusions into your cabinets, drawers, and cupboards.

To make matters worse, rats can trigger allergies in humans when their skin sheds and leaves behind dander or dust mites. They can also transmit zoonotic diseases. For these reasons, make sure to use rat-proof packaging for your food, and never eat anything that’s been tampered with. Immediately clean and sanitize any droppings or urine you come across.

Finally, rats love to chew. They’ll chew through just about anything—including books, wood, wires, and even plastics. Not only is this behavior annoying, but it can result in costly damage to your home. It can even become dangerous if they chew on open electrical wires, leading to a fire hazard.

Why It's Hard to Get Rid of Rats

Once you know you have a rat problem, time is of the essence. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to spread disease, chew through your home, or leave behind an unpleasant ammonia-like odor.

But evicting rats is more difficult than you might think.

After centuries of living among humans, they have learned to be suspicious. They’re often intelligent enough to scope out and avoid traps. This makes traditional pest control methods like rodenticide virtually ineffective. Rats are also impressively agile. If their head can fit through a gap, so can they—which is likely how they got into your home in the first place. This maneuverability makes it possible for them to live in inconspicuous areas, like attics or crawl spaces. Once they find an ideal nesting spot, they stay safely tucked away and won’t come out until the coast is clear.

Inhumane Removal Methods to Avoid

It may be tempting to buy rat traps or chemical chews and hope for the best. However, these options aren’t nearly as helpful as they are made out to be. They’re also inhumane, often leading to unnecessary suffering.

Let’s go over the options that we don’t recommend (and why):


Rodenticides are chemicals specifically designed to kill rodents. Although popular, they aren’t very effective.

They usually only take care of around half of the rodent population, and rats need to ingest them several times for the chemical to have any effect.

Most importantly, rodenticide is inhumane, unsafe, and can disrupt natural food chains. They are made with anticoagulants, a type of poison that causes internal bleeding. Rodents that ingest them will have a slow and painful death. Predators like owls or hawks often eat these infected rats and get sick or die themselves.

Snap traps

Snap traps advertise a reusable option that leads to quick and painless death for rodents. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case, especially when it comes to rats.

This is because rats are extremely wary of anything new in their environment. If they come across a snap trap, they’ll probably avoid it. If they do investigate, sometimes the trap won’t work as promised. They may get trapped but still be alive, which can be incredibly painful.

Moreover, these traps have a messy cleanup and require many uses to get rid of the whole population.

How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home

Now that we know rats are highly intelligent, reproduce quickly, and are skilled at hiding, let’s go over the best ways to get rid of them for good.


The first thing to do is make your home as unappealing and inaccessible as possible. Since rats can squeeze through cracks the size of a quarter, be sure to assess the perimeter of your home and fill up openings. Additionally, keep all of your food covered and inaccessible. Don’t leave excess pet food out, and make sure it’s kept in rodent-proof containers.


But what about the rats already living in your home? As mentioned, poison and traditional snap traps aren’t going to do the trick.

The most effective, humane, and affordable way to get rid of rats is through electromagnetic pulse technology. Products like the Riddex Plus, plug directly into your wall and use a patented pulse technology that is silent, but not to rats! 1 unit is recommended for each level of your home and will chase them away and out of your home. Above all, it causes no suffering, environmental harm, or unpleasant cleanup.

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