There are several options of what to do after catching a rat. While some traps will likely kill the rats once they enter, some leave the rats alive in the cage and people are often confused of what to do next.
Of course, if you want to kill the rat, you should kill them quickly enough to prevent them from suffering. Using rat poison is not recommended because it kills them slowly from internal bleeding. It is not humane and it is legally restricted in most states.
One humane method of killing rats is to smack their head once with a hammer, instantly killing them. This would be the fastest option, but sometimes it is gross to do this yourself and doing it incorrectly could cause the rat significant pain. Some pet stores, however, apply this method whenever there are rats around. Taking a rat down with a gun is not recommended (and is illegal at times) because sometimes the shot is not fatal and you cause the animal to suffer greatly before they die.
Calling animal control service
This is probably the most recommended option after you catch a rat. You can at least get advice on what you should be doing next. However, do not proceed if they recommend you using rat poison.
Relocating them, far from your house
If you really have time to go on a trip and set them off in nature far from your house, that’s good. But if you don’t take them far enough away from the human environment, they will likely return to your or someone else’s house.
Remember that these rats carry viruses and diseases. If you want to get rid of them, make sure that you call someone who knows exactly what to do to avoid getting infected.
Do not keep them as pets
It is actually not recommended to keep a wild rat as a pet. They are likely to carry viruses that can affect you or your pets. They are dangerous animals even if they may seem docile at times.
If you want the safest method to remove rats, make sure you call a professional service that can help you in getting rid of the animals. They can either give you advice on exactly what to do or you can call them from the beginning and they can take care of the whole process for you.
Go back to the How to Get Rid of Rats page or email us if you have any other questions about What should I do with a rat after I catch it?
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.