There are two different types of rat bait: natural (non-toxic) and poison baits that kill the rats. While poison baits are usually simply laid out in high-traffic areas, natural baits are used for all types of rat traps. In order for the unloved rodents to really fall into the trap, you have to lure them with something particularly tasty.

Natural bait

Since poison bait can be dangerous not only to other wild animals, but also to dogs and cats, not to mention small children, its use in households is not recommended. In this case, natural baits, i.e. food, are more suitable. Rats are omnivores. Therefore, when there is a plentiful supply of food in the house or garden, it is not at all easy to lure a rat into a trap. Something with an aromatic smell is particularly attractive that is not found anywhere else in the area. For example, a rat near a cornfield will not be impressed by a grain mix.


Rats have a very strong sense of smell. Therefore, they are able to perceive food over a greater distance. But they not only smell an attractive source of food, but also whether a person has already come into contact with the food or the trap.

Tip: If a trap is equipped, it is therefore not only important to select foods that the rats prefer to eat, but also to avoid prolonged contact. It is therefore best to wear disposable gloves when filling and setting up the trap.

Effective rat baits for the trap

What rats prefer to eat can vary greatly from region to region and from rat population to rat population. In many cases it is simply a matter of trying out which bait the rats are particularly attracted to.

1. Bread
A food that is very popular with rats is bread. Dry bread is particularly recommended for the trap, as it lasts much longer. However, bread should not be placed in damp places, otherwise it will go moldy.

2. Grains
Many species of rats feed on grains for the most part. This is why this bait works well in a trap too. If you don’t have any grains in your pantry, you can also use natural muesli or oatmeal.

3. Nuts
In the cold season, rats eat everything they can find. Because of their high energy content, nuts of all kinds are among the most popular meals in winter.

4. Animal feed
There are also numerous species of rats that prefer a meat diet. These include brown rats, for example. Their prey includes not only insects, but also smaller mammals. They are perfect to attract with canned dog or cat food.

5. Hard-Boiled Egg
One of the most desirable items on a rat’s diet is eggs. Since raw eggs aren’t particularly good for a rat trap, a hard-boiled egg will do the same for rat bait.

6. Liver sausage
Fatty, strongly smelling types of sausage such as liver sausage are not only popular with dogs and cats, but also with rats.

7. Ham or bacon
rats eat pretty much anything we humans eat. In pantries, they like to mess about ham and bacon. You can smell the fatty, strongly smelling meat from a great distance and are attracted by it.

8. Fatty fish
What very few people know: Many rats like to eat fish. If you don’t mind the intense smell, you can also equip a rat trap with a piece of fatty fish. If possible, this should be replaced frequently.

9. Sweets
In order to lure rats out of the nest, foods are also suitable that we should not otherwise give to our pets. Various sweets are actually more effective than cheese or other bait that can be found in a rat trap every now and then. The most popular sweets that can be used to lure the rat out of the reserve include:

  • Chocolate (especially milk chocolate)
  • peanut butter
  • Nut nougat cream (like Nutella)

10. Salad and vegetables
During the summer months, rats find a rich supply of food in the garden. In the cold season or in the house, it is more difficult for the animals to get hold of something juicy and thus possibly quench their thirst.

  • Lettuce hearts, chicory and iceberg lettuce
  • Vegetables like broccoli, cucumber, carrots, kohlrabi

11. Fruits
The rats often find enough to eat, but nothing to drink, especially in long periods of dry and hot periods, in winter or in the house. Just like mice in the pantry, rodents get very thirsty over time. Therefore, food containing water can also be ideal as bait for a rat trap.

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • grapes
  • other fruits with a high water content

12. Nesting materials
Rats love to build nests. To do this, the intelligent rodents naturally need suitable nesting material with which they pad their sleeping areas. Rats feel magically attracted to a suitable material for building their nests, in which they can lie comfortably and warmly. It is therefore also an ideal rat bait for the trap.

  • Paper (preferably shredded into strips)
  • Straw and hay
  • Wool and any kind of soft fleece
  • Cotton wool

The right location

Many of the foods listed above are highly perishable. Therefore, they are only useful as rat bait if the rat trap is either set up in a heavily frequented place or the food is changed very frequently. A trap should always be set up in a place protected from the weather so that rain and strong sunlight do not spoil the bait so quickly. Long-lasting rat baits are nuts, grains or nesting material.

  • the fresher the bait, the more attractive
  • Change bait frequently
  • Place trap in a shady, rain-protected location

Rat trap problems

One of the main problems with a rat trap, however, is not the rat bait itself. If the rat infestation is very severe, there is a not inconsiderable number of individuals who are particularly shy about traps. Complete control is therefore not possible. In addition, it is very difficult for the layperson to find out exactly where the nesting places and whereabouts as well as the routes of the rodents are. Because a trap is only effective if it is used effectively and purposefully. So if you do not use rat traps to get rid of the rats, be sure to consult a professional before the population gets out of hand.

If you set up rat traps in the house or garden, it is best to test which bait appeals to the animals the most. If there are several rat traps, it is advisable to equip each with different baits for testing. Over time, it is easy to find out which foods or nesting materials are particularly effective.

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