Rat or Mouse? #219630 - Ask Extension


Rat or Mouse? #219630

Asked November 06, 2014, 1:26 PM EST

I have been using both types of trap and can't catch these beasts. Mouse traps sometimes are sprung, rat traps are never sprung, and bait (peanut butter and walnuts) gets taken. This has always worked on rats before. Help!

Benton County Oregon

Expert Response

Thanks for the question. Rats can be tricky to catch and are often more clever than we give them credit. Placement of traps is a key element to successfully catching them. Often, professionals will place the trap perpendicular to the walls, with the food bait closest to the wall. Also, rats don't like open spaces and prefer to track along known routes that are hidden. If you've tried all of this and are still unsuccessful, I recommend placing the trap in a new place that you think the rats are frequenting. This time, just place the peanut butter on the trap without setting it. Rats are often bait shy and if they start to feel comfortable with a new food item, they will keep coming back.   On the third or fourth day, try putting the peanut butter in various places along the trap to increase the likelihood of it being sprung. You can also put glue boards down as well. These are definitely effective against mice - less so than rats.

Finally, try to find out how the critters are entering the space. Even holes the size of a dime can allow mice to enter (rats obviously need bigger spaces). Sealing these spaces with stainless steel wool or other hardy product will go a long way to preventing further infestations (caulking and foams are not sufficient). I've included a web resource that I hope is helpful to you:


Good luck
Dave Stone, Ph.D.
Oregon State University

David Stone Replied November 07, 2014, 12:17 PM EST
Hi David, So you think these are rats then? I may get a different type of spring trap - mine seem hard to trigger. thanks! Mindy
The Question Asker Replied November 07, 2014, 1:28 PM EST
Hi Mindy-
I thought from your original message that you had seen both rats and mice.  If you haven't actually seen anything then it could be either. Yes, try a different type of spring trap - I know if can be frustrating to find no peanut butter and a live trap (I've been there).  Try the glue boards as well - this will tell you are dealing with mice. I've had luck putting a dab of peanut butter in the middle of the glue board to entice them.  Also, mice droppings will be smaller than rat droppings.  Regards-

David Stone Replied November 07, 2014, 1:40 PM EST
Hi Dave, Maybe you didn't see the picture with the droppings next to a ruler. I'll attach again. These seem to be sort of in between in size.
The Question Asker Replied November 07, 2014, 3:02 PM EST
Thanks for resending.  I'm going to guess mouse - but until you've got a body....
Good luck!

David Stone Replied November 07, 2014, 3:46 PM EST

Loading ...