Regardless of where you live, rats can be a disgusting and overwhelming problem. The average rat is a foot long including the tail and will eat anything it can get its claws on. Rats reproduce at alarming rates, and even one mating couple can produce an entire colony of over 100 rats each year. If you have a preexisting rat infestation, or even a couple of unwelcome rats, the time to take action is now.
Rat traps come in all shapes, sizes and designs, but the best choice to quickly kill rats is the standard wooden snap trap. Make sure you purchase traps constructed for rats, not mice. Mouse traps will only injure or frighten the oversized target, allowing the rat to escape with the bait. For best results, bait several snap traps with peanut butter, bread or whatever else the rodents seem to be eating, but do not set the traps. Continue to lure the rats in this manner for a week or two until they have become comfortable with eating off of the traps. Then, re-bait and set all of the traps at the same time. If done properly, expect to catch multiple rats by morning. Keep in mind that even if this method kills 90 percent of the population, the survivors will continue to infest your home. Be sure to seal any openings that are a half inch in diameter or more and persistently use traps until there are no longer any traces of rats.
Before considering poisons, remember that the same ingredients deadly to rodents are lethal to humans and pets. If you have small children or animals, make sure you can completely isolate the poison. With that said, poison can be the quickest and most effective method for exterminating rodents in large numbers. Modern rodent poisons are proven to be highly attractive to rats, and they can kill large populations in a matter of days. Place rat poisons in rat traffic areas such as under cabinets, around sinks, under porches or in rat holes. With luck, all or most of the rat population will be dead within a few days. If you use poisons, be attentive. Rats will not die instantly after eating poison, so they are likely to wander into your walls and out of reach before dying, which can cause an unbearably foul odor and attract flies.
There are several foods that the rat digestive system cannot handle. Mashed potatoes will cause a rat's stomach to expand, according to Natural-HomeRemedies.com, and enough potatoes will kill the rodent. Place mashed potatoes in a dish or on a plate near rat traffic areas. Sodas can be lethal to rats because their bodies cannot handle the carbonation. Simply place a bowl of soda near your rat traffic and wait for them to indulge in the sweet drink. You can also concoct a mixture of equal parts cornmeal and dry cement; put this in an accessible location for rats. After eating the mix and drinking water, the cement will harden in the rat's stomach and quickly kill it. Like store-bought poisons, these methods can cause a rat to die quickly and get trapped between walls. Closely monitor the rodent situation to prevent such issues.