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7 Effective DIY Rat Trap Plans (With Pictures & Instructions)

close up of a brown rat trapped inside a cage

The first sign of rats should inspire swift action to rid your home of these dangerous rodents. The capacity to spread disease is enough reason to want them out, but the prospect of a rat chewing through an electrical circuit should make anyone drop what they’re doing and focus on the immediate problem.

Unfortunately, a rapid response doesn’t always seem possible with limited resources. You’ll need a solution before a burgeoning rat problem causes real damage. For an effective fix to start using ASAP, check out these DIY rat trap plans you can make today.

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The 7 DIY Rat Trap Plans

1. DIY Bucket Rat Trap by Home in the Sticks

Materials: Bucket, cardboard, straight metal wire, wood block, glue
Tools: Drill, utility knife, glue gun
Difficulty: Easy

A hodge-podge of leftover household items can transform into a viable rodent control measure with a creative mindset, as the maker of this bucket rat trap proves. Bait sits at the end of a counterweighted cardboard paddle. When a rat goes for the feed, its weight tilts the paddle, sliding it down into the water-filled bucket where it drowns.

Alongside the bucket, you’ll only need a few screw holes, a wire coat hanger, a double or triple-corrugated piece of cardboard, and a small weight (a wood block, in this case) to make the design work. Add a touch of glue to the feed to prevent it from sliding into the bucket with the rat, so you’ll have a reusable and lower-maintenance setup.

2. Easy Homemade Rat Trap by Living Traditions Homestead

Materials: 1×8 wood, wire mesh, conibear trap, screws
Tools: Saw, drill
Difficulty: Easy

This innovative homemade rat trap is a super-simple project you can complete in only a few minutes. A Duke 110 trap slides into a slotted box consisting of four 1×8 wood pieces, with notches cut by a band saw, scroll saw, or jigsaw.

With food hidden behind it and a wire mesh end to show off the bait, the conibear trap awaits hungry vermin. It’s a straightforward yet effective design, and there are several ways to experiment with the triggering mechanism and bait to improve your results.

3. Log-Rolling Bucket Rat Trap by DIYeasycrafts

Materials: Bucket, 2x3s, old paint roller, PVC pipe, screws, epoxy
Tools: Grinder, saw, screws
Difficulty: Intermediate

Repurpose old painting, plumbing, and woodworking materials to eliminate rodents through a neat log-rolling rat trap. Like the bucket rat trap, the concept is to slide the rats into an inescapable container. But this time, rats and mice meet a slick rolling PVC tube when they eventually venture out toward the bait.

Smearing peanut butter around the cylinder is a quick bait method, and the trap can catch multiple rats. The funky use of the old paint roller is a cunningly frugal way to build something functional and enjoyable.

4. Paper Tunnel Rat Trap by Imaginative Guy

Materials: Paper, glue stick, tape
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty: Easy

You’ll have no excuse to skip making a DIY rat trap today when you see this paper tunnel rat trap. At most, the only tools you might need are a pair of scissors. It isn’t the most efficient rat trap, as you’ll ruin the paper with each successful use, but it makes an excellent temporary option or extra solution alongside a sturdier trap.

5. CD Rat Trap by Home Made Tips and Tricks

Materials: CD, metal wire, plastic bottle, tape
Tools: Scissors, knife, lighter
Difficulty: Easy

Who listens to CDs anymore? If you have old discs hanging around, you likely won’t have the equipment or desire to use them, so take the opportunity to repurpose them for your rat-trapping exploits.

The rudimentary trigger system in this plastic bottle trap drops the disc “door” when the rodent activates it from inside when it goes for the bait. Since you’re dealing with rats, you may want to strengthen the metal wire portion and use something thicker than a plastic bottle, but the concept easily applies to more rat-tolerant materials.

6. Simple Plastic Bottle Trap by Home Made Tips and Tricks

Materials: Plastic bottle, tape
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty: Easy

Soda won’t solve all your problems, but it could be the perfect solution for your rat situation. Finish a two-liter, and put it to work as a live trap for household vermin. You may need something sturdier than a thin plastic bottle to deal with rats. Fortunately, you have plenty of ways to add extra reinforcement, like using a wrap or nesting two bottles, giving you some extra time to remove trapped rodents.

7. Pipe Hole Rat Trap by Survival Tips

Materials: Plastic container, PVC pipe, metal or plastic blades, cardboard
Tools: Glue gun
Difficulty: Easy

You don’t need to worry about rats jumping out of this outdoor pipe hole rat trap. In this build, a PVC tunnel connects to a plastic container that holds the rats and mice. A cozy den keeps them comfy until you can remove them, and they’ll resist trying to leave due to the pointed blades blocking their path on the way back out.

Choosing an Appropriate Rat Trap Container

Most DIY rat traps incorporate a bucket to accomplish the actual “trapping” portion of the system. It’s crucial to plan your bucket according to the rodent you’re trying to catch. Otherwise, you’ll waste time resetting traps they can easily escape.

Deeper is better, and it will likely take more than a 5-gallon bucket to hold a rat, whether you have water in it or not. Mice can jump up to 12 inches high, but a rat’s vertical can reach three feet!

Instead of using a bucket, use a deep trash can or drum, ideally one made of metal. Rats are aggressive gnawers and will quickly bust through a thin bottle or even a plastic bucket. Avoid the risk by using the most heavy-duty container possible.

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Final Thoughts

A rat trap can be a helpful aide in stemming an early infestation, but don’t rely too heavily on it. If indoor rats are a recurring issue, call an exterminator as soon as possible. The risk of damage and disease is surprisingly high, and you could regret waiting on a solution. Prevention and ongoing monitoring are the foundation of a safe home, and a quick response will make all the difference when you end up with a rat in the house.

Featured Image Credit: Ardeshir Etemad, Pexels

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