30 November 2022

How to catch a rat - part one

So, you want to know how to catch a rat? The reasons why you should are well documented, so let's focus on giving you some answers.
How to catch a rat - part one

To begin, we need to identify what type of rat has moved into that Australian home of yours. Then, we need to find the right trap to catch it. Finally, we need to figure out how to catch a rat. We'll do this by employing tried and true tactics that increase your chances of success.

Follow the steps outlined here, and you'll catch that rat in no time!

What does your rat look like?

Australia is home to four rat species. Two are pests, and two are native. By identifying which is in your home, we can effectively target pests and take steps to protect natives. They are:

  • Black rats

  • Brown rats,

  • Water rats, which are native and protected, and

  • Bush rats, which are also native and protected

Start by looking at how the rat behaves

  • Is the rat active in both the day and night, and is it relatively fearless around you?

  • Is it a nimble climber, seen in fruit trees, scaling fences and electrical wires or the roof of your house?

  • Have you found a rat nest in your roof, made of shredded materials like paper and other waste?

  • Have you seen proof of it feeding on discarded foodstuffs like garbage or compost and even pet food?

Black rat

If the answer to these questions is mostly yes, that's easy, you'll likely have a black rat (also known as a roof rat). They’re fearless and active throughout the day and night. They have excellent climbing skills which allow them to access higher nesting locations like roofs or trees and are closely associated with human activity in Australia's inner cities. They eat almost anything we provide them.

Brown rat

Brown rats prefer to live at lower elevations and often make networks of tunnels in soil under bushes, houses, and other urban structures. They prefer to build nests in these tunnels from shredded materials found at ground level. Like black rats, they are also commonly associated with human activity but are more prevalent in Australia's coastal areas and will consume foods available to them. For example, they're reported to stalk and kill sparrows and ducks on an island off the coast of Germany. Closer to home in Australia, they're happy consuming rubbish and compost because there’s so much of it.

Native rats

Australias native Bush and Water Rats are shy and far more elusive. Bush rats are hardly ever seen in urban areas, preferring dense forest and woodland. Water rats prefer large bodies of freshwater and create burrows along their edges. Given bush rats don't commonly occupy urban areas, their diets are comprised of things like seeds, fungi, fruits, and insects. The water-rat also eats these things, as well as crustaceans, frogs, and lizards.

What do I catch a rat with?

So, you know what type of rat you have, where it may be nesting, and what it may be eating. How can you catch it? Let's look at the pros and cons of a few rat trapping solutions.

Snap trap


One before it needs to be emptied and reset.


Only when empty.


Required daily to rebait, empty and reset.


Emptying and resetting the trap in manual.


Sometimes, depending on where the pest is struck.

Clean up:

You need to manually dispose of the dead.



Each poison block kills multiple rats.


Only when bait is available.


Required weekly to rebait.


You must manually rebait poison boxes.



Clean up:

You must find the dead and dispose of them.

Goodnature Smart Trap


Twenty four before you have to 'reset' the trap.


Constantly. Pests fall from the trap once killed.


After six months or 24 kills, which ever comes first.


The trap automatically resets itself after each kill.


Certified humane for black rats.

Clean up:

90% of dead rats are scavenged.

TIP: If you're concerned about the safety of your pets, then consider the Goodnature Smart Trap. It has a non-toxic chocolate paste that is only attractive to rats and mice. It doesn't contain poison and is truffle based, which means you don't have to worry about your pooch eating a poisoned rat, or sampling the paste.

IMPORTANT: If you've identified native rats around your home, do not set traps or poison. Australia's native rodents are protected, and it's our responsibility to ensure they flourish. We recommend you use live catch traps in this situation.

In part two we move onto outlining a few tried and true tactics that will help increase your rat catching chances! Read on.