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Environmental Health

Vector Control:
Rodent Abatement Program: Snap Traps

Use of Snap Traps in Rodent Control

Snap-traps used for rodent control are very efficient when used correctly. Poisons are not advisable in many situations, and can result in animals dying in unreachable spaces, causing odors and flies.

Snap-traps should always be placed out for at least one night with an attractive bait, without setting the trigger. Rats are very wary of new objects in their territory.

The attracting bait can be almost any food. A good bait is moistened oatmeal. Some peanut butter may be added to this or smeared on a piece of bread crust. Rats also like apples and pet food.

Traps should be set in a secluded place, such as a garage, where rats are active. This can usually be determined by the presence of droppings. The trap should be set at a right angle to a wall, with the baited side touching the wall. While setting the trigger, and afterwards, handle the trap carefully by the edges only, to avoid snapping the trap into your finger.

Traps can cause serious injury. Be sure to place them where children cannot gain access.

You may wish to attach a wire to the trap and nail the wire down so the trap will not be lost. Check your baited traps daily. Release the trigger before placing fresh bait onto a trap, then reset the trigger.

Proper Disposal of Dead Rodents and Droppings

Care should be taken when dead rodents are removed from traps. Wear disposable gloves or put your hands into plastic bags. You may also put the plastic bag around the rodent in order to handle it. Wrap it inside at least 2 plastic bags and dispose of it in your garbage can.

The trap may be washed and disinfected with a weak bleach solution (2 tablespoons bleach into 1 cup of water) and air dried. Dry the trap quickly and thoroughly or it will rust.

When cleaning rodent droppings, avoid creating dust that could allow disease organisms to be inhaled. Use the bleach solution described above and spray the droppings lightly. With your hands protected as above, use paper towels or a cloth or sponge which can be thrown away, to pick up the droppings. Place everything into double plastic bags for disposal.

If the droppings are inside the living area of your home, after picking up the droppings, wash and sanitize the area again. When removing large amounts of droppings, it is advisable to wear a dust mask.

These precautions also apply to cleaning bird droppings.