After investigating thoroughly, you realize you have a rat problem. You need to sort it double-time because rats can carry some nasty diseases! After all, you have your health to consider, right?

You may have a rat trap ready, and now you need to know which bait is best for your rat trap. In this post, we are going to take a look at the bait that I use for trapping rats, in the order that I use them.

Basically, if you want to catch a rat, you should be using stinky, sticky bait!

One top tip from me: Scatter some of the rat trap bait around the trap too. I do this for 3 excellent reasons:

  1. It will attract the rat to the area of the trap
  2. It lulls the rat into a false sense of security
  3. The extra food will help to mask the scent of the trap

Rats have an excellent sense of smell and will be very wary of anything new in their environment.

If you have rats in your attic, they will already be aware of the items in your attic. Anything new will be avoided…unless there is some tasty food near it!

Rat Trap Bait Options

Best Rat Trap Bait

Rat Trap Bait – 9 Irresistible Options Infographic

Meat (Bacon/Sausage First)

bacon for rat trap
Meat is the best rat trap bait, and is what I use every single time! Be sure to change it every 2-3 days though.

My go-to rat bait is meat! It is the best food to catch a rat!

Cooked or uncooked – the smellier the better as far as I am concerned.

Rats love to eat meat, so throw on some bacon, or cut up a sausage and you are bound to attract a rat to your trap! Meat is the best food bait for rats.

There are some drawbacks when it comes to using meat on a rat trap. After a few days, the meat begins to smell just as bad as a dead rat!

Whilst it will still do a good job on your rat trap, I always revisit each trap and load it up again after 2 or 3 days.

Cat/Dog Food

pet food is good for rat traps
Pet food will need to be changed every 2-3 days when used as bait.

Cat and dog food is full of meat, but it is also full of other ingredients that will attract a rat.

What I love most about using cat or dog food as rat bait is that they will happily lick away the residue too. The more time the rat spends around the trap, the more successful you will be in catching it.

Simply smear some cat or dog food onto your rat trap for bait, and wait…

Similar to meat, you will need to replace the bait every couple of days to keep it fresh. You will need to wash the rat trap thoroughly before applying some more bait too.

Peanut Butter

peanut butter
Sticky, sweet, and full of fat! Peanut butter is one of the best bait for rat traps!
  • Strong smell – yup
  • Sticky – yup
  • TASTY – yup

Peanut butter has all that is required to be an excellent rat trap bait, and one that I have used time and time again with high levels of success.

When setting up some rat traps, I always opt for the meat option first, but I will also load at least one rat trap with peanut butter.

You have to cater for the sweet-toothed rats too, right?

All you need to do is smear a small amount of peanut button upon the rat trap before setting it.

Leave the rat trap in an area where you know the rat has been frequenting.


sticky chocolate for rat traps
Chocolate is an awesome option for rat trap bait because it is sweet and sticky!

Speaking of catering for the sweet-toothed rats, chocolate is one of the best rat bait options.

For some reason (which I have yet to discover) milk chocolate works better than its darker counterpart.

My guess is that milk chocolate is sweeter.

And hey, its a bonus for me if rats do not like dark chocolate, because it means more for me!


fruit rat trap bait
Fruit will leave sweet residue on the trap, enticing the rat over to it!

Because it is both sticky and sweet, fruits are a top choice to use as rat trap bait.

Not only is fruit a regular part of a rat’s diet, but it will also leave sweet-smelling residue on the rat trap. When considering the best bait to catch rats, you have to think about what they eat in the wild.

As you may already know, rats have an excellent sense of smell, and they will smell fruit from a distance.

Consider which fruits are available in your area – because that is exactly what the local rats are used to eating!


gum drops for rat bait
Gumdrops offer those sweet-toothed rats some sugary goodness!

Candy in the form of gumdrops are awesome rat bait, for one main reason:

Gumdrops are difficult to remove from the rat trap! The more difficult a food is to remove from the rat trap, the more successful you will be in catching a rat.

Think about it, if you use a nut as rat trap bait and the nut can easily roll-off, you are just giving the rat a free meal.

The last thing you want is for the rat to think that your home is an awesome place to get a quick meal, right?


nuts crushed for rat trap
Make sure you crush some nuts onto the trap to make them difficult to remove!

Although I mentioned above that nuts can easily roll off a rat trap, you have options for placing the nuts down.

What do I do?

I crush the nuts onto the rat trap to create more of a smell, and to make it more of a challenge to remove the nut without the trap being triggered. I also scatter a few nuts around the trap.

Here is a tip – crush the food on BEFORE setting the trap! It will save you from hurting your fingers!


As they form part of a rat’s normal diet, seeds can be used as rat trap bait.

Seeds are a stable part of a rat’s diet, and should be used to coax them onto your freshly set rat traps!

Similar to nuts, it is a good idea to crush a small number of seeds onto the trap, along with a small number of whole seeds.

A good tip here is to set place some seeds around the rat trap. These seeds will act to draw the rat towards the trap, mask the scent of the trap, and give the rat some confidence to jump on it!


Cheese has a strong smell and will help to mask the smell of your rat trap!

Ok, cheese pretty much HAD to be on here!

The reason why cheese is such an awesome idea for rat trap bait is that:

  • It has a strong smell
  • It can be sticky
  • Rats are attracted to fatty foods

Cheese does not just work in cartoons, it works in real life too! Stick cheese with a strong odor is one of the best things to put in a rat trap!

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions

What food is irresistible to rats?

The best food to catch a rat is raw smokey bacon. I have user bacon s many times to catch a rat and trust me, they find it eventually! Bacon will need to e replaces every few days so be sure to wear gloves. Peanut butter is also irresistible to rats too.

Do rats learn to avoid traps?

If a rat trap is set up and baited correctly, rats will not have any memory of anything bad happening near a trap! A rat does not know what a trap is but will avoid anything if it smells too much of a human. You must always wear gloves when baiting a trap.

Do rats like cheese?

Yes – rats like cheese. I have used cheese to catch rats in the past. Usually, a rat will prefer sticky cheese with a strong odor. Not only will the smell attract the rat to the rat, but it is also difficult to remove from the trap, which increases the chance of successfully catching the rat!


Now you know all of the food items I use and consider the best rat trap bait. So if you are wondering what to bait a rat trap with… choose any of the options on this page!

Although this information is freely available, I have confirmed this list time and time again when catching rats.

When deciding which is the best rat trap bait, you have to consider what a rat eats in the wild.

In the wild, rats will eat pretty much anything. However, a healthy rat will opt for the following:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Insects
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Meat

As I said, a rat will eat anything! Especially if it is hungry!

It is extremely important that you place any bait onto the rat trap before setting the trap. I am sure that you have already worked that out for yourselves but I had to mention it!

Good luck catching the rats.

About the Author

Rodent Guide

Man v Rodent! I've been tackling Rodent infestation issues for over 20 years. Now I want to use this website to pass over the tips that I have learned over that time to help you take these Rodents out DIY style!

View All Articles