If you’re concerned about a rat infestation or want to take preventative measures, the best rat poison can take care of the problem. If a rat makes it into your home, these edible poisons attract their noses and taste buds, compelling them to eat. The poisonous chemicals inside these baits make their way into the rat’s system, killing the rodent within a day or two.
Most rat poisons come in blocks that you can use on their own or in bait stations. You can purchase poisons in large quantities to provide many options for intruding rats. Keep reading to learn about what to consider when buying rat poison and why our top picks are among the most effective available.
- BEST OVERALL: Neogen Ramik Weather Resistant Bait Nuggets 116300
- BEST FAST-ACTING: Victor Fast-Kill Brand Refillable Poison Bait Station
- BEST FOR OUTDOORS: Tomcat All Weather Bait Chunx, 4 Lb
- BEST FOR RURAL AREAS: Tomcat Bait Chunx Pail 4 LB
- BEST BAIT FOOD: Motomco Tomcat with Bromethalin Meal Bait, 5 lb
Before You Buy Rat Poison
Rats are carriers for a host of diseases and infestations should be taken seriously. Similarly, the use of rat poison is a serious matter. Always read and follow the warnings on the product’s label. Improper use could have unintended and tragic repercussions on your pets. Use these products as directed.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Rat Poison
There are a few important factors to consider as you decide which rat poison is best for your situation. Keep in mind that most rat poisons don’t take effect immediately, requiring at least a few days of successful feeding to affect rats.
Types of Poison
There are a few types of rat poison, referred to as rodenticides. These include calcium releasers, acute toxins, and anticoagulants.
Calcium releasers and acute toxins are the least messy options. Calcium releasers increase the amount of calcium in the bloodstream, which causes rats’ internal organs to shut down. Acute toxins release small amounts of poison into the bloodstream over a short period of time until the amount of poison in the blood is lethal.
Anticoagulants can be particularly gruesome, both for rats and for those people who have to dispose of the rat carcasses These poisons inhibit blood clotting, causing internal bleeding until the rat expires.
Toxic vs. Nontoxic
Make no mistake: poisons are toxic. The difference between toxic and nontoxic rat poisons has nothing to do with their effects on rats. It refers to poisons’ toxicity to humans and other animals. Few poisons are categorized as nontoxic, and, to be sure, you still need to handle them carefully. Read these poisons’ warning labels and use them appropriately.
Though they may not kill you, exposure to high doses of chemicals in nontoxic poisons cause serious side effects, like flushing and a drop in blood pressure. For these reasons, keep nontoxic products in the same safe areas that you would keep toxic rat poisons in.
Slow-Acting vs. Fast-Acting
There is a considerable difference between slow-acting and fast-acting rat poisons, and it’s not just the amount of time it takes for a rat to die. Fast-acting poison will kill a rat faster (with a proper dose) than a slow-acting poison, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Fast-acting poisons are suitable for significant infestations because they can quickly kill many rats within a day or two. However, rats can learn to avoid fast-acting poisons if they see other rats become sick after eating them. Slow-acting poisons don’t affect rats right away, which means they won’t make a correlation between the food they eat and feeling ill.
The California legislature is trying to ban the use of fast-acting rodenticides altogether. The reason? A rat that dies from fast-acting poison will have high levels of poison in its carcass, potentially poisoning the next animal that comes along and eats it. This could start a dangerous cycle that affects wildlife several links up the food chain.
Poison dosage has less to do with how much bait put out and more to do with how much a rat has to eat before succumbing to the poison. How much rat poison to use depends on whether the poison is fast- or slow-acting.
Fast-acting poison requires fewer doses of poison, and some rats with voracious appetites can consume a lethal dose in one day. Slow-acting poisons require repeated feeding over the course of a few days before enough toxins build up to kill the rat.
If you’re unsure how much poison to put out, your product’s packaging will have directions and recommended dosages.
Ease of Use
Most rat poisons are easy to use because rats are attracted to them. Since rodenticides take time to work, you need to leave them out for several days to give rats time to consume them. It’s best to purchase products that are easy to handle and replace when needed.
Several rat poisons on the market are compatible with feeding stations that you can refill when you run low on bait or the bait ages and loses its effectiveness. Bait stations like the Redtop 2 Pack Rodent Bait Station allow you to refill the trap with liquid poison or pellets. Other stations like Tomcat Rat and Mouse Bait Station use block-type poisons.
Our Top Picks
Below is a list highlighting some of the best rat poisons on the market in their respective categories. Now that you know more about the types of rat poison and how these rodenticides work, browse through the slow-and fast-acting blocks and baits.
The Neogen Ramik Weather Resistant Bait Nuggets are worth a look if you need a slow-acting poison in a large, affordable quantity. These pellets use Diphacinone, which is a slow-acting anticoagulant that will kill rats within four or five days. Neogen uses food-processing technology to create a fish-flavored bait that won’t lose its potency or flavor.
A 20-pound pail of Neogen Ramik Nuggets provides plenty of refills for bait traps, so it’s easy to stay on top of a persistent rat problem. Neogen Ramik Weather Resistant Bait Nuggets can be used inside and outside, thanks to their weather-resistant formula. They’re effective against rats, mice, and meadow voles.
The Victor Fast-Kill Brand Refillable Poison Bait Station has a large, plastic see-through body that is equipped with two bait blocks. It’s a heavy-duty rat-poison and bait station in one that’s effective after one night’s feeding. Refilling the station is easy: The cover slides apart, allowing you to easily access the bait.
This refillable bait station comes with six bait refills and disposable gloves, so it’s easy to refill the station safely. It features two entry points and an interactive tunnel, which encourages rats to stay and eat. After one night, the Bromethalin—a fast-acting anticoagulant—can poison rats with a lethal dose.
Rats can just as easily become a problem on a farm or in the backyard as they can in a city. These bait chunks feature food-grade ingredients that attract hungry rats, and Diphacinone to poison them after a couple of feedings. The 1-ounce bait chunks are mold- and moisture-resistant, so you can place them in bait stations along your barn or garage foundation, indoors or out.
The peanut-flavored bait chunks have very low wax content, which makes them extra palatable to rats. They have center holes that you can place over a peg, nail, or screw, which will keep greedy rats from walking away with these tasty Tomcat bait chunks.
Ridding rats from a barn or old house can get expensive, particularly for home dwellers with one or two voracious rats consuming a chunk of bait each night. Tomcat’s Bait Chunx allows rats to nibble a lethal dose of food but kills them before they eat more.
Tomcat Bait Chunx administers an acute dose of Bromethalin that builds up in rats’ bodies, shutting their organs down after two days. Each pail has 64 bait blocks that can be used in Tomcat feed stations. The bait blocks have center holes that keep them in place over a nail or peg, which prevents rats from knocking the bait down or taking it with them.
Note that, due to the potency of Tomcat’s bait chunks, they’re only suitable for use in agricultural and rural settings.
The oat-and-grain formula in Motomco’s Tomcat Meal Bait is appealing to rodents, and that’s a good thing. Rat poison has to be pretty appetizing to get a rat’s attention—the idea is for the rats to eat the poison instead of other food sources. This poison meal bait contains Bromethalin, an acute poison that kills rats in about two days. While it does require more than one feeding to kill rats, the 5-pound container is ample supply to handle a persistent issue.
Motomco’s Tomcat with Bromethalin Meal Bait can be used in a variety of applications including bait traps and stations, loose piles, and in burrows. Be sure to place the bait down inside the burrow to keep birds and other wildlife from coming in contact with the poison.
Tips for Using Rat Poison Safely
When handling rat poison, be sure to wear gloves at all times, and wash your hands afterward. Handling poison probably won’t expose you to enough of it to become critically ill, but it’s important to protect yourself as much as possible.
Don’t store your rat poison anywhere a pet can get to it. Many of these poisons are attractive to animal noses in general, and a curious pet may try to get to the package’s contents. It’s best to store the package in an airtight container, out of animals’ reach. Of course, rodenticides should also be kept out of the reach of children. It’s a good idea to store rat poison in a garage or shed to keep it away from curious kids.
Finally, remove other food sources from the area to be treated in order to get the rats to concentrate on your bait. This includes livestock feed, human food, and pet food. Edibles that distract rats from the rat poison will minimize the poison’s effectiveness.
- Wear gloves while baiting traps, and wash your hands afterward.
- Store unused rat poison in an airtight container where pets and children can’t get to it.
- Remove competing food sources so rats only eat the poisoned bait.
FAQs About Your New Rat Poison
If you have some questions about the best rat poison, don’t worry. The following section outlines some of the most frequently asked questions about rat poison. If you have a question that isn’t addressed, contact the rodenticide’s manufacturer or your local poison control center.
Q. How does rat poison work?
There are a few types of rat poisons. Some overload the bloodstream with calcium to shut down rats’ organs. Other poisons kill rodents slowly over the course of a few feedings. Some rat poisons use anticoagulants to cause internal bleeding.
Q. How long does it take to kill rats with poison?
Fast-acting poisons can kill a rat with a single night’s feeding, but it may take two or three days before the rat dies. Slow-acting poisons may take a feeding or two and can take four or five days before the rat dies.
Q. What if my pet eats rat poison?
If your pet eats rat poison, call your veterinarian right away. The sooner your pet is treated, the less likely it is that permanent damage will occur. If at all possible, identify the active ingredient in the poison (or bring the poison’s container with you) so the vet can administer proper care.