Best baits for rats, mice and other predators

First published 2020-02-22 01:03
Project The Urban Rat Project

We’ve now got 7,500 predator control reports, and unlike a lot of other data collectors we encourage our users to file a report every time they check their trap, not just when they caught something. That means we can tell which predator baits are actually working.

Most common lures

Here are the lures people are using:

Proportion of reports filed with different predator lures (non-toxic baits)

Best lures

Now, here are the success rates of the different lures, broken down into the proportion of reports filed that report catches of different species:

Success rates of different lures, i.e. non-toxic baits, for different species.


Here’s a few of the key insights from the data.

  1. Chocolate is working a tiny bit better than peanut butter, certainly if you’re after both rats and mice.
  2. Rat lures work better than peanut butter or chocolate on rats, but don’t attract many mice. If you want both, then chocolate’s better.
  3. The most effective lure for rats and mice is “Other”! Obviously we don’t know what that actually is, but what it suggests is that the traditional rat and mice lures are not the best you can use. Could it be chocolate/hazelnut spread? Let the debate begin.
  4. Eggs look fantastic on paper – but they’re obviously expensive and the number of data points we have are very low.
  5. For possums, fresh fruit & vegetables work just as well as possum lures. But they also attract rats and hedgehogs, which tend to ignore possum lure (which is usually a design goal for specialist lures, to be fair).

Leave some comments about your favourite lure below!

Leave a comment

Richard Green

9 months ago

I’ve had some trouble with my corn kernel lures attracting sparrows, with unfortunate results. Not helpful to the “songbird project”. Mind you, if we don’t grapple with the problem of roaming, straying (and defecating) cats the songbird project is a lost cause.

Kevin Kevany

1 year ago

I have a large compost bin, garden tool shed and a worm farm next to the trap. So occasionally resident mice and itinerant rats are my target. Honey, honey for me. It works..Want to avoid birds, since that’s a good part of the focus. One trapped before honey.

Richard Green

1 year ago

Rats love corn. I save a half dozen cobs from the garden crop (the old tough ones) which gives me enough kernels to scatter a dozen or so around the trap with a bonus cluster pressed into peanut butter or chocolate on the trap trigger. Disappearing kernels (or not) are a good indication as to whether I’ve exterminated the local population or still have work to do. Can’t resist nailing one of those blue donut “Storm” pellets to a board as a backup.(Dessert). It’s all in a warm, dry location – the garden toolshed or bikeshed.

Joy Mace

1 year ago

I have problems with ants taking my baits and lures such as mayonnaise. Will experiment with what I suggested to near neighbours who had success when a neighbouring property was being renovated – placing a tunnel wooden container with trap on two bricks placed in a large plastic pot plant saucer. Ants avoid the water but a rat happily climbed into the tunnel and was caught in the trap.

Michael Fielding

1 year ago

Ooooohhhh, I like that idea. Not sure I’ve got a big enough plant pot saucer, but maybe a backing tray…


1 year ago

Half an apple, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Possom crack – they can’t resist it! Have also caught rats unexpectedly this way in a Timm’s trap.

Peter Whiting

1 year ago

Same, apple dusted with cinnamon caught both possums and rats in the same traps. I’ve had success with a bit of dog food, bits of bacon but mostly Nutella for rats.

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