Throughout this website, we’ve talked extensively about rat control techniques and what traps are available but we haven’t yet talked too much about using rat poison, which is one of the main avenues to take when ridding your home of its invasive rat population.
Don’t get me wrong, trapping mice using either live or lethal traps is a viable strategy you can implement in your war on rats, however, rat poison is more often a more effective and cheaper solution.
Traps do work especially well for the smaller variety of mice, however, if you’re dealing with rats the size of softballs, those traps will likely fail to utilize their trapping mechanisms or more simply put, some rats may not fit into the traps you have!
Adding more dismay to our trap users, rats are typically very suspect of new shiny objects being placed in their area of frequency and thus making traps a scary and unknown object. Rats don’t like unknown objects and this is why it may take several weeks for the trap to start performing well. Unfortunately, several weeks is plenty of time for a rat to cause major damage and really make a mess of things. In this review, we will cover the different types of rat poisons, how to use each type effectively, and a list of the best rat poisons on the market in 2020.
Here Are the Best Rat Poisons – Updated to 2023
1. Tomcat Bait Chunx 4LB Pail (Best Value)
My Review in 2023: I recommend Tomcat several times throughout this website and for good reason! Tomcat has a long-lasting reputation as being a great value and delivering effective results.
For this pale of poison, I highly recommend (so does the law in most places) to use a bait station, which we’ve already reviewed in this article beforehand! Once you have a solid bait station, investing in a 4LB pail should set you up for several months, if not years, of rat resistance.
The Tomcat Farm & Home product lineup focuses heavily on the rats you’ll most likely encounter in the US, which are the Norway and Roof rats. This particular poison utilizes bromethalin, which we highly recommend here at Pest Control Gurus. The reason we like using this toxin is that rats will stop feeding once a deadly dose has entered their systems. This ensures you’re getting the most bang for your buck as some other poisons lack this feature. Bromethalin is also especially trusted when it comes to anticoagulant-resistant rats and has a long track record of being reliable!
2. Havoc Rat and Mouse Bait (Recommended)
My Review: Utilizing second-generation brodifacoum anticoagulant (talked about earlier), this toxin comes in the form of a bait pack, which keeps the chemicals closed and sealed until rodents chew through the outer layer. The bait itself is highly attractive with very strong smells that are proven to attract rodents. The results of using this should yield single feed deaths in a very short amount of time (roughly 1 day). Brodifacoum anticoagulant is by far one of the most lethal and trusted chemicals you can purchase for rat control and is effective for both roof rats and Norway rats.
3. JT Eaton Bait Block Pail – Diphacinone
My Review: A tasty treat and deadly result, the JT Eaton bait blocks (when used properly in a bait station) seem to be fairly effective, utilizing toxins that work as anticoagulants. This is often referred to as a more human toxin to rid your property of mice, however, doesn’t always work. Some mice populations have evolved and resist anticoagulants. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try them, though.
Getting rid of any pest usually requires a little trial and error before you find out what works the best! If you purchase anticoagulant bait blocks and you find your rat problem slowly disappearing over the next 4-6 days, they’re working! If not, you may have yourself an advanced resistive force of rats and may need to bring in more powerful poisons. These blocks are one of the best in the business for attracting rats which is why we’ve selected it for our list!
The offerings from JT Eaton come in two flavors: Apple or Peanut Butter. The toxins are the same and the method of use is also the same, the only difference is the flavor. In my opinion, there is no “better flavor”. Perhaps asking the rats to take a survey can help you choose? If that doesn’t work, you’ll just have to guess!
4. JT Eaton 750 Top Gun – Bromethalin
My Review: Similar to the Bromethalin toxins offered by MOTOMCO Tomcat, JT Eaton utilizes bromethalin to rid your property of rats and mice via toxic anticoagulant. The two are essentially identical and interchangeable so whichever brand you prefer is probably going to be the deciding factor in your choice.
The only difference is that the JT Top Gun bait blocks fair a bit better in harsh weather conditions. Most people reading this are likely using rat poison to rid their homes, barns, garages, etc of mice so most of you probably won’t need to worry, but if you are using bait stations that are exposed to rain or snow, JT Eaton Top Gun is the go-to selection!
5. Liphatech First Strike Soft Bait Rodenticide – Difethialone
My Review: This massive 16LB pale contains easy to utilize pouches using a rather new chemical not yet popular in most other leading brands. One of the things that really stand out about this product is that its designed to be especially aromatic, putting the rats into a food trance and raising this product’s effectiveness when there are many other food options in the area. Just like bait blocks, you simply place the pouches inside a bait station and observe rat activity over the next four to five days.
I didn’t cover difethialone earlier in the article as it isn’t widely adopted yet, however, I’ll offer a few quick words on it for those interested. Basically, this is a second-generation anticoagulant that was actually initially banned in the US for consumer use at high doses. Liphatech found a way to offer very low doses, thus creating a product you can use legally while maintaining a high lethality to rodents. Difethialone is similar to other anticoagulants in the way it works but has been claimed to be much more potent and effective, although studies are still being conducted and results are somewhat inconclusive thus far. Although rarely used, the results seem to be overwhelmingly positive.
6. D-Con Corner Fit Bait Station and Bait Refills – Vitamin D3
My Review: D-Con has long researched poison-free alternatives to ridding rat populations and has become quite popular as of late. They use a special ingredient called cholecalciferol, which is basically vitamin D3. In a nutshell, the human body and many other living organisms consume and use vitamin D3 safely, however, vitamin D3 is highly toxic to rats and mice specifically. This is by far one of the safest rat “poisons” for those of you with young children and other animals roaming about in your home as they will have little to no effect at all.
This package from D-Con includes a nice little bait station designed for use in corners, although can really be used anywhere. The station has a clear window so you can easily check and replace bait as needed. Fatality after feeding usually occurs three days after consumption in rats and has been proven to be highly effective, so long as a lot is consumed, which isn’t a problem since D-Con has been researching the most effective ways to make Vitamin D3 delicious to rats!
Since this option is incredibly cheap and proven to be safe around children, I think it’s safe to say this is one of the first methods you should use if you have kids and/or pets and the rat infestation is rather small.
Related Article: 17 Best Ways to Get Rid of Rats
7. Tomcat Rat Killer II Tier 1
My Review: I always recommend if you’re going to use poison to utilize an all-encompassing poison station. This offering by Tomcat is one of the best in the business, ensuring your pets and kids cannot access the poison hidden inside. Only rats can fit in the opening and there’s a handy dandy see-through window so that you can monitor the availability of your poison bait blocks. This system comes with 30g bait blocks that should be able to take down 3 full-size rats each.
The system itself is small, black, and very elegant in nature. It’s designed this way to be as sleek and unnoticeable by the rodents as possible. Buying this system ensures you have a safe way to administer poison to invading rat populations at any time, safely and securely. It also minimizes the collateral damage of other animals in the area.
8. Selontra Soft Bait Rodenticide
My Review: Utilizing cholecalciferol (we talked about this earlier), this soft bait poisons and kills the rats in one of the most humane ways possible today (via toxins). Technically, by law, you should be using bait like this only in a tamper safe rat bait station, which this does not come with. Buy your own!
Despite that, this is a fantastic deal allowing you to really stock up on one of the most potent rat killing chemicals allowed by the EPA today. It’s thoroughly tested by professionals and fairly proven to be a favorited taste among many different rat populations.
If you’re willing to pony up for a nice bait station, this is by far one of the best solutions on the market today!
9. Tomcat Mouse and Rat Bromethalin Pellets
My Review: This five-pound bucket is enough to destroy entire rat colonies within just days of implementation! Bromethalin is potent even in anticoagulant resistant species and also has a special characteristic where the rat will stop eating once it’s had enough to be lethal, making your bait more effective to more rats!
Similarly to our other rat baits that come in mass, you should really be using them in a refillable bait station. Technically, it is illegal to use rat toxins without a bait station so you will need to purchase a bait station alongside this offering by Tomcat. Tomcat does have really nice bait stations too so make sure to check them out!
As a final note about bromethalin, it is fairly safe in terms of secondary poisoning. It’s not completely unheard of, however, the likelihood of secondary poisoning (ex. a cat eating an infected rat) is extremely low.
10. Rat Poison Cakes by Just One Bite
My Review: These are cute little wafer looking rat poisons that are capable of taking down pretty much any rodent you’d ever come across in the US. The cakes themselves are highly attractive to rats and the taste is very palatable, inclusive of gains and seeds that rats actively seek out to munch upon.
Each bar is individually wrapped and easy to break apart and use in multiple areas. The active ingredient in these rat cakes is bromadiolone which we have long known to be a highly effective anticoagulant rodenticide that induces internal bleeding and causes death within just a few days.
Related Article: 10 Best Rat Traps
11. Exterminators Choice Vehicle Protection Rodent Defense System
My Review: Mice and rats absolutely love chewing on wires, rubber, and cloth, which makes any vehicle that has been parked for awhile a prime target for rat infestations. This rodent defense spray is purpose-built to be used on and inside vehicles suffering from rat attacks.
Better yet? This isn’t actually a poison! It’s created of all-natural ingredients that have an awful smell and cause unpleasant side effects, causing the rats to go scurrying off back to where they came from (and hopefully not into the house)! This means you can soak down the outside of basically your entire vehicle (especially the engine bay) without having to worry about causing an ecological disaster in your driveway.
12. EcoClear RatX
My Review: This is one of the most humane rat killers on the market today and it comes in the form of attractive little rat pellets shaped like mini logs. The method used here is essentially dehydration. Their proprietary blend coats the internal organs of the rat with a film that blocks messaging to the brain. This means the rat will lose the sense of thirst, thus refusing any liquids. Over time, the rat and/or mouse will incur lethargy and circulatory collapse, painlessly dying of dehydration. There are no risks of secondary poisoning other creatures, even voles and birds are unaffected and the pellets themselves really only work well in rats or mice. They are completely biodegradable and safe for the environment, making this an ideal choice!
Using this product is incredibly easy and you won’t need a standalone bait station to administer this product. Simply wrap up 40-60 grams of the Ratx pellets into a plastic wrap or plastic baggie and stuff it into areas the rats frequent. They should be eradicated within just a couple of days from exposure.
RatX is available in either 8 oz, 1lb, 3lb, and 25lb bags as well as packs of 2, 4, and 8 of pre-measured 3 oz bait trays.
Related Article: 7 Best Ways to Get Rid of Moles
Types of Rat Poisons
Utilizing rat poison, also known as a rodenticide, is a very effective way to kill rats.
1. Anticoagulants Rat Poison
Rodenticides that cause death several days after ingestion and typically work best with multiple exposures. This type of poison blocks the production of a key vitamin, vitamin K, which slows the ability of the rat to produce essential blood-clotting factors called prothrombin and proconvertin.
In addition to destroying the rat’s ability to coagulate blood, the poison includes highly potent doses of 4-hydroxycoumarin, 4-thiochromone, and indandione. Basically, these are toxins that cause heavy damage to the capillaries in the blood vessel, causing internal bleeding. The cause of death is typically hemorrhagic shock or anemia which is a slow but calm and relaxing death.
2. Metal Phosphides Rat Poison
These are single dosage fast-acting rodenticides that contain a phosphide which is usually zinc phosphide. Once ingested and exposed to stomach acid, a new toxin is formed call phosphine gas. This gas quickly infects the entire body and causes internal anemia and ammonia.
Metal Phosphides have a very pungent garlic smell that is clinically tested to attract rodents but be repulsive to most other mammals. Metal Phosphides don’t have the ability to accumulate inside of the tissue of the infected animal, thus making this a particularly safer option for those who have pets as the risk of secondary poisoning is extremely low.
3. Hypercalcemia Rat Poison
These are rodenticides that are almost entirely constructed of calciferols, which is basically concentrated vitamin D, cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2). Although these vitamins are incredibly useful in human health, they are also extremely toxic for the same reason. As humans, we ingest such amounts that are not harmful to us but still give us the benefits of Vitamin D. For rats, concentrated vitamin D acts as a sever toxin which causes hypercalcemia, which basically means there is far too much calcium being held on by major body tissue, causing irreversible internal damage to organs, blood vessels, and the cardiovascular system. The cause of death is typically a result of major organ failures, such as kidney or lung failure, and takes place roughly within just a couple days of ingestion.
4. Arsenic Trioxide Rat Poison
One of the most lethal metalloid compounds found on Earth, arsenic has been used to combat rat populations for many years now. Arsenic can be absorbed via the digestive system but also by inhalation or even skin contact. Symptoms of lethal arsenic poisoning consist of organ failure, convulsions, cardiovascular malfunction, and death.
Arsenic-based rat poisons are generally the ones we’ve seen with the skull and crossbones label as they are inherently dangerous to most living things on Earth. It does not break down in the natural environment meaning you must dispose of the chemical properly and carefully after administering it.
These are just a small handful of the chemicals you can expect to find throughout history in rat poison. There are hundreds of compounds that have been used before and many of them have been banned by the EPA for being dangerous to humans and the environment.
Please make sure you research what chemicals are in the poison you wish to purchase. It is absolutely crucial that you know the risks, how to treat mishaps, and how to properly utilize the chemicals contained inside. The number one problem with rat poison stems from uninformed individuals wrongfully and incorrectly using the product.
Target Acquisition (Considerations for Each Type of Rat)
Before buying anything to combat a rat invasion, we need to identify exactly what we’re dealing with here to ensure we buy the best products available.
If you’re living in the US, there are two major rat clans waiting to declare war on you and combating each has a different set of attributes we need to take into account.
These big fatties are usually found throughout the US basically anywhere but most specifically in the colder climates away from the coasts. They’re the larger of the two threats and can be identified by their larger frame, smaller ears, rounded and slanted nose, and the tail is generally the same size or slightly shorter than their body. Norway rats are almost always a brownish or grayish color. These rats really enjoy staying grounded, meaning they stick to the floor and lower portions of the buildings they occupy. They are extremely dangerous, especially to items in storage, food storage silo’s and bags, and electrical wiring.
Targeting Norway Rats: Since Norway rats are a bit too chubby to climb around and make a muck of your attic space, we won’t set up our rat slaying poison there. Instead, we’ll focus on ground-based access points to the home and where food is stored close to the ground. Take a look at where pipes and electrical wiring enter the home. Although probably decently sealed up, if there is ANY space at all, that’s a prime suspect for their entryway.
The Roof Rat is the smaller of the two but make no mistake, they’re just about equally as dangerous and sometimes even harder to get rid of! Their tiny size makes them quite agile with incredible climbing abilities. They can infest any part of your home including the attic. You can identify these little suckers by their smaller frame size, larger ears, tales longer than their body, and pointy nose structures. Roof rats are usually black but can certainly range in color.
Targeting Roof Rats: Roof rats are quick and they love being high off the ground as to see their surroundings and reach places other rats otherwise couldn’t. We’ll focus on finding where they nest, which is usually above you! Check the attic, stories of the building that aren’t ground floor, and exterior vegetation like trees and large shrubs. These tiny little demons really enjoy accessing a building through ventilation holes especially to the attack or open windows that they can scale the building to get into. They aren’t scared of the typical window mesh either so check each and every window to ensure they haven’t chewed in their own access point!
As a pro tip, remember that rats are social creatures and often live with at least a few family members and even more likely have been inviting members of their colony to come check out all the good food you’ve got! We aren’t preparing to fight just the one rat you may have caught a glimpse of, we are gearing up for a full-scale invasion! Make sure when you’re purchasing your selected rat poison that you’ve got enough to fully arm yourself against multiple targets!
Rat Poison Buyers Guide
Alright, the moment we’ve been waiting for: building our armory. I’ve mentioned this before but I want to really nail it home for our readers. Information is far more powerful than the toxins themselves and informing yourself of what is inside these products and how they work is infinitely valuable. Not all rats will succumb to the effects of all toxins and there are super resistant populations of rats that will take some testing (trial and error) to defeat.
I recommend if you’re strapped for time, buy several different products that you are comfortable with using and test them thoroughly, noting the performance of each. You may have rats in your area that have been long exposed to toxic material, increasing their tolerance and resistance over long periods of time. What works for someone on the internet may not always work the same for you and that’s okay, trial and error is your best friend!
Quick and Easy Rat Control Guide
1. Identify the Type of Rat
Identify what type of rats we’re dealing with as to aid in poison placement and target location identification.
2. Identify Rat Location
Identify the areas the rats are nesting and frequenting. If they’re chewing on a bag of rice you store on the ground, that doesn’t mean they’ll nest there too. Try to follow them and see where their base of operations are! Note their entire journey. If you can, figure out what they’ve been munching on lately and use that as bait near and around the poison station!
3. Chose A Type of Poison
Choose a poison (we’ll talk about this later) that works for the type of rat we’re combating. Not all rat poison systems are built to withstand the same type of rat population. Although some may work for both, there is a lot that would be better suited to a specific type.
4. Implement The Poison
Arm your weapons! Get those rat poison stations, strips, pellets, whatever you have chosen, and rip them out of their Amazon delivery boxes! Set them up in the locations you’ve discovered are prime traffic areas and sit back. Just like rat traps, rats are wary of new objects forced into the environment.
They may not be interested in a couple of days but this ideology should wear off faster than full-fledged traps because you can make the rat poison look inconspicuous! Hide it, camouflage it with other items that have been in that area for a long time, use tantalizing foods, etc.
5. Dispose of Dead Rats
Step 6: Carefully dispose of rats that have been killed by poison. The major downfall to using poison is that the rat may have a chance to relocate before it croaks, making tracking them down a little more difficult. Most poisons, however, render the rats motor control unit depleted so they shouldn’t be able to get too far if you’ve chosen the right poison for the job! Use sanitized rubber gloves to remove the rat and place them in a sealed bag before disposing of them. Make sure you check your poison stations every single day, perhaps even multiple times a day, as it doesn’t take long for a dead rat to start decomposing and smelling awful! This may also drive other rats away from that area, rendering your poison useless!
6. Seal Up Home From Rats
Sealing up your home. Killing the current occupying rats is only a temporary fix. If one rat has managed to enter your property, other rats can too! Before we set out poison, carefully comb over every single inch of your home, sealing the holes with caulk, and ensuring that no more will have the capability to enter. They’re rats, not super-geniuses, so they won’t go back and tell their buddies “there’s poison, don’t go”. It’s your job to ensure your castle is impenetrable. Doing this also saves you a bit of money on your heating and cooling bill!
You can use caulk or you can buy this nifty rat blocking tape that is designed specifically to block rodents from entering small spaces.
Pro tip #1: Please take caution in dealing with rats, their feces, or anything they have been into contact with. Rats carry dangerous diseases and although we’ve taken care of the bubonic plague quite effectively, there are a plethora of other dangerous bacteria and unknown things that could be hiding inside of that furry little body. Make sure you never touch your pets after handling a rat carcass as they can contract diseases from rats as well!
Pro tip #2: Dead rats are the perfect breeding ground for insects such as blowflies. If you’re going to use poison stations instead of trapping them, you absolutely must commit to removing the dead rats immediately, otherwise, you will face another terribly worthy opponent with an entire host of new problems.
Related Article: 9 Best Mole Traps
Let’s Talk About Rat Poison
Rat poison comes in a huge variety of flavors and delivery systems. The most common poisons on the market today come in the form of soft or hard pellets, blocks, liquid baits and sprays, and typical rat food. These are generally coined “rodenticides” and are capable of killing much more than just rats.
Some of the rodenticides on the market have the ability to poison and even kill basically anything small and furry. This includes chipmunks, squirrels, small cats, small dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, raccoons, etc.
Please be mindful of your surroundings and only kill what is necessary for your livelihood. Take precautions with your pets, ensuring they aren’t capable of accessing your poison stations.
Many poisons that can kill within a very short amount of time have been deemed to be unsafe for public usage. This is because you can spot symptoms in wildlife, pets, and even humans after exposure and treat them before major issues occur. The idea is that rats will consume the poison over time and slowly die off as a result of continued exposure while lessening deaths from non-targeted single exposed animals.
Rat Poison and the Environment
Environmental researches have concluded with overwhelming evidence that using slow-acting low strength, long-duration rodenticides the optimum balance between rodent lethality and minimum risk to the overall environment and wildlife.
The use of rat poison is still contested today with researchers and the EPA constantly studying new chemicals and debating the level of the humanness of using poisons to control rat populations. Expect regulations to be updated and changed and stay ahead of the curve by reading on what the EPA is up to!
As a final note before we talk about the most popular poisons on the market, rodents can be resistant to certain chemicals and toxins. That’s right, just like any other living creatures, rats can adapt and evolve, leaving a trail of toxins that no longer have the ability to affect them. Studying and choosing the correct rat poison is far more important than most people realize, which is why you’ll see a lot of very effective products on Amazon with low reviews, almost always due to failing to prepare, failing to identify, and failing to administer correct dosages.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you do if rat poison is accidentally ingested!
I’m an expert on how to kill rats, not a physician, so I can only give you general advice, however, if you are to come into contact with rat poison and you somehow ingest it, you should seek professional medical attention immediately. Ensure that you bring a (clean) piece of the label or container of the rat poison in question as treatment will vary depending on which chemicals are present. Knowing what chemicals you’ve ingested will greatly reduce the time it takes to administer treatment. Most rat poisons in small doses will have little effect on humans, typically causing drowsiness, vomiting, dehydration, headache, fever, and lethargy but if you think you’ve ingested any amounts, no matter how small, it’s never a bad idea to talk to a professional doctor.
How Quickly Should Rat Traps and Poison be Used?
Rats take fondly to electrical wiring, water pipes, anything wooden such as furniture, anything cloth such as your clothes, carpet, couch, etc, and of course, they’ll munch on your food! Waiting for a mouse trap to become familiar enough to a mouse that it takes a chance in checking it out can lead to disastrous results as it only takes one mouse a couple of hours to cause thousands in damage to your home.
Taking care of your invasive rat population needs to be timely and effective and the only proven approach to quickly ending the combat is using rat poison. We’ve all seen the bottles with the skull and crossbones on them in cartoons but are you thoroughly prepared for a rat invasion?
Remember, just because you don’t have a rat problem now doesn’t mean you’re safe forever. With the furthering of the industrial takeover, we are quickly depleting wooded areas for the rats to live and thus forcing them into our residential areas. You may have never seen a rat on your property and then the very next day there is an entire colony of them invading your woodwork!
Being prepared with an arsenal of weapons to combat a possible rat invasion is always advisable and rat poison typically has a very long duration of life, allowing it to be kept in storage until the time is right. An ounce of being prepared is worth a pound of countermeasures, so ensure you’re stocked up and fully prepared before the invasion begins!
Related Article: 14 Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice
My name is Blane and I’m a life-long resident of Southeastern Louisiana. I’ve been working as Pest Control Technician and Inspector for about 1.5 years now.
I’ve worked in many other industries as well, including consulting, managing, as well as at the ground level in fields including Food Service, Corporate Automotive sales, and finance. Whether it be providing counsel, content, or hands-on support; my goal remains to add value to the lives of the people I serve.
If you have any questions regarding pest control, leave them below. I would be happy to help you out in any way I can.