How to Build a Snare Trap for Rats

by Frank Whittemore
Rats can easily be snared.

Rats can easily be snared.

For thousands of years, man has designed a wide range of traps, both deadly and humane, to catch rats. Because rats often move around along ledges and rafters, a simple snare can be constructed to exploit this behavior. A length of wire is bent in the middle to form a step that rests on a ledge or beam. On one end of the wire is a string attached to the ledge. On the other end is a noose and weight. When the rat tries to pass through the noose, it knocks a wire off the ledge. A weight will then fall, dragging the rat off the beam and strangling it in the process.

Use the needle nose pliers to bend each end of the 10-inch length of wire into a small loop. Bend the wire at a 90 degree angle four inches from one end. Bend the wire back on itself 180 degrees then up again at the first angle to form a "T" with a long cross member.

Tie a small loop on the end of a length of fishing line about 12 inches long. Thread the other end of the line through the small loop to form a noose. Tie the end of the line to one of the loops on the bent wire. Tie another 12-inch length of fishing line to the other loop in the wire.

Tie one end of a 6-inch length of fishing line to the metal ring and the other end to the lead weight. Thread the noose through the metal ring and place the ring onto the wire so that it rests at the angle.

Set the trap by placing the bend in the wire onto the edge of a beam or ledge so that it hangs with the noose over the edge along the path a rat will take. Fasten the line on the other end of the trap to the beam with the nail. When the rat passes through the noose, the trap will fall off the edge, snaring the rat. The weight and ring will hold the noose closed.

Items you will need

  • 10-inch length of 18-gauge wire
  • 8 oz. fishing weight
  • 1-inch metal ring
  • 50 lb. fishing line
  • 1 1/2-inch nail
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Hammer

Photo Credits

  • Süße Ratte image by Carsten Steps from