Rats and mice are very similar but also extremely different. Rats are much larger and more aggressive. A mousetrap will hurt them but may not kill them. What it will do is brutally harm them which is inhumane and unnecessary. The rat will continue living in most cases but will have lost a paw or a tail and will struggle to get food and eventually starve. This is why it is so important to use the proper tools when dealing with pests. Using a mousetrap to catch rats will result in a large number of injured starving rats and a rat population that will stay away from all types of snap traps from now on because they saw what happened to their family members. Rat traps are made specifically for rats just as mouse snap traps are made specifically for mice. Trying to interchange them is like trying to use a hammer to screw a screw into the wall. It just does not function properly and will cause much more damage than it will prevent.
If you have a situation that calls for snap traps then you must research the proper tools and methods, like you are doing right now by reading this blog. There is a lot you can do to prevent rats from coming on your property and things you can take away that the rats rely on. Something as minor as a bird feeder can bring scores of rats to your property while a water feature will bring hundreds. Rats have very high water content and need to drink water constantly. If you have a water source on your property like a leaky hose, a sprinkler system that runs at night, or if your property floods in some seasons you will very likely see rats. The best way not to is to be prepared. Do not leave food outside. That includes animal and bird feeders, garbage, pet food and even crumbs. Any food source left outside, like leftovers or spilled food and drink will attract things to your property. If you remove all of those things, you will be preventing rats from coming to your property and if you already have them will be taking away one of their much-needed food sources.
The correct way to treat rats is to know them. Did you know that rats, unlike mice, do not live in your home? They are constantly entering and exiting. They live outside in burrows in the ground. That is their nest and that never changes. They enter the house in search of food and water. Rats need to drink water almost constantly as they have a very high water content, the main reason why you should never use rat poison in the house, they will die in a wall and the small would be incomprehensible. You would need to have the wall torn down to get the dead rats out. Mice, on the other hand, have very low water content and while if they die in a wall they will also smell they can be treated with a special type of poison called rodenticide. This type of poison has both domestic and commercial varieties. The commercial-grade has a much higher poison content but the domestic grade is still highly effective. You can place them in bait stations so your pets and children cannot get their hands or mouths on them and in a few weeks, you should notice a dramatic drop in population. With rats, you will need to use powerful rat snap traps that will kill them and not injure them so they can wander off and die in a wall. This means you will need rodenticide bait outside where they sleep, snap traps on the inside and do not seal any openings they are using to get in. You can buy something called a rat one-way door from the hardware store and install it on an opening, seal the others and watch as the rats drain out of your house and are killed off by the poison outside where they can do no damage.