When choosing a form of rat control one should first consider if they want to use a chemical or a non-chemical method. A couple chemical forms of control are poisons and bait stations. Some non-chemical forms of rat control are snap traps, live traps. And glue traps.
There are primarily two types of rats that are a problem in the U.S., the Norway rat and the roof rat, they both tend to breed quickly and live in colonies. If you see one rat there are probably many more at the nest site.
Glue traps are just as they sound, they involve a sticky base that will adhere to the rat, preventing it from escaping until you are able to release it when you find it stuck to the glue.
Live traps are traps that can be referred to as a catch and release method as well. Snap traps on the other hand are traps that will snap the rat, killing it and preventing return of the rodent. All of these methods are considered non-chemical forms of rat control.
Rodenticides are poisons that the rat will consume and die, or bring back to its colony to share, poisoning several members of the colony along with it. Bait stations come in all shapes and sizes; they usually have snap traps of sorts inside of them and can be a very effective was to keep rats under control in and around your home.
There are pellets that will often be taken back to the nest to share as well. Depending on the situation, you will have to choose which method would work well for you and your family and pets.
Many people believe that having a pet is a sure fire way of keeping mice and rats away, however this is not a very effective form of rat control. Rats are very sneaky and they are great at hiding, therefore, should your pet catch one or two, you can rest assured that there are many more hiding in spots that you are unaware of.
Pets tend to get the stray rats, or the rats that are bold enough to show themselves during the daylight. Rats as we know it are more nocturnal animals, so when they are out during the day they are most likely very hungry and had no choice but to leave the nest at an unsafe time.
When this happens, our pets tend to be awake and well rested to capture and even kill the rat that has to expose itself during the day. To have good rat control one must get rid of the entire colony, and checking with your pest control specialist is the way to get the best treatment option for your problem.
The main thing to take into consideration is your family and pets when choosing the best way to treat your problem. If you live alone with no pets then the type of product that you choose probably is not that big of a deal. If you have younger kids or pets, then perhaps the snap traps would be a much better solution, just be sure to keep them out of reach of tiny hands and paws.
Bait stations that are enclosed may be a better solution for you. There are even bait stations that look like rocks for the exterior of your home that will help to disguise the fact that it is a bait station. Whichever method you decide to choose, remember if there is one rat, many more are most likely at the nest site.
More info about Brown Rats at Wikipedia