Can You Kill a Rat With Beer?
Fact or Fiction?
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is, “can you kill rats with beer?”
Theory: Rats are unable to burp, so, any gas they experience becomes trapped in their stomach. If they are given enough carbonation, they will literally pop. Since rats absolutely love the taste of beer, many people believe that you can kill rats by giving them beer. Why do people want to kill rats with beer? Probably because they feel that it is safer. If the beer is found by your dog, it wont be hurt if it drinks the beer as it could be by rat poison. (But check out this article and this one.)
Fact: It is true that rats cannot burp. They are designed with a flap at the top of their stomachs that prevents regurgitation and gasses from escaping. This feature is designed to allow them to eat the most horrific things, like dog poop and rotting corpses, and keep their food down, no matter how toxic or disgusting. They also have extremely corrosive stomach acids which can neutralize almost anything they eat!! And, as if that wasn’t enough, they also have a liver that is able to metabolize many compounds that most other animals would find highly toxic. That’s why rats can eat almost anything and not keel over dead!
Fact: Gasses are a natural by-product of dissolving food with acid. All mammals produce these gases as part of the digestive process. Most animals burp these gasses before the food or drink is sent to the intestines… that’s why downing a can of beer (or cola) makes us burp. If you give your dog a can of beer, he will burp, too! But, for rats, their stomach flap prevents gas from exiting via the esophagus, which means they just cannot burp! Instead, it is redirected the other way, and their stomach gas leaves the body along with the gases produced by the colon. (Yup… you read that right… their burps come out the other end.)
Conclusion: Although rats, and all rodents, are anatomically incapable of burping, their system is designed to cope with gases produced in the stomach. I don’t think rats would have been around for tens of thousands of years if they died every time they had a little gas. So, what does this all mean? It means that beer, although highly attractive to them, is not in any way deadly. In addition, because of their extremely efficient livers, a rat would have a difficult time consuming enough beer to even become intoxicated. Your only hope is to get the rat extremely drunk, and then hand him the keys to your car and let nature take its course.
There are many ways to control rats that are more efficient and cheaper than wasting your beer on them. Check out some of our reviews of traps, poisons, zappers and repellers to find the best match for your situation.
Important Consideration: Beer is too valuable to waste giving to rats. Instead, purchase some good quality rat bait, and poison them. This is the best and most efficient way to deal with them. If you have so much beer in the fridge that you want to share it with rats, please, schedule a party and let your human friends draw down your beer surplus!
Fiction: You cannot kill a rat simply by feeding it copious amounts of beer (or soda, either).