Perhaps you’ve noticed dead rats in your neighborhood recently? Maybe other sick or dying wildlife as well? This is no coincidence; there’s a common connection: Rat Poison.
Rat poison kills and harms indiscriminately; damage isn’t confined to rodents. Domestic pets, raccoons, squirrels, coyotes, deer, crows, raptors (owls, hawks, eagles): all manner of wildlife can become victims.
In order to attract its intended quarry, rat bait is designed to taste good. Unfortunately, other animals are also drawn to it. Whoever eats the bait will suffer and die from internal bleeding caused by the poison’s anti-coagulant mechanism. This is called primary or direct poisoning. But primary poisoning is only one part of the equation. The bigger issue is secondary poisoning, when the toxins enter the food chain.
Poisoned rats and other rodents will wander off to die slowly, often in yards and outbuildings, as the anticoagulant takes effect. In this condition, they are easily caught and scavenged by pet dogs, feral and domestic cats, sundry predators, birds, and other animals. As a result, the lethal dose ingested by the rat is also ingested by whatever eats the rat and, in turn, by whatever eats the rat-eater. In this nightmare scenario, poison travels inexorably up the food chain to eventually kill even apex predators like raptors.
Effective, affordable, humane alternatives to rat poisons do exist. They include sealing cracks and crevices to rodent-proof homes and outbuildings; eliminating accessible food sources; providing owl boxes to encourage natural predation; and using humane traps that don’t involve these poisons.
For more details on rodenticides in the food chain and nontoxic rodent control methods search the Web or visit the following sites (to which we are indebted for information): urbanedgewildlife.org, SafeRodentControl.org, raptorsarethesolution.org, or spca.bc.ca. or contact us at PAWSPointRoberts@gmail.com