What About Rat Poison?
Invasive rat and rodent control efforts have been in existence for hundreds of years. One method of rodent control that continues to be immensely popular is the use of poison, also referred to as rodenticide. But is the use of rodenticide as simple, safe, and effective as advertised? First, let us look at some of the science behind rodent poisons.
- Rodenticides, or "baits" as they may be commercially referenced, come in a variety of shapes and sizes from large blocks to small granules.
- Rodenticides require ingestion by the target pest, such as rat or mouse, and some second-generation poisons require large amounts to be eaten over a period of time before they become effective.
- One type of poison called Bromethalin works by causing the central nervous system to stop producing energy leading to brain swelling, paralysis, and death. The breakdown product of Bromethalin is actually more toxic than the chemical itself.
- Cholecalciferol is a super high dose of Vitamin D3 which creates too much calcium in the blood and can eventually lead to organ failure. Rodent death is not imminent, though suffering is certain.
- Other types of poison act as anticoagulants resulting in spontaneous bleeding and prolonged death of the rodent. Bromadiolone, chlorophacinone, difethialone, diphacinone, brodifacoum, and warfarin are all anticoagulants.
- Unbelievably, Strychnine and Zinc Phosphate are still used, are incredibly dangerous, and cause severe suffering leading to likely death.
- ALL rodenticides are toxic, even those that are classified as "low-risk" to secondary species.
We do not like rats, mice, or other rodents in our spaces. They cause damage, spread disease, and ruin our food sources. But what if you were told that every time a rodent dies after ingesting rodenticide it is very possible that a friendly species may also die or have trouble reproducing? Rats and most other rodents are exceptionally low on the food chain and if it were not for rodent predators such as owls, hawks, or even your pet cat then we would have a much larger rodent population than we do now. According to the Audubon Society, every year rat poisons kill thousands of birds of prey that devour tainted rodents. These predators will eat a dead or dying rodent and, in turn, ingest the same rodenticide which means the poison not only eliminates invasive rodents, but also the predators that are on our team!
Fortunately, there are options for rodent control. Many are humane and will not encourage the rodents to keep feeding on toxic rodenticide baits. Snap-type traps such as the Victor Metal Pedal and Victor Easy Set Professional traps are affordable, available everywhere and have been in use for over 120 years with over 1 billion units sold. These traps are extremely effective when used with the Bait Cage attachment to improve the traps and secure the bait. The Bait Cage Kit includes several Bait Cages as well as a packet of non-toxic, poison-free, Bait Cage Spread Bait that is irresistible to rats and will help you eliminate rodent pests safely and humanely. In our collective effort to make the world a better place, let us work together to combat invasive rodents without introducing unnecessary harmful toxins into the environment.