Reasons To Avoid Using Rat Poison For Rodent And Wildlife Control
Individuals often use rat poison in an attempt to solve their raccoon, mouse, rat, skunk, mole, gopher and opossum problems. But when you use poison to control your wildlife problems, you may inadvertently kill cats, dogs, snakes, hawks, and even eagles. There are humane reasons not to use rodenticides, but there are practical ones as well, for instance, you may have to cut open your walls to remove dead animals.
The Skunk Whisperer® can tell you many horror stories about what we’ve seen come from the use of bar type rat poison and mouse poison bait stations. If you have seen what we have, you would no longer wish to hire a traditional pest control exterminator to set up bait stations or other rodenticide poisons.
Don’t buy into the age-old pest control company myth that mouse and rat poison will dehydrate the rodent so it does not stink when it dies! If that was the truth, we would not have so many clients calling us from hotels asking us to locate the dozens of decaying rodent bodies inside their walls, attics, crawlspaces, basements and ceilings. As soon as the first freeze or cold spell arrives, rodents and wildlife start moving indoors – that’s the time of year when our poisoned animal calls drastically increase.
A past client hired us to remove the exterior walls and ceiling of an attic in order to remove an entire family of dead raccoons – raccoons that died as a result of the homeowner’s attempt at a do-it-yourself attic raccoon removal utilizing poisons. But it’s not just larger animals, mice dying in walls can cause problems as well. Note the d-CON poisoned mouse pictured below, this one little creature alone created enough stench to force the homeowners to move out of their house and call us from their hotel room. Hotel fees, drywall repair, painting, deodorizing, dead pets … how much does mouse poison really cost?
If YOU were going to die, where would you go? Would you go out on the front lawn so it would be easy for the morgue to pick you up? No, you’d want to go where you were most comfortable – in your own bed, with your spouse. So, where do you think that poisoned rodent will go to die? On the front lawn so you can easily scoop it up and place it in the trash can? The Skunk Whisperer’s dead animal in wall removal experience will beg to disagree. We have the cool cameras to peek into walls and minimize damage when removing rotting bodies, but we’d rather not have to use them. And it’s not just inside that dead animals can cause problems, they can also die under your home creating an expensive hassle once they have to be removed. It is still legal for many feed and hardware stores in the United States to sell strychnine for underground use on gophers. The raccoon pictured above was living under a Sand Springs, Oklahoma client’s crawl space and concrete slab foundation. A feed store suggested they feed the raccoon strychnine wrapped in hamburger. The poison only cost $5.00. But in the end what was the real cost to take care of this client’s wildlife problem? The flower beds had to be dug up to remove all of the dead poisoned bodies from under the concrete slab, the sub flooring and living room carpet also had to be removed in order to remove other, additional dead poisoned animals.
An obvious hazard of using rat poison is the possibility that yours or your neighbor’s pet may accidentally get a hold of it. A situation seen over and over in veterinary emergency rooms. When wildlife eats rat poison bars, their feces can turn the color of the poison. The photo to the left shows a turquoise colored feces, which was the result of the animals eating the Tomcat brand of rat poison bars. This particular feces belonged to the family of dead, poisoned raccoons we removed from a client’s attic. If you see that your pet has produced an unusual color feces you may wish to seek medical attention for it right away.
In summary and in most cases, you have two choices. One, fix the holes in your building so the rats and mice do not enter anymore and be done with it once and for all, or two, trap and poison risking all of the problems that come along with it. Ask yourself … which method is really the more cost effective one?
Secondary Poisoning Of Pets, Wildlife And Other Animals
Homeowners often forget to think about the fact that once the animal they have targeted has eaten poison, that animal itself now becomes poison for any other animals which may eat it. In other words, if your dog or cat eats a poisoned mouse they too will now have ingested the poison, this is known as secondary poisoning. Each year countless pets, wildlife, even beautiful eagles and hawks die from secondary poisoning. You do not want to be responsible for the death of the wrong animal via secondary poisoning.
Annette King-Tucker of Wild Heart Ranch, a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation clinic is seen here to the left holding “Spirit”, an American Bald Eagle. Spirit looks good in this picture but he soon died due to secondary poisoning.
Annette King-Tucker On The Hazards Of Secondary Poisoning:
“Wildlife are typically discovered too late to benefit from medical treatment after ingesting rodent poison. We generally see a severely lethargic animal, often seizing or bleeding from the rectum, urethra or vomiting blood. Their gums will be pale, body temp failing and sooner or later, sometimes in feces or vomit or later in necropsy, the tell tale turquoise color of the poison will show up.”
“Since every wild animal that is brought to us comes with a mystery to solve of “what happened?” and many conditions can cause the same symptoms, rodent poisoning is one of those conditions that if they come in with it and survive, we will never know. Of the cases that were diagnosed as rodent poisoning, 100% have been fatal. The problem with poisoning rodents is that it doesn’t kill them fast enough. They wander aimlessly for hours before dying… easy prey for a hungry wild mammal or raptor. Secondary poisoning is just as serious, as the animal is too sick to hunt or fly, and will often starve to death. Secondary victims are the young, back at the den or nest that will starve to death or fall prey to predators as the providing parent will never return”
Dr. Michael Dix, Medical Director, Best Friends Animal Society On Secondary Poisoning
“A dog or cat that eats the most commonly used rodent poisons will show signs related to an inability to clot their blood. These signs include, but are not limited to, unexplained bruising, bloody vomit or diarrhea, blood in the urine, and continuous bleeding from minor wounds. If these signs are noted, the animal should be taken to a vet right away (keeping in mind that other things can cause the same signs). A lot of rodenticides are a turquoise green color – so if this color is noted in your pet’s stool, they should also go to a vet immediately even if they are not showing signs of not being able to clot their blood. The earlier it is known that there has been a poisoning with a rodenticide, the better the prognosis.”
The Painful Truth About Poisons
Poisoning produces a slow painful death for any animal that is unfortunate enough to ingest it. Anti-coagulants contain chemicals that limit blood clotting and can take up to 2 weeks to kill the animal. Research with this poison type on humans proves that it is painful to bleed internally. Bromethalin can kill animals in just a few hours after a single helping and it attacks the central nervous system. Cholecalciferol is a vitamin D based poison that calcifies soft tissue on animals. Strychnine causes muscular convulsions and eventually kills the animal via sheer exhaustion. So, before you lay down a dish of anti-freeze for that nuisance skunk or cat to drink, please think twice. The Skunk Whisperer® knows much better ways.