Can Rat Poison Hurt Kids and Pets?

You bet!  Rat poisons or rodenticides are pesticides designed to kill rodents, like mice and rats.  They are formulated as baits that include tasty ingredients like peanut butter, molasses, and grains to attract animals. These ingredients can be also attractive to children and pets.

Rodenticide baits are not only poisonous for rodents, but they can also be lethal for any mammal or bird that ingests them. As a result, all baits pose a high risk of poisoning for non-target animals that might eat the bait or consume a poisoned rat or mouse. If you suspect your child has handled or eaten a rodenticide, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 right away. For pets exposed to rodenticides, contact your veterinarian or an animal emergency resource.

If you choose to use rodenticides, you should be ready to deal with these potential consequences:

  • Rodents are likely to die in locations where they cannot be retrieved. The smell of a dead animal will persist for several weeks to several months.
  • If you or your neighbors have cats or dogs, they may die or become acutely ill from eating poisoned rodents.
  • Predatory birds like hawks, eagles and owls, and mammalian predators such as foxes and coyotes may die from eating poisoned rodents or a rodenticide bait.
  • Children are at risk of accidental poisoning since they might mistake the rodenticide bait for candy or food.

If you want to learn more about how to manage rodents without using poison, sign up for our hour-long free program on Managing Rats, February 15, 2022, featuring Dr. Carolyn Whitesell from University of California, and Alison Hermance, from WildCare.  

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