It’s National Animal Poison Prevention Week. You may not think twice about it since you don’t use any poisons. Or do you? Spray ant killer in the kitchen when you see ants? Feed your roses with an All In One product that kills aphids while fertilizing the plant? Put out bait to knock out those pesky mice or rats in the garage? All are pesticides – poisons designed to kill a particular pest. And one of the most dangerous is that rat poison.
There’s not much argument that rats are a nuisance, and there are ways to keep them from being a problem. But using rat poison hurts a lot more than just that rat. Rodenticides, poisons that kill rodents, are a major threat to rodent-eating predators. After ingesting poisoned bait, rats go back to the wild, taking up to a week to die. Any predator that eats the tainted rat may be seriously injured or die; the effect is multiplied when a raptor parent feeds the poisoned animal to its young. Data collected by WildCare, the San Rafael based wildlife rehabilitation and nature education center, indicates that 76% of all animals brought to their wildlife hospital, showed some level of rodenticide in their blood, even animals not suspected of exposure to the poisons.