Rodent bait causes other animals to suffer needlessly

I recognize that rodents and other animals are sometimes at odds with the human activities of fruit growing and food production. But I would ask you to please consider using means other than poison to deal with nuisance animals.

I had a skunk walk into my yard this morning that was exhibiting signs of illness and distress. Unfortunately, I was unable to get fish and wildlife or any animal control agency willing to come pick him up or euthanize him. At first I was worried it might be a disease like rabies, but I was informed that it was most likely rat poison (skunks eat rodents, among other things). It was really horrible to watch him suffer, until he finally passed several hours later.

I understand that critters can damage or destroy our hard work. But if you need to exterminate a pest, please at least consider doing it in a way that isn’t going to also kill other animals. :broken_heart:


I prefer my 30" full choke 12 GA shotgun (3 inch 6 shot) to take out skunks…
From about 10 yards complete destruction, no wiggles, no sprays.

I agree with you on poison being dangerous for non target animals.

When I was a kid we had a cat… and our neighbor had chickens… something was getting the eggs… he put a few eggs laced with some kind of poison in his nesting boxes… and the next day found that several of his chickens were dead.

His chickens were eating their own eggs evidently.

Our cat found one of his dead chickens and ate it ??? that was what we thought anyway… our cat died a slow and nasty death.


1 Like

He might have eaten something bad out of a garbage bin like scented cleaning solution. IMO it is hard to say what it is. IDK if your assumptions are well based though because the season is winter… unless your in Australia idk.

I would trap and kill most pests if i were to… mice sometimes i poison but no other pest can get into the house, mouse trap etc. I have been wanting to kill a bunny this winter but failing to trap it. the squirellinator is impressive for a trap.

I am not even aware of what people use to poison animals outdoors…

The amount of poisons people produce an use is staggering. just what we spray on our own food stuff and then use to preserve food stuff is crazy… Smelling peoples perfumes in public makes me choke sometimes, I’ve read of one case where a certain perfume chemical made females male children sterile from a hormone effect or something…
Please don’t use household chemicals is my counter-request.


It could be a problem with what rodent baits are sold in your locale, the laws in your area regarding how rodent bait is dispensed, whether commercial farms are inspected, and how well the populace has been educated on the use of rodent bait.

I definitely see your point. I can’t say I never use poisons out of controlled stations, but I really prefere not to, and have only done it when numbers are excessively high. I value my neighborhood weasels/shrikes/ect. I would be distraught if I was to hurt one of my allies. I will try to forgo poisons more in the future. In place of chemicals controllers I think it would be far better to practice a barrier methods. (Meaning for the fruit trees. Oops :flushed:). I still am going to stomp on voles every last chance I get.


Lost a Welsh corgi that way. Watched her slowly pass away at the vets because of careless handling of poison by others. My daughter and I sobbed when we had to put her to sleep.

One problem I’ve seen is placing bait out where other animals can get it. A 2 inch diameter piece of PVC tubing about 2 feet long with a cap on one end is one way to secure it where other animals don’t have access. The tube - with bait inside - is placed near where the rats/mice are living with the open end pointed slightly down so water can’t get in. Rats go in the tube to feed. This won’t stop rats and mice from being eaten by other animals, but it will at least prevent accidental poisoning from open bait. The tube should be secured with a strong wire so it can’t be physically removed.


There are two types of rodent baits. One contains bromethalin which is acutely toxic. The other contains an anticoagulant blood thinner type chemical. The first is dangerous at any dose, the second is dose dependent. What should be sufficient to kill a tiny mouse should be insufficient to kill a larger animal. If you do use bait, consider the latter type, and make sure it is in a locking bait station.


If you want a perfect world… dont trap or kill rodents at all… in a short amount of time you will see rat snakes, copperheads and black snakes… hawks, bluejays and crows also eat mice. While you are asleep owls often consume a dozen mice per night. Feral cats are nasty predators as well…

Almost every predator i listed except for owls…folks hate… Which is why humans lazily take on the job of predators. Some use poison, some use traps, some use guns. Some obtain house cats and starve them in hopes of solving ‘the problem’

Predators arent lazy… they exist to eat prey. Its the cycle of life that nobody wants.

There is however one predator that people are ok with… and they do a very good job at it. My aussies dig burrows all over the place…they are fantastic at killing mice and moles…


That breaks my heart, Rosdonald. I am so, so sorry. What a terrible way to lose a dog.


That is a great point, thank you MDL17576.

Here is a mouse trap alternative popular among the west Texas oil workers. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with 6 inches of water. Attach a piece of baling wire across the top, in the middle, with an empty toilet paper roll around it. Put peanut butter on the toilet paper roll, and prop a stick or something against the bucket. The mice will walk up the “ramp”, across the wire, and will fall off the toilet paper roll and drown. It’s very effective, and you can kill multiple mice with one trap. Not so humane for the mice, but that way you’re not putting poisons into the environment.

1 Like

This is gonna be lengthy, but I’m bored this morning…

As a veterinary pathologist who did rabies testing almost daily for 25 years, and had extensive experience working with wildlife species… I’m going to go out on a sturdy limb and postulate that your skunk was more likely in the terminal throes of infection with canine distemper or rabies virus than errant poisoning.
As one of my aged professors opined…“The most common things happen most often.”

Outbreaks of canine distemper virus infection happen very frequently in raccoons, skunks, etc. In the absence of hunting/trapping, populations build, unfettered, until just such a disease outbreak comes along to knock that population back to sustainable levels. Rinse, repeat.
In this part of the country, skunks, carrying the North-Central Skunk strain of Rabies virus, are the principal sylvatic (wildlife) reservoir of Rabies.

That said, proper protection to limit exposure of non-target species to any ‘poison’ is important.

There are three principal types of commercially-available rodenticides commonly in use today; all are potentially toxic to most mammalian and avian species, but potential for ‘secondary’ toxicity - consumption of the poisoned ‘target’ animal by predators/scavengers - varies from class to class:
Bromethalin, a neurotoxin, has no effective antidote, but it takes a lot to kill… rats/mice have to consume a LOT to achieve kills. ( In my experience, it’s not a very effective rodenticide, if they have access to other foodstuffs.) Dogs are less sensitive to it than are rodents…but if a small dog eats a full bag of bromethalin baits, the outcome could be bad. Our 60# Border Collie recently ate one bait block that my wife had accidentally allowed her access to, while cleaning up after a major field mouse infestation we’ve been dealing with… but it was at least 12 hrs later before we realized it. She never showed any signs of illness, but I induced vomiting anyway, and spiked her food with osmotic and bulk-forming laxatives for a couple of days. At this point, we don’t really know what the potential for ‘secondary’ poisoning is for bromethalin.
Anticoagulants…started many years ago with Warfarin, but we’re now on at least third-generation compounds that require prolonged (weeks to months) Vitamin K replacement therapy in the event of accidental ingestion. The anticoagulants pose the greatest danger to secondary consumers.
Vitamin D3(cholecalciferol) analogs…essentially make the target animal’s cells take up excessive amounts of Calcium, causing mineralization of tissues such as stomach, kidneys, heart muscle. blood vessels. There appears to be little to no worry about ‘secondary’ poisoning (predators/scavengers eating poisoned rodents) with the D3 rodenticides, but for accidental consumption… there’s not a lot you can do other than induce vomiting ASAP. I’ve seen tissues from dogs that ate Vit.D3 rodent bait… internal organs essentially ‘turn to stone’… there is extensive mineralization of kidneys, stomach wall, myocardium, blood vessel walls.

Now, beyond that, there are numerous poisonous compounds that are still commonly employed - in an illegal manner - to poison nuisance wildlife (and sometimes, maliciously, to poison ‘nuisance pets’). Strychnine is hard to come by, but still used by some folks. Carbofuran (a carbamate insecticide used in forestry and (some) crop production) has been widely used (again, ILLEGALLY) to spike carcasses, baits, and even soft drinks like Mountain Dew to kill unwanted predators/scavengers - but folks have ended up going to jail (as they should), when that spiked deer carcass ends up killing eagles/hawks, neighborhood dogs(though they might have needed killing), etc.
Ethylene glycol-based automotive antifreeze is toxic - and evidently tasty - to mammals… I’ve seen numerous animals poisoned - either accidentally or intentionally - by ingestion of antifreeze (in open containers when folks were changing fluids, or even overflow puddles in the garage/driveway - and by malicious incorporation of it into baits, like tuna.)


I see it here every half dozen years or so. Trapping used to keep coon and skunk populations in check. Since furs are largely worthless now, nobody traps. I do my best to keep their numbers in check here, but the neighbors aren’t pulling their own weight.

Thank you @Squiggy there’s actually more to the story than I revealed and it made it all the more painful.

One of my pet peeves is off-label use of products such as methomyl (sold as golden or blue malrin) as a way to poison small mammals. Mixed with grape soda, raccoons will drink it and won’t walk 20 steps before falling over dead. Whatever eats the dead animal will also die. Cats, dogs, opossums, and rats/mice will consume it. This concoction has killed more dogs and cats as by-kill than arguably any other common poison.

1 Like

Boston Globe just had an article about a bald eagle dying from rodenticide.
I had a rat problem with rats burrowing under and into my compost pile. They also made burrows along my foundation. I caught one rat. I removed my bird feeders near the compost, switched to a compost tumbler that is off the ground and filled the burrows. No more rats. And no poison!

1 Like

Here is one of several article re. Bald eagle and rat poison.

1 Like

Thanks for weighing in. I was originally using anticoagulants until I understood their mode of action, and how they built up in tissue. I switched to Zinc Phosphide, which is restricted in some areas, because it seemed to pose almost no risk to secondary wildlife when used with a proper pvc bait station.

As I understand, the phosphine gas is released on ingestion, immediately does its thing and doesn’t build up in tissue. Any thoughts on this? Thanks in advance.

I found a dead Cooper’s hawk lying on my groundnut bed a few weeks ago—a healthy-looking specimen with no obvious wounds. I wonder if that’s what got it? It was the first thing that crossed my mind.

We’ve quit using rodent poison ourselves. Don’t want to do any harm to our cats or to raptors, foxes or other wild predators. In fact, except for certain invertebrates (and I strictly limit what I use there), I really dislike poisoning things in general.

I watched my boyhood dog, Pete, die of ethylene glycol poisoning. It was too late by the time we figured out something was wrong and got him to a vet. It was heartbreaking. Even worse, I believe a neighbor did it on purpose. Pete was a harmless old boy—but he occasionally slipped off and went over to her place, and she apparently hated dogs: someone later heard her brag that she poisoned other neighborhood dogs with antifreeze. She’s long since dead and buried—but de mortuis nothing, she was a horrible creature, as are all people who do such things.

I actually know someone who admitted to doing the same thing. She was a sociopath. She also set her apartment (building) on fire to get the insurance she just bought. How do people like that live with themselves? Horrible.