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Take Action to Avoid Unintended Harm from Rat Baits

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Healthy Environments

Does the rat poison come out as soon as you spot a rat or mice problem at your place?

Do you know the effect you could be having on native wildlife and in particular the Southern Boobook Owl?

Modern second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) act as blood thinners and can take a long period to make a rat or mouse sick after taking a lethal dose.

Predators that eat rodents, like owls and other birds of prey, can eat multiple poisoned rats or mice that wander after consuming baits over time and fall victim to secondary poisoning.

A recent landmark study demonstrated the link between rodent control and bird poisoning in the declining Southern Boobook Owl populations in Perth and the South West.

Almost 73 per cent of samples of dead owls tested were exposed to rodenticides.

Around 18 per cent had levels of exposure high enough to directly kill them. And it is not just owls that may be effected – other native mammals, birds and reptiles may be at risk from exposure to SGARs.

So what can you do instead?

  • Tidy your property to make it less friendly for rodents.
  • Replace rat-friendly palm trees with natives that encourage rat predators like owls and install nest boxes for owls to breed in.
  • Consider non-poisonous pest control like snap traps.
  • Check your labels: If using baits look for first generation anticoagulant rodenticides with active constituents like Warfarin and Coumatetralyl. These break down quicker than SGARs, meaning they carry a lower risk of secondary poisoning.
  • Let other people know about the dangers of SGARs to native wildlife.

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*Photo: Chris Tate