What are anticoagulant rodenticides and why are they so harmful?

Jan 28, 2021

Anticoagulant rodenticides (a form of poison that causes internal bleeding) have been used to manage rodent problems for years, but they have been proven to cause severe damage to the environment, pets, and other wildlife due to the effects of primary and secondary poisoning.

Primary poisoning happens when an animal eats the rodenticide bait and dies. Bait is made to smell like food and attract rats and mice, but can also attract other animals such as cats and squirrels.

Secondary poisoning is when owls and other animals prey on poisoned animals. If the poisoned rodent (e.g. a rat) is consumed by another animal (e.g. an owl), that animal could also be poisoned and die.

Rodent control can be quite upsetting for property owners, as control methods often kill the rodent. Animal welfare organizations often discourage products that could prolong the suffering of pests (for example, those that do not kill instantly). Many stores and pest control companies offer alternatives that suit your property’s needs and your preferred methods.

The ability to ban rodenticides on private properties falls with the province. While the District cannot regulate the use of rodenticides on private properties, all residents and businesses are encouraged to choose alternatives to rodenticides on their own properties.

To address the use of rodenticides on District properties, Council banned the use of anticoagulant rodenticides on District properties on September 28, 2020. District staff have been working to discontinue the use of rodenticides and instead utilize alternative methods for rodent control in or around District facilities.

Mayor Mary-Ann Booth, on behalf of Council, has written a letter to the province to request that they ban anticoagulant rodenticides throughout British Columbia.

What you can do

Taking precautions to make your home less attractive to rodents is the best way to control their populations. Follow these prevention steps:

  • Block all openings using durable materials
  • Regularly inspect and repair entry points
  • Remove hiding places and food attractants

BC SPCA: Rodent-proofing your home in four simple steps

When keeping them out isn’t enough, several trapping and deterrent methods have been proven to be effective and are non-toxic to the environment:

  • Mechanical traps (snap traps, piston traps)
  • Live trapping
  • Ultrasound deterrents

More information

Managing rodent pests

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