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Laying poison in a way that protects wildlife and pets

FireFire Posts: 17,116
edited December 2020 in Wildlife gardening
In our community group we currently have a row going on about laying poison for rats and mice. Some pet-lovers are convinced  there is no safe way of doing this without endangering pets and wildlife. We are in London, on the edge of a big, wooded park, and some gardens are over-run with mice or rats. I think this is not so much from bins, so much as local cat and dog faeces, bird feeding, the park and just the fact that there are so many people living so close together, restaurants, cafes etc.

Can they put pellets in narrow tubes that only mice can access? Is there good evidence that animals that eat poisoned vermin become poisoned themselves? I don't think, in this case, it's a matter of the householders cleaning up their act and their garden, so much as facing a forever problem.

Your practical thoughts on this (not your sluttering outrage) are appreciated.

Many thanks


  • herbaceousherbaceous Posts: 2,314
    Currently struggling with a similar dilemma @Fire so will be watching this thread with interest.  Trying to make my bird feeder rat proof at the moment but keep running up against design flaws  :/
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Reading around 'secondary poisoning', it does seem that most rat poison uses blood thinners to kill pests, and this drug stays in the systems for many days - in the eater but also those that predate the eater.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,791
    We are on the edges of London, and also border woodland.  In the past we used spring-loaded traps for rats ( but only caught mice) and so stopped using them.  We tried enclosed traps containing poison.  The poison was eaten, and the rats disappeared, but we don't know if the poison killed them or not. 

    We have a young dog now, so I don't think we would use any kind of poison any more.  If we felt rats were a problem in future, we would probably use the spring-loaded traps, but put them in places that the dog/birds could not physically access.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 7,897
    edited December 2020
    We (and all our neighbours) had a problem with rats in gardens and outbuildings last winter after a dilapidated stables was (slightly!) cleaned out. Apparently it was completely over run with vermin.

    Our immediate neighbours decided to use poison grains (in a proper locked bait box). Only rats and other small rodents could get into the box to eat the grains but - on at least 2 occasions - there was a trail of grains out of the box - presumably dragged out on fur. In the open this could be eaten or picked up by any bird, hedgehog or other animal - including children.

    I used bait blocks which are secured inside the locked box with a bar. They can be gnawed in the box (apparently rats & mice prefer to do this anyway) and there was no evidence of any of the poison being dragged outside the box. I checked the boxes every day to clean out small crumbs and nearly finished blocks which could be pulled off the bar.

    I firmly believe bait blocks are the safer option. 

    All poisons (in whatever form) should be secured in locked bait boxes so it cannot be easily accessed by other animals or children (I believe that is now a legal requirement). 

    I imagine that all poisons have the potential to cause harm to animals further up the food chain if they eat a poisoned creature.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • I am battling a mouse infestation at the moment. I am using a combination of traps inside & bait boxes outside. I am using block bait as described by @Topbird.  I find the red so called high power bait the most effective claims to kill in one feed. I am only putting a couple of block in each box at a time, I have 3 round the garden & one in the front of what was the garage (mostly utility room now). So far the score for the traps is 3 in utility area 2 from the shed where my apples were stored.  All the bait has been nibbled now but none gone completely yet, so I'm fairly sure it's mice not rats out side too.
    AB Still learning

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,193
    I believe the theory is that the poisoned rats/mice go back to their nests and die there as the poison takes time to work in which I presume they wouldn't easy to be predated themselves but I don't know whether that is definitely the case or not. In my mind it comes down to a health issue, rats and mice dribble urine everywhere which is believed to spread disease. I don't want rats in my home at all - that would really freak me out.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • cornellycornelly Posts: 970
    I put rat poison under the shed in saucers, the shed is on 2 by 2 timbers, which means the rats manage to crawl through, they take the bait block with them to the nest and wipes them all out, been free for a while.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    @cornelly - the wildlife angle doesn't bother you?
  • cornellycornelly Posts: 970
    I have done  this for many years without any bother, I am a Garden Birdwatcher, and have a wildlife friendly garden, don't see any dead animals, my one next door neighbour also does what I do, and she has 4 dogs, we smell the dead rats never ever see them.
  • Here's what I think is the best technical advice on the subject: How to control rats as safely as possible - The Barn Owl Trust
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