Native Wildlife & Rodenticides: A Deadly Combination
WIRES was recently contacted by Kate, she had found this Barn owl dead on the ground, with no sign of injury, no sign of reason why it had died.
Sadly it is most likely a case of second generation poisoning and this owl is just one of many native animals that fall victim to rodenticides poisoning.
Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) – referred to as ‘single dose anticoagulants’ deliver a lethal dose that is ingested in a single feed, Rodents will die 5 to 10 days after consuming a lethal dose.
SGARs are slow to break down and are not easily excreted from the body thus stored in the liver and fat. The poison is then passed on to whatever eats the poisoned rodent and continues to poison the food chain.
SGARs and banned or tightly restricted around the world but are readily available in shops and supermarkets in Australia.
Alternative Rat and Mouse Control:
• Deter rats and mice around your property by removing potential food sources
• Use covered compost bins, keep animal feed in metal or heavy plastic bins with tight lids.
• Pick up fallen fruits
• Remove weeds and debris near buildings and in yards to minimise hiding places.
• Use chicken feeders to minimise spilt grain
• In cupboards and the pantry, opened food should be stored in metal, glass or heavy duty plastic containers with tight lids
• Seal up holes in walls and roof to reduce the amount of rodent-friendly habitat
• Replace palms with native trees; palm trees are a favourite hideout for black rats, while native trees provide ideal habitat for native predators like owls and hawks which help to control rodent populations
• Snap traps are efficient and kill rodents quickly. Set rat traps with care in a safe, covered spot, away from the reach of children, pets, and wildlife. Two of the most effective trap baits are peanut butter and pumpkin seeds
• ‘No kill traps’ must be checked every day and the trapped rodents euthanised humanely. Do not release rats into the bush where they will continue to hunt and kill wildlife
• Never use glue traps as they cause a painful and prolonged death for anything caught, including wildlife.
If turning to rodent baits as a last resort.
• Remember that all rodent baits are designed to kill, so there are no ‘wildlife safe’ products only less dangerous ones. All poisons are dangerous chemicals. Read label for ingredients before purchase and avoid all products containing SGARs i.e. brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, difenacoum and flocoumafen.
Picture by Kate, drawing by Melanie Barsony