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Wildlife and pets pay the price for using poison to control rats/mice l Guest View


Last updated 5/8/2019 at Noon

Editor’s Note: Kimberly Brinkley is a Mukilteo resident who lives in Old Town. She emailed The Beacon saying she has seen neighbors placing rat poison boxes outside their homes, unaware of potential hazards to other animals, thus she wanted to educate Mukilteo residents.

Are you or one of your neighbors using poison to try and control rats/mice? If yes, are you aware that this poison moves up the food chain when a poisoned rat/mouse becomes a meal for wildlife and pets, who then pay the price?

Getting rid of a rat/mice infestation with poison comes at a great cost to other living things, from the most inconsequential insects to pets, children and wildlife. By continuing to use rat/mice poison, we are literally killing the animals that nature has provided to keep rodent populations in check.

The best method to control rodents is by prevention, as rodents tend to come indoors (to our homes) when food and space are made available to them. If you have a rodent problem at home:

  • Remove any potential rodent habitats (homes) such as: trash, wood piles, cardboard boxes, tires, yard debris, overgrown plants and/or dense ground cover.
  • Seal up cracks and crevices where rats/mice may be entering your home. You can use metal, concrete, copper mesh wool, quarter-inch wire, etc.
  • Remove shrubbery and tree limbs within three feet of the side of your house and/or roof.
  • Eliminate all sources of food
  • Pick up dropped fruit or any other food that may be attracting rodents to your home.
  • Do not leave pet food outside (pick up the pet food after your pet has finished eating).
  • Do not leave bird feeders outside at night (take all bird feeders inside at night) and sweep up spilled seed every evening.
  • Ensure that your garbage is completely sealed and secured.

  • Keep bulk food, seeds, dry pet foods, cereals, etc. in metal cans with lids.

Consider including natural rodent predators in your solution such as a cat(s) or a family of owls.

Did you know that rats/mice can smell their predators? Therefore, a rat/mouse knows if a cat is in your home and this indicates the presence of danger and to avoid the area. Often just the smell of cat urine and litter is enough to deter the rat/mouse to avoid the area.

Did you know that a family of five owls can consume up to 3,000 rodents in breeding season? By placing a nest box to encourage a family of owls to make your property home can be a great alternative to the methods used by commercial pest control companies

But please do not erect an owl box if any of your neighbors are using rat poisons!

If the above efforts are not working, listed below are a few alternatives that are much safer for people, pets and wildlife and studies have shown that in the long run they are more effective because they don’t take out the mammals and birds that keep the rodents in check and they don’t pose a threat to your neighbors beloved pets.

  • Single and multiple entrance snap traps
  • Electrocuting traps (electric or mechanical rat traps /rat zapper)
  • A24 Rat Trap (poison-free rat control that uses a blast of carbon dioxide which kills the rat instantly and painlessly).

Please educate yourself prior to using poison to control rats/mice and work with your pest control company for safe alternatives to utilizing rat poison (or hire a new pest company if they don’t have wildlife/pet safe options).

And if you are using rat/mice poison in bait stations outside your home/dwelling, please be kind enough to go around and inform all of the surrounding neighbors so that they can be on alert for signs of poisoning in their pets (cats/dogs) especially if they find that their pet has captured, killed and/or eaten a rat/mouse or bird, etc.

For more information, you can start with visiting/reading the following:


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