AN AGE-OLD CONNECTION

Rats and mice are a problem for people throughout the world wherever we settle and grow crops. They can spread disease, have high economic impact when feeding on growing and stored grain and cause nuisance in many other ways.  Methods to control rodents have varied including hygiene measures, trapping, control by domestic cats and dogs, providing roosts for Barn Owls and various means of poisoning with simple substances such as baking powder. Introduction of anticoagulant poisons such as warfarin from the 1950s tipped the balance in our favour. Some species were reputed to develop resistance in the UK. In the 1970s and 1980s manufacturers developed more potent ‘second generation anticoagulant’ rat baits which have become widely available. When ingested by non-target wildlife (and our pet dogs and cats), either directly or through prey that has fed on baits, these compounds are more potent, persist longer and are difficult to counter with veterinarian treatment.

Phascogale. Photo B Wykes

RODENTICIDE PATHWAYS ALONG THE FOOD CHAIN

Rodenticides directly harm native wildlife such as bush rats, quenda and possums as well as their intended target of introduced rodents. They indirectly harm many more through ‘secondary poisoning’.  Evidence is mounting that rodent baits are being eaten not only by the obvious candidates but also by reptiles, which themselves are quite resistant, and by invertebrates such as insects which are unaffected. This means that wildlife at risk of secondary poisoning includes owls, phascogales, brush-tailed possum, quenda, chuditch, mardo, dunnart, daytime birds of prey and insectivorous birds. Even if not directly killed by internal haemorrhaging, wildlife that have ingested rodenticides are more likely to hunt unsuccessfully, get ill, or be killed on roads.

Find out more >

Phascogale. Photo B Wykes

RODENTICIDE PATHWAYS ALONG THE FOOD CHAIN

Rodenticides directly harm native wildlife such as bush rats, quenda and possums as well as their intended target of introduced rodents. They indirectly harm many more through ‘secondary poisoning’.  Evidence is mounting that rodent baits are being eaten not only by the obvious candidates but also by reptiles, which themselves are quite resistant, and by invertebrates such as insects which are unaffected. This means that wildlife at risk of secondary poisoning includes owls, phascogales, brush-tailed possum, quenda, chuditch, mardo, dunnart, daytime birds of prey and insectivorous birds. Even if not directly killed by internal haemorrhaging, wildlife that have ingested rodenticides are more likely to hunt unsuccessfully, get ill, or be killed on roads.

Find out more >

Phascogale. Photo B Wykes

RODENTICIDE PATHWAYS ALONG THE FOOD CHAIN

Rodenticides directly harm native wildlife such as bush rats, quenda and possums as well as their intended target of introduced rodents. They indirectly harm many more through ‘secondary poisoning’.  Evidence is mounting that rodent baits are being eaten not only by the obvious candidates but also by reptiles, which themselves are quite resistant, and by invertebrates such as insects which are unaffected. This means that wildlife at risk of secondary poisoning includes owls, phascogales, brush-tailed possum, quenda, chuditch, mardo, dunnart, daytime birds of prey and insectivorous birds. Even if not directly killed by internal haemorrhaging, wildlife that have ingested rodenticides are more likely to hunt unsuccessfully, get ill, or be killed on roads.

Find out more >

ADVICE ON RODENT CONTROL

If baits are a necessity, choose only  First Generation ones with active ingredients Warfarin (e.g. in Ratsak Double Strength) and Coumatetralyl (e.g. in Racumin). Wildlife and pets can cope with these relatively well when taken in through secondary poisoning.

Find out more >
Rat Poisons

ADVICE ON RODENT CONTROL

If baits are a necessity, choose only  First Generation ones with active ingredients Warfarin (e.g. in Ratsak Double Strength) and Coumatetralyl (e.g. in Racumin). Wildlife and pets can cope with these relatively well when taken in through secondary poisoning.

Find out more >
Rat Poisons
Rat Poisons

ADVICE ON RODENT CONTROL

If baits are a necessity, choose only  First Generation ones with active ingredients Warfarin (e.g. in Ratsak Double Strength) and Coumatetralyl (e.g. in Racumin). Wildlife and pets can cope with these relatively well when taken in through secondary poisoning.

Find out more >

Masked Owl chicks. Photo B Wykes

WAYS TO HELP TO PROTECT WILDLIFE AND PETS

Prevention is better – and cheaper – than cure when it comes to poisoned pets and wildlife. You have an important role through selection, storage and particularly through positioning of rat baits such that the baits themselves and the poisoned rodents don’t get eaten by non-target wildlife, pets and children.

You can also contribute to lobbying for stricter controls, requiring best practice by commercial operators, supporting funding of research, wildlife treatment and rehabilitation, and above all else maintaining habitat for our wildlife.

Find out more >

Masked Owl chicks. Photo B Wykes

WAYS TO HELP TO PROTECT WILDLIFE AND PETS

Prevention is better – and cheaper – than cure when it comes to poisoned pets and wildlife. You have an important role through selection, storage and particularly through positioning of rat baits such that the baits themselves and the poisoned rodents don’t get eaten by non-target wildlife, pets and children.

You can also contribute to lobbying for stricter controls, requiring best practice by commercial operators, supporting funding of research, wildlife treatment and rehabilitation, and above all else maintaining habitat for our wildlife.

Find out more >

Masked Owl chicks. Photo B Wykes

WAYS TO HELP TO PROTECT WILDLIFE AND PETS

Prevention is better – and cheaper – than cure when it comes to poisoned pets and wildlife. You have an important role through selection, storage and particularly through positioning of rat baits such that the baits themselves and the poisoned rodents don’t get eaten by non-target wildlife, pets and children.

You can also contribute to lobbying for stricter controls, requiring best practice by commercial operators, supporting funding of research, wildlife treatment and rehabilitation, and above all else maintaining habitat for our wildlife.

Find out more >

ADVICE ON RODENT CONTROL

masked owl with prey

Masked Owl with rat Photo S Castan

DON’T MAKE DINNER A HEALTH HAZARD

Your choice of methods to control rodents can make all the difference to owls in your neighbourhood. Around human habitation, rats are a major part of their diet and the food they catch to raise their chicks.

quenda in rat trap

Discovery of Quenda not rats in chook pen using non-lethal rat trap. Photo B Wykes

AVOID BAITS IF POSSIBLE

Before putting any pets and wildlife at risk from rat baits, firstly:

  • keep your place clean and tidy, clean up brush piles and rubbish, secure compost heaps
  • use poultry feeders which prevent spillage
  • pick up fallen fruits
  • seal holes and other potential entry points in buildings and enclosures
  • use traps – a wide variety of traps is available; careful positioning is necessary to be effective and reduce harm to non-target species, particularly with lethal traps that ‘kill first and ask questions later’.
  • Place all traps and baits out of reach of non-target animals – noting that setting baits and traps where there is a reasonable chance of killing or catching native wildlife is in fact illegal unless licensed.

RODENTICIDES AREN’T ALL EQUAL

“Second generation” anticoagulant rodenticides pose the greatest threat to wildlife and pets.

Active ingredients include difenacoum, brodifacoum, bromadiolone and difethialone.

 SELECT BAITS THAT ARE LESS HARMFUL TO WILDLIFE

Check ingredients on the labels.

Anticoagulant rodenticides can be divided into:

  • First Generation ones with active ingredients Warfarin (e.g. in Ratsak Double Strength) and Coumatetralyl  (e.g. in Racumin), which work more slowly and break down more quickly.

  • Second Generation ones that are more potent and a lethal dose can be delivered in a single feeding. But when ingested, rodents still take days to die and when eaten by wildlife may contain many doses. Active ingredients include Brodifacoum (the chief ingredient in most Ratsak brands), Bromadialone (in some Ratsak products) and Difenacoum (e.g. Talon, Mortein, Ratsak Fast Action, Pestoff Rodent Bait 20R, Klerat).

Our wildlife has a higher capacity to cope with first generation rodenticides so we recommend use of Racumin or Ratsak Double Strength (but take care not to confuse it with other Ratsak products) – if and when all other means of rat and mice control have been exhausted.

The Health Department and local government require rodent control of commercial and institutional premises.  This can be done using the less harmful rodenticides. Get advice from the Augusta Margaret River Shire.

If employing a licensed pesticide company, ask about their practices, ask them to use the safer rodenticides, and better still, choose one that recommends their use.

A recent addition to retail shelves are rodenticides ‘based upon natural products’ including Ratsak Naturals and Yates Natural.  The active ingredients are corn gluten meal and NaCl (salt). The gluten, accelerated by the salt, apparently causes lethal flatulence because rodents cannot expel gastric gas in the manner we do. These are registered for use in domestic buildings and other indoor situations where alternative food sources can be removed.  Well worth trying.  Let us know how you fare.

ratsak naturals