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Learn about keeping pets and wildlife safe by not using poisons.

Keep Wildlife and Pets Safe: Thank You For Not Using Poisons

Safeguarding your home and yard from rats, mice, gophers, and other rodents does not require the use of hazardous poisons. There are much safer and more effective ways to keep rodents out. Please don’t risk poisoning your family, your pets, and our wildlife.

Rodents have many natural predators, from owls and hawks to coyotes and snakes. Rodents play an important role in the ecosystem as food source for birds, mammals, and reptiles, and as seed dispersers for trees and plants.

Using poison to kill rodents can backfire: it kills off rodents’ natural predators and thus increases the rodent population in the long term.

See the Rodenticides Fact Sheet!

Did You Know?

A coyote can eat more than 1000 rodents a year. A single owl can catch more than 1400 mice a year!

The Challenge: Rodenticides Can Poison Children, Pets, and Wildlife

Rodenticides are poisons that kill rats, mice, and gophers. But they also kill much larger species, including dogs and cats, and they are hazardous for anyone who swallows them, especially children.

Rodenticides, commonly known as rat poisons, are commercially available in the form of bait stations, pellets, bars, or packs. Most come with a standard government warning label:

"ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - This product is extremely toxic to fish, birds and other wildlife. Wildlife feeding on treated bait may be killed. Dogs, cats, and other predatory and scavenging mammals and birds might be poisoned if they feed upon animals that have eaten this bait.

Toxic Products to Avoid

  • 1st generation anti-coagulants, which cause death by internal bleeding (chemical ingredients: warfarin, chlorophacinone, and diphacinone)
  • 2nd generation anti-coagulants, which are more toxic and have been banned from retail sales but are still sold online (chemical ingredients: brodifacoum, difenacoum, difethialone, and bromadiolone)
  • Neve toxins such as bromethalin (branded products include Vengeance, Assault, and Trounce)

Rodenticides cause a slow, painful death for animals who have been exposed, whether through consuming the bait directly or eating a poisoned rodent. Larger animals who eat many rodents suffer from a build-up of poison in their bodies over time, which leads to the slow deterioration of their health that is ultimately lethal.

Some of these poisons are readily available at retail stores. Although the most toxic products have been restricted to use by professionals, many are sold online without oversight. They contain highly poisonous ingredients that lack antidotes or medical treatments for pets who may have been exposed.

Why you Should Avoid Rodenticides

  • Children are at risk of accidental poisoning since they may mistake the bait for candy or food.
  • Cats or dogs may die or become severely ill from eating poisoned rodents.
  • Owls, hawks, eagles, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, and other wildlife may die from eating poisoned rodents.
  • Rodents may die in an inaccessible location in your house; the smell of a dead animal will persist for weeks to months.

Why Does Other Wildlife Get Killed by Rat Poison?

A poisoned rodent is a toxic time bomb. Rodents don’t die inside the bait stations but wander around in our yards and open spaces. They can eat multiple lethal doses before death. As they get weaker and sicker, they become easy prey for their natural predators: owls, hawks, eagles, foxes, coyotes, and our cats and dogs.

For example, when an owl catches and consumes a toxic rodent, they too will be poisoned. Dependent on the amount of toxins in the rodent, and the number of toxic rodents eaten, that owl will get sick and, sooner or later, die. Dead rodents can also pollute water sources or be scavenged, including by dogs. The scavengers too may become severely sick and eventually die.

Action Tips: Be a Friend to Wildlife! ❤ Don’t Use Poisons!

By using non-toxic methods, you can keep rodents out of your home and in the wild, where they belong. While rodents have become resistant to more and more toxins, they cannot escape the fangs of an owl or the teeth of a coyote. Our native predators are the most effective long-term solution for keeping rodent populations in check!

The words Tip #1

Reduce Rodent Access to Food and Water in Your Yard

  • Keep trash bins tightly closed and remove any refuse from your yard.
  • Remove fallen fruit and spilled birdseed.
  • Use rodent-proof, above-ground bird feeders.
  • Elevate your bird bath above ground level.
  • Don’t feed dogs or cats outdoors, and pick up dog waste.

The words Tip #2

Prevent Rodent Access to Your House

  • Seal any cracks and crevices leading into your home.
  • Use weatherstripping on windows and doors and replace when it ages.
  • If you hire a professional to rodent-proof your home, asked whether they are trained in integrated pest management (a holistic approach that starts with the least hazardous method).

The words Tip #3

Slow Rodent Population Growth

  • Check out commercial birth control products for rats and mice, which can be dispersed in feed stations, such as ContraPest®.
  • Never use glue or sticky traps, which are indiscriminate and cause a cruel death for any animals caught in them (including wild birds). Distressed animals struggle against the glue, sometimes breaking bones or tearing limbs, or suffocating when the glue enters their nasal passages. Most often death comes from a combination of exhaustion and dehydration, which could take hours or even days.

The words Tip #4

Create a Habitat for Natural Predators

  • Install a barn owl nesting box to naturally control rodents. An owl family can eat upwards of 3000 rodents per year.
  • Before you try to attract predators, all use of poison (including by your neighbors) must have stopped at least 3 months before.

Just Ask: Need Help?

  • Talk to your neighbors: ask your neighbors whether they use rodenticides and talk to them about alternative solutions, especially if you have a dog or cat.
  • Free hazardous waste drop-off: bring any poisons and toxins you find around your home or property to the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center (operated by Advanced Chemical Transport) at 6137 Edith NE, or call the Household Hazardous Waste Hotline: 505-349-5220
  • Health concerns? If you suspect that someone may have swallowed a rodenticide, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. In an emergency, call 911.

Be a Friend To Wildlife ❤ ABQ Wildlife Coexistence

Albuquerque is home to over 850 animal species, many of whom roamed these lands long before our city's founding. They are important city residents who help maintain healthy local ecosystems. Always Enjoy Wildlife from a distance.

Be a Friend to Wildlife: Dos & Dont's

Don't feed wildlife (except songbirds)
Don't feed pets outside
Don't leave pet waste
Don't use chemicals or poisons

Do keep your distance
Do seal garbage &compost
Do plant native flowers
Do supervise your pets
Do stay on trails