Prevent Raptor Poisoning

Coopers Hawk with rat by Tony Brake

Not only are hawks and owls beautiful to see but they also provide essential environmental services for us by consuming rodent pests. Unfortunately each year hawks, owls and other non-target animals (including pets and other wildlife) become sickened and may die from exposure to rat poison. This is because mice and rats eat the rodenticide(poison) and then become sickand lethargic. The hawk or owl sees an easy meal but when they consume the poisoned rodent they too are poisoned. This secondary poisoning is harmful to our environment and fouls the entire food chain.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation explained it this way: “It’s true that all rodenticides are toxic to wildlife and should not be placed in areas where non-target wildlife have access to them. What’s unique about second generation anti-coagulant rodenticide (SGARs) is that rodents frequently eat more than a single dose of them, and the effects of that dose are often
delayed for a few days. Meanwhile, the rodents may continue to eat more poison, resulting in a super-lethal dose that builds up in their tissues. When predators such as hawks or foxes eat these weakened or dead rodents, the dose may also be deadly to the predators. Incident reports conclude that SGAR products pose significant risks to non-target wildlife and that these risks are greater than those posed by other rodenticide active ingredients.”

Fortunately there are solutions. If there are rodents, first remove their access to food. Second, seal any openings to your home, business or other buildings. Then use appropriately sized snap traps inside a bait box. Or hire acompany that does not use rodenticides, there are several companies in the San Francisco Bay Area including The Hit Men, Pestec, Sieg’s Abatement Service and Rat Patrol.

What can you do?

Clean up – Remove any sources of food or water. This includes removing bird seed, ripe fallen fruit, pet food, and other food sources. Also remove materials that can be used for rodent nesting including shredded paper. Put an old shower curtain under bird feeders for easy cleanup and take these indoors at night.

Exclusion – Seal up any entry holes or access points near pipes, doors and windows where mice or rats can enter a building. Seal any holes bigger than a dime. Put an old shower curtain under bird feeders for easy cleanup and take these indoors at night.

Spread the Word – Please share outreach materials from Raptors are the Solution (RATS) with your neighbors, workplace and local businesses. Raptors are the Solution (RATS) resources and free downloadable brochures, flyers and other outreach materials can be found at:

Contact these three manufacturers and express your dissatisfaction that they continue to sell these harmful products:

  • Reckitt Benckiser Inc (maker of D-Con, Fleeject and Mimas products)
    P.O. Box 225, 399 Interpace Parkway, Parsippany, NJ 07054-0225
    Attn: Customer Service
  • Spectrum Group (Hot Shot products)
    P.O. Box 142642, St. Louis, MO 63114-0642
  • Liphatech Inc (Generation, Maki and Rozol products)
    3600 West Elm Street, Milwaukee, WI 53209

More information from SF Dept of the Environment:

More information from the EPA:

 News coverage of the SF voluntary call for a rodenticide ban :

Read CBS local coverage of this issue here

Read SF Chronicle coverage here

Read SF Appeal news coverage here