Rodents infest homes, buildings, gardens, etc., and tend to cause a lot of damage to one’s property. One of the most effective means of getting rid of them is by using rat poison. In this Buzzle article, we shall find out more about the ingredients and working of rat poison.
Rat poison, or rodenticides, are used extensively to exterminate rats, mice, or other similar rodents that may have invaded your home or workplace. In early times, the traditional ingredients used to concoct rodenticides comprised toxic chemicals such as arsenic, barium, and thallium, among other extremely poisonous substances. The use of these powerful poisons, however, was soon discontinued as they were found to be fatal to pets and even humans.
Rat poison, nowadays, use much milder yet effective ingredients in them. They also carry warnings along with a list of ingredients, and suggested antidotes in case of a poisoning. In the following lines we describe some of the commonly used ingredients in making rat poisons, along with their working. We also briefly mention some of the precautions and care that one must take while using rat poisons.
What are the Common Ingredients of Rat Poison?
Modern rat poisons usually contain one or more of the following types of toxins in them:
These chemicals block the absorption of vitamin K which inhibits the generation of the coagulating factors responsible for blood-clotting within the body. This causes internal bleeding in the rodent, which subsequently leads to its death. Some of the commonly used active anticoagulants are warfarins, indandiones, hydroxycoumarins and difethialone. Anticoagulants cause death after they are steadily consumed over a period of a few days.
They are quick-acting poisons that can kill a rat in a matter of a few hours by attacking its vital organs, as well as the central nervous system. Commonly used metal phosphide are zinc phosphide (used as baits to kill rats) as well as aluminum phosphide, calcium phosphide and magnesium phosphide (fumigants).
These include the different forms of Vitamin D, namely Vitamins D2 and D3 also known as cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol, respectively. They work by increasing the calcium concentration in the body of a rodent, leading to the calcification of its organs and ultimately its death. Calciferols need to be added to the poisons in high dosages for the poison to work effectively.
Rat poisons can be as dangerous to other animals or birds as they are to rats. There are numerous cases of deaths of dogs, cats and other pets every year due to the ingestion of rat poisons. This is the reason why some of the strong poisons, which are highly toxic, are usually avoided in rodenticides designated for domestic use.
The use of anticoagulants is frequent in most commercially available rat poisons because it works slowly and in case it is ingested by a pet or a human being, there is enough time to introduce an antidote into the system, to counter its effects. Some of the common rat poisoning symptoms are loss of hair, blood in urine or feces, bleeding gums, fatigue and dizziness.
Vitamin K1 is used as an effective antidote in cases of poisoning by anticoagulants. If ingestion of rat poison is suspected, one should seek medical help immediately. If the ingestion is fairly recent, one must try to induce vomiting to expel it out.
Rat poisons do work effectively, but need to be used with caution because of the toxic nature of the ingredients which they contain. Always store them out of the reach of pets and children, who may mistake them for a tidbit, and ingest them unknowingly. Also make sure you use gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with rat poison.