July 24, 2021
Yesterday, I woke up to a Nextdoor request from a neighbor asking for help about a baby raccoon they saw on their morning walk that was shaking and unable to walk. They were not sure if the baby was hit by a car, or having a seizure. My automatic response was to relay information for them to contact our neighborhood wildlife rehabilitator since it could be rat poison, distemper or rabies.
The local rehabber quickly picked up the baby raccoon, and sure enough it was what she feared. Rat poison. She gave the baby valium to stop the seizures, and vitamin k and fluids in hopes to stop the rat poison from killing the raccoon by flushing it out. We live in a community that strives to educate folks about alternatives to rat poison since more often than not, local wildlife and pets are poisoned by primary or secondary means of ingestion. We even have a city council person who is an expert on rat behavior and runs a facebook group called the Ferndale Rat Patrol with a few other locals. In this public group that even outside dwellers are welcome to join, people will find presentations, flyers, and support on how to safely trap and eliminate rats in their own backyards and communities without harming local wildlife or pets.
Here are images of the baby raccoon from yesterday morning. You can also see the fecal matter and how it is a greenish blue from the rat poison.
We still have many who continue to purchase rat poison. I checked on the status of the baby raccoon this morning, and was sad to hear that the poor baby died last night. I quickly worked on a new flyer and letters to local hardware stores, as well as sending emails to the big box stores, if they will even listen. When I was about finished, word got out in Ferndale that a squirrel was just poisoned, and our wildlife rehabber picked up the squirrel, but most likely will have to euthanize the squirrel.
Raccoons are native to North America. They are clever and quite adaptive. Rats are clever too, however rats, specifically “Norway rats” are not native and they reproduce like crazy, with summer being peak season. I have emailed Fish and Wildlife and the DNR about banning rat poison, mentioning how migratory birds consume poisoned rats and die, and citing that migratory birds such as predatory hawks and owls are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty act. As citizens, If we even keep a feather from a migratory bird that we find in our own backyard, we can be fined, yet if a migratory bird dies from secondary poisoning, there is nothing Fish and Wildlife or The Department of Natural Resources can or will do. To me, this seems like alot of unaccountability from the manufacturer, supplier, retailer, our government, and ignorance from the buyer.
I ask that if you read this, and if you have a rat problem, to please join the Ferndale Rat Patrol to learn how to effectively control rats without using poison.
I live close to downtown, and during the summer months, I have to set traps in my backyard. I have a Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, and 7-11 behind me. I use milk crates, and snap traps. I set them out at dusk along walls that rats travel, and use peanut butter that attracts them. I set two traps alongside each other facing the wall and put the milk crate over top. I put a gallon of water on top of the crate so that other nocturnal animals can't get inside. At dawn, I release the traps so that the chipmunks, and squirrels don't enter and get caught, I do this nightly until I don't see anymore rats, and I don't see anymore burrows opening back up. If I find any burrows, I pour dry ice down in the burrows, and cover them up. This is done during the daytime when rats sleep. They go to sleep forever, no pain. No clean up.
You can learn all of this in the forum.
Don't use poison. Native wildlife is not invading our space, and we need to allow them to exist. When we let them die, more rats will invade.
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