How does rat poison work? [Rodenticide Side Effects]

Rats are one of the very bothersome pests in a home. These rodents can live in various environments, such as in the basement, ceiling, or even in the wall. Besides, these irritating animals multiply very quickly and will destroy your food as they spread diseases. For this reason, many homeowners prefer to get rid of these stubborn creatures as fast as possible. In this post, we’re going to enlighten you about how rat poison works and its effect on other pets, animals, and humans around it.

Many people typically prefer to use mouse poison instead of traps if they want to kill them quickly. If you decide to use rat poison, it’s crucial to find out how it works and what to expect. Animal activists consider poisoning rats as an inhumane way of dealing with them.

Additionally, eliminating rats using rodenticide risks harming pets, animals, and humans close by. This is because rodenticide is made with some dangerous substances, which include cute toxins, calcium releasers, and anticoagulants. However, rodenticides made of anticoagulants are the most common on the market.

Summary of Contents

How does rat poison work?

Unlike rat traps that don’t kill the rat, rodenticide or rat poison suffocates the rat to death. The poisoned baits are usually placed in a bait station here; these stubborn animals can feed on it. Note that rat baits can be in pellet form, blocks, seeds, grains, or even powder.

How the rodenticide functions depend on the type of ingredients used to make the poison. Here are how different toxins will suffocate the rat to death:


One of the common toxins found in rodenticides is anticoagulants. This toxin is very useful in killing rats. It works by forbidding blood clotting, which ends up causing internal bleeding. Depending on the concentration of the poison, the rat can die within two days or a week.

There are two types of anticoagulants – first-generation and second-generation anticoagulants. First-generation anticoagulants take around a week to kill. On the contrary, second-generation anticoagulants take less than two to four days to kill. Additionally, 1st generation anticoagulants have to be taken several times to be useful. In comparison, second-generation anticoagulants need only one feed to work exceptionally well.


Another lethal toxin used to make rat poison is bromethalin. When rats consume this poison, it makes the bran start swelling. Some of its side effects include seizures, incoordination, and paralysis. At a mitochondrial level, bromethalin halts the rat’s ability to produce any energy.

Note that bromethalin is an acute, non-anticoagulant active ingredient that will kill rats in two or more days. It kills even faster than most anticoagulants. As a result, more rodents can be controlled with less bait.

Zinc and aluminum phosphate

Zinc and aluminum phosphate are acute toxins. They are very dangerous and typically used in agriculture to treat moles and gophers because of their potency. When ingested, they cause increased production of phosphine gases in the stomach.

It’s vital to handle rat poison with these ingredients very carefully. 

When poisoned animals vomit, the toxic gasses can be exposed to animals close by or even people, which may irritate lungs and cause other side effects.

Vitamin D3

Such rodenticides usually lead to calcium and phosphorus overdose. If the body experiences extreme levels of these two minerals, intense and grievous kidney failure may occur. This rat poison is preferred because it doesn’t carry any danger of second-generation poisoning of other animals that may consume the dead rat as food. You can also use homemade mouse poison with some regular ingredients.

Is rat poison effective?

Yes, poison is the most effective method of eliminating a quickly spreading rat population. Nonetheless, this method is very inhumane and lethal to these pesky creatures. As a result, it should always be used as a last resort. If you’ve tried trapping rats to no avail, then you can resort to this method.

Use rat bait if your house is rodent-proof. This will prevent sick rats from accessing your home. Besides, it would be best to place the rat poison in bait stations to prevent other animals and pets from consuming the dangerous bait. If you’ve never used rat poison before, it would be best to contact a professional before doing so.

When the rats in your home consume this deadly bait, they will try to escape their hiding areas, searching for dehydration and other cures. This is very dangerous to other predators close by as they may end up eating the poisoned rat. On the contrary, if the rodent is extremely weak, it will not escape its hiding place or walls. And should it be trapped deep in your ceiling or in the wall and die, it will cause a very unpleasant odor.

Is it okay if other pets eat rat poison?

No, it’s not. Rodent poison is extremely toxic to both animals and people. Therefore, if household pets consume this deadly poison, they may get sick or even die. That’s why you’re required to exercise caution when dealing with rat poison.

Not only is rat poison dangerous to your pets, but also to your pets. Rats that have died because of consuming rodenticide can still pass on the poison. Your cat shouldn’t eat a rat that has eaten mouse poison as the poison remains inside the dead rodent. For this reason, finding and disposing of the dead rat and staying rat poison is crucial.

Additionally, it would help if you always used bait stations to prevent pets and kids from coming into contact with this life-threatening poison.

What are the common rodenticide side effects?

If your pet eats rat baits or accidentally eats a deceased rat with rodenticide in it, there is a chance that it will get sick or die. Hence, knowing the side effects of an animal that has ingested rat poison is critical. Here are several side effects of rodenticide on animals:

  • Diarrhea
  • Internal bleeding
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • High temperature
  • Fever
  • Drowsiness, weakness, and fainting
  • Stomach ache

If you discover these elements in your pet, you should rush it to the veterinarian. The cat will be diagnosed, and it will be fine.

How Fast Does Rat Poison Work?

All in all, different rat poisons work differently. However, their main aim is to suffocate the rat, killing it in the end. Anticoagulants prevent the rat’s blood from clotting, while bromethalin induces brain swelling. Most of the poisons take between two and seven days to kill the rat.

Always exercise precaution when dealing with mouse poison. This is because it’s dangerous to rodents and your pets and kids at home.

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