In Keith Anderson’s recent article, “Of Mice and Intolerant Men” he mentioned using poison to control and prevent the mice coming into his house. None of us like having mice come into our homes, but rodenticides are actually a significant problem for owls, pets, predators and other animals. There are many safer alternatives. Every day at the International Owl Center we educate people about the other options that exist to control rodents.

Research shows a large number of owls tested in a variety of different studies have measurable levels of rodenticides in their bodies. The lowest I’ve seen in a study is 40% of owls tested, most studies show 60-80% of owls tested, and one even showed 100% of owls tested. Most owls have more than one rodenticide in their systems, and the poison can stay in their bodies for up to three years. One dose of poison won’t kill a large owl, but it could kill their young and a single dose may kill small owls.

Rodenticides affect all kinds of wildlife. They have shown up in eagles, hawks, falcons, wild boars, reptiles, mountain lions, fox, deer, fish, worms, and more. These poisons have been shown to alter the DNA of bobcats to make them more susceptible to mange. Outdoor bait stations are visited by all kinds of animals besides mice and rats. These bait stations can and do often present a danger to pets and young children as well.

This is an easy problem to fix if people just choose to use alternatives to poison. There are a LOT of options: snap traps, battery-powered zap traps (some even connect to an app on your phone), CO2 traps, and highly effective yet inexpensive bucket traps. There are also scent repellents. Avoid glue traps because they are indiscriminate and catch other animals too. If you want all kinds of creative ideas, check out the “Mouse Trap Monday” YouTube channel.

For more information on the entire topic, visit Thank you for helping to make the world a better place for owls (and kids and pets and other critters too) by opting for traps instead of poisons to control rodents. 

Andie Harveaux

Houston, Minn.


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