Rat poisons belong to a class of poisons known as rodenticides. Both mice and rats are dispatched using the same toxins, albeit in different concentrations. Rats are larger animals, meaning they require a larger dose of poison to kill. Several compounds are commonly used in rodenticides, but they are all very similar in terms of their effects and the risks they pose to other animals and people.
These poisons are anticoagulants, meaning they interfere with the blood’s ability to clot. In doing so, they thin the rat’s blood until it can no longer be contained within its circulatory system. This eventually leads to internal bleeding, and the rat dies of blood loss.
There are many misunderstandings about these poisons and the effects they have. Contrary to what some people claim, rat poisons don’t cause unnecessary pain to affected rats. They do take some time to kill the rodents, usually a couple of days, but they don’t cause severe pain, as some people claim. Another common belief is that rat, and mouse poisons are designed to drive the creatures outside so they don’t die behind walls or in attics and other hard to reach places. However, this isn’t the case. While rodenticides might cause dehydration and rodents may venture outside in an attempt to find water, this is far from guaranteed.
Commercial rat poisons are designed to speed up the decomposition process. Rats that die from poisoning will decay faster than those that die of natural causes. This faster decay means their carcasses and the smell of their decay don’t linger as long in your home. However, a quicker decomposition rate doesn’t solve this problem entirely. If you use rat poison to deal with an infestation on your property, you need to be prepared to deal with the inevitable stench it will cause.