3 Different Types of Rat Poison Explained

A mouse peeking out from a hole in the wall.

Rat poison is one method used to curb rat and mouse infestations. However, chemicals used to kill rats are also highly poisonous to other animals as well as humans, and should be used carefully and according to directions. There are three primary rat poison types.

1. Bromethalin

Bromethalin is a neurotoxin that targets the brain and liver. It kills rats a few hours following a single ingestion of poison by causing sodium accumulation in the liver cells and fluid buildup in the brain.

It is highly advised that you do not use this type of poison if you have pets in the home. There is no test for bromethalin poisoning in pets and there is no antidote either. Treatments for poisoning are symptomatic and supportive only.

Also, while this product is labeled as a rat poison, it is actually used to deal with rodent-like mammals, such as moles, as well.

2. Vitamin-based

The final variety of rat poison pellets acts by flooding the rat’s system with fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D. These poisons act somewhat slower than bromethalin, typically taking a full day after ingestion to reach effectiveness.

3. Anti-coagulants

Anti-coagulants are common rodenticides that contain chemicals that interfere with blood clotting. Some of the most popular anti-coagulant rat poisons are fumarin and warfarin. These poisons are the slowest acting, taking a few days at least to kill the rat.

Fortunately, these poisons, along with vitamin-based types, can be addressed quickly by a doctor or a vet should they be ingested, however, you should still contact a poison control center immediately if a child or a pet ingests any type. It is best if you have pets or small children to consider alternative measures for riding your house of rodents, such as traps.

Also keep in mind that rat poisons are not an effective treatment for a full infestation if used on their own. Rat poisons will kill rodents for certain, but only the rats who actually ingest the poison. Some may not and others, if the conditions are right, will keep coming. This is why it’s crucial to address the source of a vermin infestation while using traps or poisons to rid the home of the creatures already present. Find their sources of food, water, and shelter and make them inaccessible. This should cause some pests to leave on their own while deterring more from arriving. The right traps and poison can then take care of the rest.