Prevent harm to native wildlife and stop using rodenticide

May 28, 2024

The von Arx Wildlife Hospital admits over 4,200 animals each year. Many of these animals, including bald eagles, burrowing owls, great horned owls, barn owls, opossums, and grey foxes, arrive suffering from anticoagulant rodenticide toxicosis. Many do not survive.

“The suffering we see in animals that have ingested anticoagulant rodenticides is significant. Especially devastating is the fact we are in breeding season and many of these birds of prey are taking food items to their young and the babies are ingesting the poisons. Watching an animal bleed out is tragic, especially because these deaths are preventable and the damage could be minimized.”

Joanna Fitzgerald, director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning typically occurs when predatory birds such as owls, hawks, and eagles, and opportunistic foragers such as opossums, raccoons, and foxes eat dead or dying rodents that have consumed poison rodent bait. The indiscriminate use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides is resulting in the deaths of non-target species of wildlife.

“The presence of rodenticides in predators such as owls, hawks, and eagles, reveals the potential consequences these poisons have on animals higher in the food chain, not just the species for which they were intended,” stated Fitzgerald. “The variety of species we have admitted to the wildlife hospital suffering the effects of rodenticide poisoning is alarming.”

The quest for implementing a safer alternative that will curb rodents in public spaces, yet not impact non-target species, is the goal.

Safer alternatives to rodenticide

We understand the desire to remove rodents, but prevention and removal techniques must not harm non-target species. Safe alternatives to rodenticides are available and aid in preventing harm to people, pets, and wildlife. Work with a reputable pest management company that uses options other than second-generation anticoagulants. These alternatives can be more effective in the long run as they do not eliminate the mammals and birds that naturally diminish rodent populations. There are preventative steps that can be taken to reduce rodents without using poisons, traps, or baits.

  • Improving trash management
  • Removing access to food and water sources
  • Blocking off entry points to your indoor property
  • Keeping pet food indoors
  • Trimming foliage away from roofs and houses
  • Picking up pet waste immediately
  • Rinsing recyclables before bringing them outside
  • Obtaining rat-resistant trash containers

Annual Wildlife Baby Shower

The von Arx Wildlife Hospital is hosting our ninth annual Wildlife Baby Shower to raise awareness and support for the hospital’s youngest, most delicate patients.

Save the Date – The Wildlife Hospital Baby Shower is on Saturday, June 1. Visit for more details. If you are unable to attend the baby shower, donate gifts online through the Conservancy’s Amazon Wish List and our Chewy Wish List throughout the entire month of June. Visit We couldn’t do all we do for wildlife in need without the generous support of our community.

Opportunities to Help

Please visit our website to learn about opportunities to get involved. Please consider volunteering, and if you are unable to give your time as a volunteer, become a member or donate. Your support will help the Conservancy continue to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.