Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
So, you have a rodent problem. Who doesn’t? The critters are around, have been around and will continue to be around like our other nemesis the cockroach. What’s a poor victim of these “pests” to do? Well, first let me tell you what not to do to “fix” the rodent problem.
Trust me, I have heard and had the same issues. In fact, I lost all of the electricity to the front of my house courtesy of the local roof rats. I wasn’t happy. I was much poorer. I was grossly inconvenienced. So, get over it and take some action. But, whatever you do, don’t make a plug of poison in the guise of a rodenticide be the answer. Here’s why.
Rodenticides which are so onerous that they are slowly (that’s the operative here) being phased out because they are so dangerous not only to the target animal, the rat or mouse, they are as dangerous to anything that consumes the compromised rodent or worse yet, accidentally gets into the poison before the poison gets into the target.
Here’s what happens when an animal gets into rodenticides. Rodenticides are designed specifically to act as anticoagulants…the animal bleeds out. Sometimes depending on the kind of poison, it takes one hit on it…other times it takes more exposure. If the unfortunate rodent weakened by a loss of blood wanders into the path of an owl, a hawk, or a puma any self-respecting predator will take advantage of a meal that comes easily…to its ultimate demise. Two examples of this are a recent discovery of a famously photographed Southern California puma downed by rodenticide, and a Cooper’s hawk newly fledged discovered lying in a puddle of its own blood by a father and his young son. That is a difficult conversation to have with a young impressionable child.
Just so you don’t get off easily I will tell you what happens when a rodenticide attacks a body. The animal begins to lose blood into its surroundings or the cavities of the body. They basically die from continuous bleeding. Hours after exposure animals bleed from the skin, gums, ears, nose, eyes and feces, urine and saliva. There will be obvious bruising, weakness, lethargy and a decreased appetite. Because the lungs are filling up with blood there will be coughing, trouble breathing and often a distended abdomen. The gums will be pale and there will be signs of shock with eventual collapse and loss of consciousness. The respiration rate will decrease as will the heart rate. And, then the animal will die….very slowly!
Here’s the deal. That scenario is exactly what would happen to the animal who consumed the rodenticide, and it would also happen to an animal who ate the poisoned target species…sadly that might be a puma, a hawk, an owl or YOUR PET DOG OR CAT. It does happen. It could happen to you because your neighbor is poisoning or it could happen to your neighbor because YOU have been poisoning. SO STOP IT NOW.
If you have a rodent problem snap trap them. It is immediate. Traps are designed now so that you can release the rodent directly into a trash bin without touching anything but the release mechanism. If you decide to rid yourself of a pest, have the gumption to do it quickly and get rid of the body safely.
Don’t use anything that has brodifacoum, difenacoum, diphacinone, chlorophacionone, coumachlor, warfarin,or indandione. And, now there is a new foe on the market. These rodenticides are so deadly that they are being replaced by Bromethalin which is a neurotoxin causing brain swelling. There is no antidote…sounds like a really bad idea to me. Humans are totally susceptible also. It seems to be just getting worse.
Use snap traps if you must address a rodent issue. But perhaps a little care about what is available to attract rodents would be a good place to start. Think beyond your current problem to the repercussions of taking the easy way out.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year is now up to 6345.
The weather has finally headed into Fall and the intakes reflect the growing number of migrating birds passing through the valley. We’re also still getting some first year birds who are trying to learn their jobs and making mistakes along the way leading to injuries. The Education Team is going full tilt and programs are being accomplished in every corner of the Valley, especially this week as Veterans Day was celebrated last Wednesday. Amidst all this, our senior eagle trainer Joe Miller was laid up with some health issues which lead to a couple of eagle programs being covered by yours truly during the week so as not to disappoint too many people who requested our presence. I was happy to step in, but we’re all hoping Joe returns quickly! On that same subject, Max returned for a brief appearance this week and flew Sonora out front as a first step in getting back into the swing of things. Plus we saw some MAJOR progress on the new facility that should have everyone buzzing as we head into the holiday season in earnest…
When Sherrill Snyder went to Kingman last week to retrieve the three barn owl babies, she also brought back an injured peregrine which continues to get care and treatment. The bird was skinny and had some abrasions to its head along with some eye issues indicating a possible collision with some immovable object. Our two German interns, Ann-Kathrin and Jasmin, took a turn at feeding the bird on Wednesday last week after Laura gave the bird some hydrating fluids.
We don’t take in a lot of roadrunners, but the one we have now got the full treatment last week as both Dr. Orr and Dr. Wyman were in attendance on Tuesday. This bird was the victim of an automobile collision and has an injured wing. Even though they do spend a lot of time on the ground, roadrunners still need both wings working to be successful in the wild.
It’s always great to see progress in the treatment of one of the birds. This GHO came in presenting a wing injury which was repaired and stitched up a couple of weeks ago. Last Tuesday, Dr. Orr removed the sutures and the bird got to move outside to a flight enclosure. This is one of the big steps toward eventual release.
Recently a long-eared owl was taken in presenting a wing injury of unknown cause. No fractures were found in X-rays but there is still some impedance to the articulation of one wing. More observation and evaluation is in order. We don’t get in a lot of long-eared owls, and when we do, there is a lot of cell-phone photography going on as these little birds are extremely photogenic.
As noted above, Joe has been out for a couple of weeks and this being the week of Veteran’s Day, it left a notable hole in the schedule. Lots of programs were carried out around the area,beginning with a program at the Freedom Academy near Carefree on Tuesday. Many festivities were scheduled with Eagles to honor the veterans including a Veteran’s Day event on Wednesday in Goodyear along with the Arizona Birds of Prey Show at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, and a special Veterans’ appreciation gathering at the Terramar School in Happy Valley on Friday morning, all in addition to the Phoenix Summit Challenge on Saturday.
Another eagle handler who recently had some serious health issues was our own Max Besseler who prior to this season was the scheduler for the Education Team. Max has been out for several months and came to Liberty last week and put in some time working with Sonora out in Dr. Orr’s Flight Arena (front yard!) Welcome back Max! We all missed you (not just your lemon squares…!)
Weekly progress at the new Facility