What Happens To Poisoned Rats?

Where Rats Go To Die

What happens to rats once they are poisoned?

Rats and other rodents carry disease, cause damage to physical structures and may have adverse effects on wildlife. So you have three major reasons to control them, but how?


A Desiccated Rat Under The Floor

Common Control Methods (professional and amateur)

Most poisons are anticoagulant in action. This means that the affected rodents will crave water as their circulating fluid volume begins to fall. They have an urge to drink, they need a water source. This often comes from badly maintained and blocked guttering, leaking pipework, faulty taps, kitchen sinks or water bowls for your pets.


The Main methods of rat control are:

  1. Trap and Kill (trap and release is illegal in the UK)
  2. Chemical Control - Poisons - agents that when consumed in such quantity, destroy life.
  3. Get a cat or Dog (some cats and dogs are rubbish at hunting!)
  4. Proofing and maintenance - Prevent access to areas and resources.
Whatever the method of control, the result is often the same - dead rodents.

What's the worst that could happen?

  1. They die in the gutter - decaying bodies full of maggots block gutters - Result = maggots falling from the sky. Very unpleasant, surprisingly common.
  2. They die in the loft or wall cavities - Result = the immediate area, will stink of death until the body is retrieved or fly larvae get the chance to consume it. After a couple of weeks, a swarm of flies will temporarily appear and disappear. That's when the moths and beetles move in to deal with the skin and fur.
  3. They go next door to die - Also common.
  4. They die under a floor void. This is when people regret having laminate flooring and too much furniture. The smell can make the main living areas unlivable until the body is retrieved or the smell has gone. This means lifting or cutting inspection points into floors.
  5. They go back into the sewer - with over 80% of rodent problems coming from the sewers it may come as no surprise that they would go back there.
  6. They escape outdoors - If you have a hole in the external structure, rats will leave the property where they came in.
  7. The rats have nested - the juvenile young in the nest will die and can cause a terrible smell.
  8. The toilet - Rats in homes often try to get water from toilets, where the lid has been left up. The rat will be found alive or dead in the toilet.
  9. Traps not secured with screws or wire will be dragged off by dying rats and squirrels.
  10. Glue boards - often require humane dispatch by hand - not nice!
In warm weather, the carcass will be full of maggots within 72 hours. In cold weather, very few flying insects will be active enough to deal with the rodent, so in the winter months, the smell can last for many weeks.

Bristol Pest Control - WaspKill UK - Learn more about rats, mice and squirrels with Simon Berenyi