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rat (or rodent) poisons contain an anti-coagulant property, which stops the blood from being able to clot. Other ingredients will have an effect on the veins and arteries of the animal, and this fatal combination causes the veins and arteries to collapse, and then for blood to seep out internally, unable to clot, leaving the animal to die a long and painful death — massive ongoing internal bleeding.
We’re told that rat poison makes the rodents thirsty, and then they then leave the house to go in search of water, but again, this rarely happens. Once the rat does start to feel a bit ill, it will simply return to its nest to lay down. If it gets too ill that it feels weak enough to collapse, it will just collapse where it is. If another animal were then to come across it, a cat, for example, the chances of secondary poisoning then increase, because that cat technically consumes the poison by way of the poisoned rat. It's a nasty cycle that can be incredibly destructive, and is just one reason why using poison to kill ANY kind of wild creature, including rats and mice, is a very bad idea.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does rat removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of rats - my main rat removal info guide.
Example rat trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Rat job blog - learn from great examples of rat jobs I've done.
rats in the attic - the steps to get them out.
Rats in the walls - what to do to solve the problem.