RSPCA Cymru has issued a warning about the use of legal poisons, amid fears two hedgehogs may have died on Anglesey after consuming rat poison.
Two hedgehogs were found dead in the Beaumaris area on the North Wales island. They were found on 18 July, with the incident reported to the RSPCA a few days later.
Both had their mouths open, with blood coming out, but otherwise appeared in good condition. Their bodies were found on The Pines, in Penmon.
It is understood some local residents are using legal poison for localised vermin control, prompting a warning from RSPCA Cymru about the unintended impact on wild animals like hedgehogs.
Rodenticide poisons are commonly used to control rat populations, but RSPCA Cymru is concerned both to the obvious suffering these caused rodents, as well as the possibility of unintended or secondary poisoning.
Those using rodenticide poison are legally required to take all reasonable precautions to prevent access to the poison by domestic and wild animals.
RSPCA inspector Andrew Broadbent said: “Sadly, these two hedgehogs were found dead, and looked as if they may have succumb to a poisonous substance.
“We understand rat poison is being used locally, and it appears these two hedgehogs may have consumed it. They were found very near to each other, on a Beaumaris path.
“Concerns are heightened as there are a number of hedgehog families thought to be living in the local area – so we’re reminding the public as to the potentially fatal, unintended consequences of legal poisons to other wild animals.
“In addition to these possible unintended consequences to other animals, poisons can cause rodents suffering; animals may show outward signs of pain and distress and it may take days before the anticoagulant takes full effect; the poisons are designed to be slow-acting because these animals are ‘neophobic’, meaning they have a deep fear of new things or changes.
“The RSPCA produces guidance to members of the public on living with rats, including guidance on control, which we’d urge anyone affected to explore.”
Guidance can be found on our website at: www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/livingwith.
The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) has also produced a Code of Best Practice for Rodent Control and the Safe Use of Rodenticides – this document outlines the legislation in place governing the use of rodenticide poison and works to ensure that rodenticides are used correctly and in ways that will minimise their exposure of wildlife.
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