How Does Rat and Mouse Poison Work?

Rats and mice represent one of the most bothersome pest infestations for homeowners the world over. Rats, in particular, are vectors for disease and pass germs into homes in a similar capacity as cockroaches. With the recent rise of the bubonic plague, (yes, the Black Death plague), An evaluation of how rat and mice poison works is important to know when figuring out how to prevent and kill problematic and dangerous rodents.

How does rat and mouse poison work? Rat and mouse poisons act as anticoagulants when ingested by rodents. They prevent rodent blood from clotting, which in turn causes internal bleeding within the rodent which leads to death.

When you hear references to rat and mouse poisons, the main chemical used to kill rodents are anticoagulants. Diphacinone and bromadiolone are two anticoagulants that prevent blood from clotting within rodents. These anticoagulants can take a few days to cause death within rats and mice, so it is crucially important to continue to refill the trap with bait when you notice it missing.

how does rat poison work

How Anticoagulants Kill Rats and Mice

Rats and mice have very sensitive internal systems, even though they are in fact mammals. When eliminating insects from your home, you may notice that the process is a bit easier and this is because insects are completely insect driven with only tiny, instinctive brains. Rodents are a bit more clever and therefore it would not be beneficial to try and use chemicals targeting insects to smell-sensitive rodents.

Therefore, chemicals that are actually quite common to human beings are the main types of poisons used to kill rodents. Diphacinone, bromadiolone, and brodifacoum are anticoagulants that are hidden inside of an attractive bait substance that should be placed in areas where rodents frequent. These chemicals slowly break down blood clotting inside of the rodents, which causes their blood to poison their systems, resulting in death.

As previously mentioned, rodents are mammals, which means their brains are more in tune with logic and thinking. Strong insecticides will usually cause rodents to simply regurgitate the poison and are therefore ineffective. Anticoagulants poison the rodent’s system within 3-6 days, so it is important to remember that you will need to put some work into maintaining the bait to ensure rodent mortality.

rat dying after eating poison

How Long Does it Take a Mouse to Die After Eating Poison?

Anticoagulant rodent poisons are not like traditional poisons, which are usually repellent to rodents. Anticoagulants will take time to poison a rodent’s system, so it is important to have patience during the process and be sure to refill the bait once you notice it missing. Anticoagulants generally take 2-3 days to kill mice and 3-6 days to kill rats.

No exact time table can be given because rodent’s systems may vary depending on different factors. Rodents can be picky about certain types of bait, so do not be surprised if you notice the bait has not been eaten in a day or two. Also, the larger the rodent, the more time it will take for internal bleeding to completely poison the rodent.

After eating poison, will rats and mice die in my walls?

This is actually one problem that comes with using poison to kill rats and mice. Rodents will typically hide from view once they have infested a home and their favorite hiding places just so happen to be inside of walls and in attics. Once a rodent eats the poison and the internal bleeding process begins, they will likely die in their hiding places.

There is no surefire way to prevent this from happening. If accessing these structures is difficult or impossible, then you may want to consider glue traps or snap traps to prevent the foul odor that comes from decomposing rodents. Alternatively, you can try and flush the rodents out of their hiding places and then seal and close any openings to walls, but this will then have the rodents swarming your common areas.

What Attracts Rodents to My House?

Rats and mice are located virtually in all habitable areas of the world. They usually find their way into homes based upon their sense of smell towards food, as well as their need for an adequate and safe shelter from predators. Much like cockroaches, it is absolutely crucial to keep your home clean and sanitary to avoid any stray rodents from turning into a full-blown infestation.

You can also ensure that any and all openings, even the tiniest of cracks, are sealed and closed to prevent rodents from finding a way in. Keep garbage cans far away from your house and frequently spray them out. Once you get rodents, it is difficult to get rid of them, so always be sure to keep a tidy home and ensure that all crevices into your home are sealed.

How Do You Use Rat and Mouse Poison?

Rat and mouse poison is generally known as ‘rodent bait’ and needs to be placed in areas where rodent activity is most frequent and has been observed. You also need to ensure that these bait strips are accessible, as you will need to refill the bait periodically. You can keep using the bait until you observe no more rodent activity in your home, this usually means you have eliminated the infestation.

Are There Any Rodent Poisons That Are Non-Anticoagulant?

Anticoagulant rodent poison is the most common and preferred type of rodent poison. There are non-anticoagulant rodent poisons available and the most popular are strychnine, bromethalin, and sodium fluoroacetate. The most important fact about these types of poisons worth mentioning is that they are extremely toxic and deadly to rodents…and human beings. Anticoagulant rat poisons are safe to humans and large pets, and with patience, they are lethal to rodents.

Related Questions

Can Rodents Give Me the Plague?

First and foremost, yes, rodents are the number one animal that passes the flea-borne bubonic plague to human beings. In the medieval era, fleas, which carry the bacteria yersinia pestis, regularly bite rodents who in turn passed the disease to human beings via unsanitary living conditions and rodent bites. The bubonic plague still exists in every country in the world to this day, and although there are now vaccines and antibiotics to treat it, the disease can destroy the human immune system so rapidly, that death is still a result of the plague.

What Are Good Rat and Mouse Poisons to Buy?

If you are dealing with a severe rodent infestation, your best bet would be to buy a strong anticoagulant bait rodenticide. JT Eaton 709-PN Bait Block Rodenticide is one of the most effective anticoagulant baits on the market. This product contains 144 bait blocks for a reasonable price that can be stored for any future infestations.

If you do choose to opt for a non-anticoagulant poison, it is important to follow the label instructions and safety precautions very closely. JT Eaton 754 Top Gun Pellet Place Packs Rodenticide contains the powerful neurotoxin bromethalin and with 128 poison blocks, this product is an excellent value from a trusted pest company. The neurotoxin in this product will work to immediately kill any rodents that ingest it, usually within minutes of consumption.

In Summary

Rat and mouse poison works to prevent blood clots in rodents who ingest it, causing internal bleeding and death within a few days. Alternatively, non-anticoagulant rodenticides work by poisoning the central nervous system of rodents, but these types of chemicals are highly dangerous to humans and pets. Rodents are attracted to food and shelter, so to prevent a possible infestation in your home, it is important to prevent clutter and food residue.

Sealing any cracks and crevices around the home is also a way to prevent them from entering your home. Administering rodent poison is an easy process that involves placing the bait blocks in areas where rodents frequent. Rat and mouse poison is a very effective way to rid your home of disease-carrying rodents.


Plague: 4th Case Reported in China, according to Taiwan CDC. (2019). Retrieved from


Leave a Comment