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Poisoned Bobcat
updated: Jan 23, 2013, 12:00 PM

By Julia J. Di Sieno

On Sunday night our rescue hotline received another call for help. A jogger found this female bobcat shaking under an oak tree in Santa Ynez. While on scene our team witnessed many squirrel bait traps littered on nearly each land parcel. Despite our heroic efforts, treating our suffering bobcat she died early this morning.

This is our third bobcat, as well as many hawks that died from the same general area in Santa Ynez. Our findings have been reported to proper authorities.

PLEASE educate your neighbors and friends!


Trade Names: Ialon, Havoc, D-Con mice and rat traps Mechanism of Action: second-generation anticoagulant. Absorbed through the gut and inhibits the vitamin K-dependent steps in the synthesis of multiple clotting factors. Death usually occurs through gastric hemorrhage. Metabolism: brodifacoum is retained in the tissues at high rates, sometimes remaining in organ systems during the entire lifetime of an exposed animal. In a study that measured the retention of radioactive brodifacoum in the livers of single-dosed rats, 34% of the single dose is found in the liver after 13 weeks, and 11% of the dose remained in the liver for 104 weeks, approaching the normal lifespan of a rat (U.S. EPA MRID 42007502). Very highly toxic to mammals and birds.

Brodifacoum is extremely dangerous to birds through secondary exposure, especially raptors feeding on poisoned rats and mice. Hundreds of avian and other wildlife mortalities have been reported across North America.

Brodifacoum is absorbed through the gut and works by preventing the normal clotting of blood, leading to fatal hemorrhage. It is highly effective at small doses - usually a rodent ingests a fatal dose after a single feeding and will die within 4-5 days. The greatest risk to wildlife from brodifacoum is secondary poisoning. Rodents continue to eat poisoned bait so at the time of death the amount of brodifacoum present in their bodies is many times the amount required to kill them. Non-target wildlife such as predators and scavengers may then consume rodents that have ingested large doses of brodifacoum. It can take as little as one poisoned rodent, or a predator may accumulate enough brodifacoum after consuming several poisoned prey items, to induce life-threatening or fatal effects. A single dose of brodifacoum can depress blood clotting for months in some animals, including birds. Stress or slight wounds incurred in the fi eld, such as small scratches that normally occur when a raptorial bird captures its prey, are often suffi cient to cause a fatal hemorrhage. Raptor species maintain hunting territories that may include areas near agricultural or other industrial and urban buildings where rodent control is ongoing. Local avian predators may consume rodents living in and around these structures. However, the death of such a predator will most likely occur some distance away from treated sites, making it diffi cult to observe patterns of mortality attributable to any one cause. Furthermore, birds that have been exposed to lethal levels of brodifacoum may be more likely to die from other causes such as accidents or predation. Most mortality undoubtedly goes undiscovered. For these reasons, the true impact on birds of many pesticies, including brodifacoum is obscured.

More on Pesticides:

1) Widely used pesticides are not particularly specific for the "target" organism. Such pesticides can cause unintended and unwanted effects to "non-target" resources. Species can be exposed to pesticides by many routes, with the simplest form being direct contact or ingestion.

2) Animals can ingest pesticides indirectly through contaminated foods such as leafy material, seeds, and prey (including insects and other animals), or by water contamination through precipitation and irrigation (puddles, drinking water, bathing water or breeding).

3) Aquatic organisms can be exposed to pesticides entering water bodies through runoff and groundwater infi ltration. Measurable amounts of pesticides have been detected in rainwater.

4) Indirect effects of pesticides can also have signifi cant implications to animal species. For example, herbicide drift can harm plants and consequently damage the habitat upon which an animal species depends. A given pesticide can be relatively non-toxic to an animal species, but may be lethal to its prey or food plants. Similarly, an insecticide can indirectly harm an endangered plant that may depend upon a specifi c insect pollinator.

5) Wildlife, for example, are more susceptible to pesticide effects during nesting, nursing of young or during times of low food availability.

6) Primary exposure includes eating, drinking, preening of feathers, skin contact or breathing of vapors.

7) Secondary exposure occurs from scavenging on contaminated food, such as exposed carcasses, or feeding upon insects. If pesticide levels are high enough, wildlife often die suddenly.

8) Not as readily observed in wildlife are the sublethal, or non-fatal, consequences of ingesting pesticides. Behavior changes, weight loss, impaired or unsuccessful reproduction, high offspring mortality or deformed embryos are results of sublethal exposure to pesticides. Affected wildlife become easy prey for predators, while many lose their ability to adapt to environmental changes.

9) Pesticides can reduce insects that may be important food sources for young birds and fi sh, and habitat is similarly reduced when vegetation is destroyed -- a critical factor for small wildlife populations already stressed by insufficient habitat.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 366577 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:09 PM

Maybe there could be a warning to viewers before you post a photo of a dead animal? That would be kind.


 COMMENT 366579 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:13 PM

Very STRONG posting to get the point across. Should be very effective in bringing awareness to BIG problem.


 COMMENT 366581P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:16 PM

Awwkkk...what a tragedy.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:17 PM

I hope the sob that did this falls in a Wood Chipper scum bags.


 COMMENT 366583 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:20 PM

The headline said "Poisoned Bobcat." I wasn't expecting a happy picture. Sleeping poisoned bobcat probably looks pretty similar to dead bobcat.

Very informative. I had a dog die suddenly (several years ago now) and I recall the veterinarian monitoring his vitamin K levels. We couldn't prove it, but we're pretty sure he had eaten a poisoned squirrel from a nearby golf course.


 COMMENT 366584P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:20 PM

Thank you for publishing this story. I hope it makes a difference. The pain of our witnessing is nothing compared to what these poor animals suffer.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:25 PM

Thank you for this, hope the graphic photos can serve as a wake-up for people in denial about their use of poison baits for rodents. And if you don't care about bobcats or other wildlife, imagine that was your cat or dog dying of a digestive tract hemorrhage.


 COMMENT 366587 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:30 PM

Thank you for endeavoring to raise awareness about poisons that humans inflict on the environment. What comes around goes around.

There is no such thing as a rodent problem. When there are too many rodents what you have a dearth of cats and/or terriers.

If there are too many squirrels then the problem is a dearth of raptors. Oh yeah, we killed many of the raptors off with DDT...


 COMMENT 366590 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:38 PM

So sad!


 COMMENT 366593 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:46 PM

At this rate it seems like we will kill off all of the predators in our ecosystem. Maybe coyotes will survive but if they are eating poisoned squirrels then maybe not. I've stopped using poison for the gophers in my yard so maybe that will help.

On another topic, can we change the animal on the state flag to something that we actually allow to live in the state?


 COMMENT 366597P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:50 PM

Seeing death (especially this graphic) is a strong image and I hope the individual(s) that did this sees it so it might change their ways. So sad.


 COMMENT 366598 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 12:51 PM

It's not exciting at all but I installed drought tolerant landscaping on my property years ago. I wanted a clean, easy to care for set-up. I have a large, kinda rural place. I would never use poison because of bobcats and other pretty creatures that like to stroll through my yard. Very sad to see this picture but it is certainly a testament to the damage we humans can do.


 COMMENT 366607 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:04 PM

This is why you shoot squirels with a gun

Poisoning is a incredibly stupid and lazy solution


 COMMENT 366609 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:06 PM

Yikes.... tragic and heart wrenching.

This posting is totally appropriate and relevant especially in areas close to rural communities where human impact on the environment is most felt.

6577.... I am sorry for your discomfort but you should not blame others for your failure to note the obvious warnings.


 COMMENT 366611P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:06 PM

Thanks for posting this. I emailed it to a couple of association board members in my condo complex, which has used rat bait traps in the past.


 COMMENT 366613 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:10 PM

This is very sad. I hope everyone who uses poisons that can be ingested by unintended victims (domesticated or wild), takes note of this tragedy and makes changes to the ways they eradicate unwanted "pests". This sort of thing should never happen - it's truly a shame.


 COMMENT 366614 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:11 PM

Yes, lets try and stop this! On my drive from Santa Barbara to Ventura I have been seeing a lot of hawks dead on the freeway. I thought it odd that there were so many. Ive counted at least 5 hawks. People please be aware of our wildlife!


 COMMENT 366621 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:27 PM

366614 I don't know if this applies to your observation, but a lot of times people litter food out the window while driving, saying things like, "It's biodegradable." In fact, it attracts wild animals to the roadway where they are killed. Hawks have probably noticed there are rodents and things attracted to the roadway for the same reason and then they get killed by cars just as well.


 COMMENT 366623 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:30 PM

Senstive people disband! It isn't about YOU. It's about the simplicity of placing posion all over the place because of a squirl and facing the consequences. Stop killing our animals RANCHERS or we'll have the Chumash buy you all out and turn the valley into one big Casino.


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:51 PM

6577 - the headline and story were enough of a warning I thought. What kind of a picture did you expect?


 COMMENT 366637 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:58 PM

Thank you for this. We live in a Noleta tract home and it breaks my heart what has happened to us... we have lost 7 pet rabbits from rat poisoning over the years because some neighbor (we don't know who) puts it out instead of traps. Each has died excruciatingly painful deaths.


 COMMENT 366638 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 01:58 PM

Thanks, Julia, for posting this! Are there any poisons for rodents that are safe for (other) wildlife? Lenz has said that the modern varieties _are_ safe; I was skeptical; do you know if any are safe? (Parts of Santa Barbara city are overrun with rats, eating oranges, tangerines off the backyard trees and vegetables in the garden.)


 COMMENT 366640 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 02:02 PM

If you can't look at a dead cat, I suggest you pack some bags, leave the Santa Barbara Bubble, and take a nice, long stoll around the planet. I think you might have a whole new outlook on life (and death) when you return.


 COMMENT 366641 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 02:04 PM

607- If you use a gun, use 22 cal shot loads, NOT bullets. Bullets, including air rifle, can ricochette and have considerable range. Shot has neither potential and is much quieter than a bullet.
It is ironic that the critters and birds that get poisoned are often the ones that eat vermin.


 STRAY agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 02:09 PM

If you lay out poison for the prey, you poison the predator (bobcat, skunk, owl, racoon, hawk) and you poison the cat and dog, too.


 COMMENT 366653P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 02:21 PM

If you have gophers, it's really easy to get rid of them. Pee down one of their holes. Got rid of mine and my neighbors like that. Oh, and having a mean ol' 3-legged cat helps too!


 COMMENT 366655 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 02:26 PM

MTNDRIVER you are so right. The graphic photos serve to help. A neighbor has, for years, set out bait - for cats because he's convinced they are killing off the birds. I can tell you, it's been effective in killing cats AND owls AND hawks......We have a pair of nesting owls and from their pellets left on my driveway they are far, far more responsible for killing birds. I've disected many of these pellets and have found mostly bird parts. The sweet Orioles, doves, etc, are being depleted. This ignoramous neighbor, in his zeal to protect, is killing off much more than he thinks.


 SACJON agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 02:37 PM

655 - your neighbor is killing people's pets to protect birds?! You should report him/her ASAP! Cats kill birds - that's life. Sorry, but you don't kill cats to protect their prey.

I sincerely hope you have reported this neighbor!


 COMMENT 366672 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 03:18 PM

614, perhaps they are owls. I lived on a large estate and the owner used rat bait. He was so careless, his dog ended up eating it. Dog survived.


 COMMENT 366675 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 03:36 PM

Quad Lix- Yes I have thought to be reason as well but when I read this it just made me think otherwise.

Either way our wildlife needs to be protected.


 COMMENT 366687 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 03:53 PM

Thank you for posting OP.. Hopefully some will get educated outta this loss of life..


 COMMENT 366689P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 03:56 PM

How very very sad for one of gods great cats.


 COMMENT 366691 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 04:00 PM

Very sad. Us humans have a lot to learn.

Thank you for bringing awareness to this important problem so our wildlife can be better protected. I appreciate it.

However hard to look at the photos are, it's the only way those who use poison bait will see the harm they're doing.


 MICRODOC agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 04:10 PM

Poison just doesn't make sense. It's a cruel punishment for innocent rodents. They have every right to try to survive in our world. Let the bobcats, coyotes, hawks, owls etc. do what they were born to do...


 COMMENT 366719 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 05:10 PM

So tragic. This stuff should be outlawed for the use it's being used for in larger scales like this. It's not right.


 COMMENT 366728P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 05:42 PM

Thank you for posting. Could you do us a favor, and also post a shorter version of the horrors of this chemical? I'd like to have it handy so when I see any gardener or pest control person putting down poison, I can hand it out. Sometimes, I get to talking to homeowners too, and they don't realize this. As printed, this is a little longer than I think people would read (but I am glad it's here). Something very to the point would be great to have.


 COMMENT 366733 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 05:47 PM

I wanted to add that one uplifting thing about this thread is that no one started arguing and bickering. We are thankfully united in our disgust and distress.
How about if we all aim to talk to FIVE friends, neighbors and family members, and ask them to share the information with five MORE people? I think this is how change happens.


 COMMENT 366742P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 06:39 PM

Thank you for posting this. This is a sad, but tremendously educational and illustrative post.

I hope that rather than take offense to this post, people will recognize that this is a reality that they have influence over.


 COMMENT 366746 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 06:45 PM

Who can we contact about those using these poisons? We know someone who is doing so who has been asked politely to stop explaining how dangerous it is to other animals but they aren't very nice people and really could care less about the wildlife we are so fortunate to have here because of our creek. Gophers have decimated my gardens and yard but I would never use poisons because of their downstream effects. This is just so sad.


 COMMENT 366752P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 06:59 PM

Frankly, we have to have these poisons banned. Period! No exceptions!


 COMMENT 366755 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 07:09 PM

Julia, your work means so much to me and so many others in Santa Barbara County. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for doing the emotionally draining and difficult work that you do. It means the world to so many of us, and you are our champion.


 COMMENT 366760P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 07:38 PM

What's up with the Santa Ynez Valley? How could this be acceptable?


 COMMENT 366764P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 07:55 PM

Microdoc: it's not a question of right of rodents to exist. There are no coyotes, owls, hawks (or few) in urban Santa Barbara backyards. Rats proliferate there, beyond the capability of most cats, including feral cats. Most homeowners would prefer to feed the wild birds rather than the rats, would like to have tomatoes rather than feed the rats, would like to have backyard fruits, instead of feeding the rats who eat the oranges, tangerines and avocados.

I do not use poisons but I do understand why people do so. There are reportedly poisons that do not injure wildlife - or dogs/cats; I am hoping to find out if that's so.


 COMMENT 366777P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 08:38 PM

Thank you for posting this. Our landcape designer educated us about the dangers of these poisons; the more people know, the better.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 08:58 PM

Poor little baby I hope god was holding her when she passedPoor Baby so sad...


 UNCLEBILLY agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 10:03 PM

I manage a large property near summer land. When rodent activity is detected, I use cheap and very effective wire gopher traps, Battery powered zappers for rats, mice,and voles. A Have-a-Heart trap for rabbits(legally I am not allowed to displace the rabbit, go figure) I built an owl house. I see bobcat, fox, owls coyotes, hawks, deer regularly. Poison sucks!


 ANIMALLISTNER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-23 11:37 PM

Roger, This poor girl managed to eat a little, while treated with Sub Q fluids, Vit K, Revolution, etc. We carefully monitered her every hour. Mechanical gopher traps, and Zappers are also life altering to our native wildlife. We have rescued so many foxes, bobcats, etc. dying from sepsis, from mechanical snap traps. Please be sure to set traps deep, to help spare apex wildlife from getting snapped, then trying to chew off a paw or limb. We have many more graphic photo's.

If you or someone you suspect is neglegent with the use of ANY rodenticide, PLEASE all our Agricultural Commissioners Office immediatly 805 681-5600.
Comment: EDDIEKD
wanted to add that one uplifting thing about this thread is that no one started arguing and bickering. We are thankfully united in our disgust and distress.
How about if we all aim to talk to FIVE friends, neighbors and family members, and ask them to share the information with five MORE people? I think this is how change happens. Yes, yes, yes!
----------------------------------------------------------------More info. to digest:

NATURAL RODENT DETERRENTS 1) Rodents and especially mice are allergic to oil of peppermint and will not frequent a property where they can smell
it. If you place a few drops of oil of peppermint on a piece of cotton and place it anywhere you feel that there is a
mouse problem, you will never see them again. Use only the “real” oil of peppermint, not peppermint extract, for the
best results. You can also plant peppermint in your garden to keep all types of rodents away from the plants. They are
also repelled by camphor and pine tar.
2) There are a few ground covers that rodents do not like to live in or be around. These are adjuga, carpet bugle, cape
weed, chamomile, Indian rock strawberry and creeping speed well.
3) Hire some barn owls to address your rodent problem by installing some nesting boxes. A family of 6 barn owls can
consume as many as 16 or more rats in one night.
4) Rodents will avoid certain plants that give off repulsive scents. These include daffodils, hyancinths and scillia.
5) Gopher purge (uphorbia lathyrus) is a plant that contains pods each containing three seeds. The plant is a natural
repellent to gophers and moles and all other burrowing animals. The roots are so poisonous to them as well as to
humans and it will eliminate the problem.
6) Keep all trash + food tightly contained, woodpiles and debri picked up, drainage pipes clean and fi ll the ends with
chicken wire to prevent rats from entering and setting up house, also remove bird feeders until the problem is under control. Natural Pest Control Internet Sites: Critter-repellent.com... [ more ]


 MICRODOC agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 06:59 AM

I understand your situation, but poison isn't the answer. There are natural solutions. See what ANIMALLISTNER wrote.


 COMMENT 366824P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 07:09 AM

Broadifacoum is what was used on and around (tidal pools) Anacapa Island. So many birds, reptiles and endemic mice ended up as "incidental kills." Who knows what this similar- to-DDT toxin did to the tide pool inhabitants and fishes, molluscs, etc.

Too bad people didn't get the memo on that one . . .


 COMMENT 366846 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 07:39 AM

what's the issue with the squirrels? Are there that many of them and are they that much of a problem?


 COMMENT 366871 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 08:22 AM


Re ground squirrels. Their tunnel networks can seriously undermine slopes. If your lot is sloped, it can affect a house foundation, especially after heavy rain.

Animals that burrow and tunnel can cause horses and cows to become lame by tripping in the holes.

This does not justify poisoning, but they can be a serious nuisance.


 COMMENT 366939 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 10:04 AM

@641, regarding use of shot - please make sure it is NOT lead shot - if you hit an animal and then are not able to recover the body, then the hawk, bobcat, or other predator who does get it is at high risk for lead poisoning. This is one of the major problems facing our condors - deer hunters using buckshot. I agree that regular .22 rounds travel a long ways, but maybe lower power loads? I haven't bought any in CA in a while, not sure how available they are here.

As far as poisons go, I do not use any form of poison - for gophers and ground squirrels, I use these handy sonic stakes - they run off batteries, and were incredibly effective. For insects (mainly ants), anything from cheap white chalk (just like we used in school) to peppermint oil. Anything else can usually be handled by changing storage or trash habits. No excuse at any time for use of poison - there are way too many alternatives.


 EDSUP agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 10:05 AM

Thank you animallistner! Excellent info!


 COMMENT 366958 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 10:31 AM

Ooouuuuch my heart hurts to think what this sweet animal went through. Wise up people, don't use poisons in your yard. Thanks to those who tried to save her, you are heros. I don't have the stomach for the kind of work you do.


 COMMENT 366976P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 11:10 AM

I live in San Roque and we have a barn owl who comes by nightly, a phone pole frequented by hawks, and coyotes in the street from time to time. We also have lots of neighborhood cats who visit us to check on our gophers. Or maybe it's the catnip. We also have possums, raccoons and skunks at night. And we have our own old cat, who likes to watch. I'm pretty satisfied with our natural pest control opportunities.


 COMMENT 367281 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 08:55 AM

Can someone tell county parks how to rid the bates beach lawn of gophers! It's so pockmarked that anyone could easily turn an ankle or worse. It was completely re-done a few years ago but the parks dept. doesn't maintain it.


 COMMENT 367644 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-26 08:40 AM



 COMMENT 367771 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-26 02:13 PM

Maybe I missed the part that explained why they thought poison was involved in the bobcat's condition. But this cat looks exactly like both of my housecats that lived to be over 20 years old. Near the end, they became very thin and feeble and they had the choicest of food whenever they needed it. Not like a wild animal who must hunt to survive. Could this poor bobcat just have been at the end of it's natural life?


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