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Rodenticides, colloquially referred to as “rat poisons,” are mixtures of chemicals intended to exterminate rats. They are one of the most harmful compounds that are frequently discovered in homes. Historically, heavy metals such as arsenic were employed to reduce rat populations, but anticoagulants are now the most frequently used rodenticide in the twenty-first century.

rat poison types

When a physician suspects rodenticide poisoning, every attempt should be taken to identify the substance, including the package information (i.e., brand name, chemical name, signal phrase, and presence of a skull or crossbones on the label) (odor, appearance, color). This step may require professionals to return to the likely exposure site where the patient was last seen and seek rodenticide evidence. Poison control and/or a medical toxicologist should be contacted in cases of significant ingestion. What are rat poisons? What are rat poison types?


Due to the diverse range of poisons employed as rodenticides, symptoms will vary according to the toxin consumed. On their labels, rodenticides are frequently classified according to their toxicity. Thallium, sodium monofluoroacetate (fluoroacetate), strychnine, zinc phosphide, aluminium phosphide, elemental phosphorus, arsenic, and barium carbonate are considered “dangerous” or very poisonous rodenticides. Tetramethylene disulfotetramine (TETS, tetramine), aldicarb, alpha-chloralose, and pyrinuron are severe poisons that are rarely used or have been outlawed.

Alpha-naphthyl thiourea (ANTU) and cholecalciferol are two “warning” or hazardous rodenticides. Anticoagulants (superwarfarins, warfarin), norbormide, bromethalin, and red squill are all considered “caution” or less harmful rodenticides.


According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ 2017 Annual Report, about 10,000 poisonings occur each year in the United States.

With the exception of strychnine and zinc phosphide, nearly half of these exposures occur in children under the age of six. Anticoagulants were the most frequently reported cause of death, accounting for 5,186 cases, 182 of which were caused by warfarin-type rodenticides. Bromethalin was the second most often reported rodenticide, with 1,196 cases reported. The outcomes were, for the most part, benign. Seven incidents involved significant results, but only two were deaths. You can contact rats exterminators near me whenever you want to get rid of rats.


Clinical manifestations vary according to the type of rodenticide consumed. The following is a quick overview of the pathophysiology and symptoms associated with common rodenticides:


This material is a tasteless, odourless powder that is absorbed through inhalation or skin contact. It acts by displacing potassium from sodium-potassium-adenosine triphosphatase and the sulfhydryl or thiol group of mitochondrial membranes, so interfering with the Krebs cycle and oxidative phosphorylation and thereby diminishing energy production.

Exposure in the Short Term:

Prolonged Exposure:

SMFA is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless powder. In the United States, livestock is protected against other wildlife by wearing collars infused with SMFA. Both fluoroacetamide and SMFA act as an acetate analog and irreversibly block the Krebs cycle by converting coenzyme A (CoA) to fluoroacetate CoA, resulting in citrate buildup. This compound forms a combination with calcium. As a result, cellular aerobic metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, gluconeogenesis, and the urea cycle are impaired.

30 minutes to 20 hours after onset of symptoms

When dissolved in water, this substance produces an odorless, white powder that becomes bitter. Frequently referred to as pink pills. Strychnine toxicity manifests as involuntary muscular contraction as a result of competing inhibition of glycine receptors in postsynaptic and motor neurons.

10 to 20 minutes after the onset of symptoms

When this chemical is exposed to water, it produces phosphine gas, which has a distinct rotting fish stench. Northern India and Iran are more prone to poisoning. When the toxin is swallowed, gastric acid turns it into phosphine gas, which is absorbed into the circulation via the gastrointestinal tract; however, this toxin can also be disseminated via inhalation or skin absorption. The cytochrome C oxidase system is inhibited by the toxin.

30 minutes after the onset of symptoms

When exposed to oxygen, this element emits a slight garlic odor and may shine. Phosphorus is available in two colors: red and white (yellow). The former is used to conduct matches. The latter is an active ingredient in rodenticides. White phosphorus is extremely poisonous, producing local and systemic damage. When consumed, it directly damages tissue due to the presence of phosphoric acid and phosphorus pentoxide on the local level. Additionally, phosphorous binds to calcium in the bloodstream, resulting in severe hypocalcemia.

Gastroenteritis Acute

Arsenic is an extremely poisonous inorganic chemical with an unclear mode of action. The inhibition of hexokinase in glycolysis, the inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase in the Krebs cycle, which results in reduced cell respiration and ATP depletion, and the production of sulfhydryl compounds, which results in widespread vasodilation, are all hypotheses. If sufficient intake has occurred, a garlic odor may be noticed on the patient’s breath.

1 to 3 hours after onset of symptoms

Unlike its insoluble sibling, barium sulfate, which is used as a radiographic contrast medium, this chemical readily dissolves in water and is extremely poisonous. The barium ion prevents potassium from being drained from cells, resulting in hypokalemia.


Originating in Latin America, this chemical is also known as “tres pasitos,” referring to the three small steps mice take before succumbing almost instantly to the poison. It acts as a strong inhibitor of cholinesterase, resulting in a cholinergic toxidrome.



The mechanism of action is unknown but is comparable to barbiturates in that it acts as a central nervous system depressant.




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