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19 November 2008
Circle of Death→[More:]Rat eats poison. Cat eats rat. How much poison does the cat get? Cat is much bigger so the dosing for the cat is smaller than for the rat. Enough to make cat sick? I'd imagine. Enough to kill cat?
I put out some of those yummy mice & rat death-cookies. "Out" in this case is in my detached shed. No openings large enough for felines or racoons.
One rat down, n to go, but one of them tried to make it all the way up my driveway before collapsing. Got me wondering what might happen if some other critter had gotten to it before I could dispose of the corpse?
I wonder if there is a "died badly" smell that animals can detect so they stay away?
I believe there is, trinity8-director. We have stray cats that eat all number of birds and squirrels, from what I can see, but we still have the occasional squirrel carcass that just sits there until I notice it a week later doing yardwork, and it doesn't seem to have been touched.
I assume these are old or diseased squirrels that couldn't make their last jump. But the cats seem to know not to eat the corpse.
To some degree it's a problem of bioaccumulation. Some poisons aren't flushed from the body. So if a cat eats one rat that has eaten poison, and the cat's mass is sufficiently larger than the rat's mass that the poison doesn't reach toxic levels, the cat will probably survive by flushing the poison out gradually through its filtering systems.
But if the poison bioaccumulates, and the cat's systems can't flush the poision rapidly enough, then as the cat continues to eat more poisoned rats, it will eventually harbor enough poison to bring about its own death.
This is a huge problem in fisheries and seafood, because before actually dying of the poisons themselves, fish get eaten by bigger predator fish and the poison (things like mercury that are dangerous to humans) just migrates up the food chain...bioaccumulating in some our favorite fish, like tuna and sword. The doses of poison in those fish are quite large, as they've been biomagnified.
Biomagnification was the major factor in the DDT threat to eagles, which is why eagles were placed on the endangered list.