Island Rodent Management

Roof rats ( Rattus rattus ) are an invasive species that have established a population on Bald Head Island, NC. These rats have caused thousands of dollars of damage to homes and businesses. Residents fear that the non-native species will continue to cause damage to buildings and homes. Further, they have concerns about human health, deleterious impacts to tourism, and impacts to wildlife.

Click here for our fact sheet regarding rodent management strategies on BHI and how you can protect your home.  Want to help your renters remember to seal their trash at night so no critters get inside?  Stop by our Turtle Central Gift Shop for a free sticker to adhere to your trashcan.


Our Recommendations

Our Recommendations

Protecting Your Home

Protecting Your Home

  • Professional home inspection and sealing is best way to protect home from rodent invasion
  • Monthly inspections are warranted if home unoccupied for extended periods
  • Seal trash cans tightly
  • Notify renters of importance of trash can sealing
  • Trim trees around home perimeter to reduce home access paths for rodents
  • Reduce woodpile and debris clutter around home to eliminate rodent nests
  • Remove bird feeder if rats noticed on property
  • Keep native plants and habitats around home to promote predator space

Rat Facts

Rat Facts

  • Unfortunately, roof rats are impossible to eradicate from BHI
  • Rats are not direct health threats for BHI residents as of now, but DO NOT HANDLE rodent droppings or dead rats without proper gear (gloves) and proper cleanup (wash hands and equipment thoroughly)
  • Rats eat plants, insects, bird eggs, and sea turtle hatchlings
  • Trash attracts rats, and bait stations ineffective if garbage in vicinity

Rodenticide Facts

Rodenticide Facts

  • Some rodenticides have been linked to health threats for higher predators due to bioaccumulation.  Careful consideration of rodenticide chemicals is strongly advised.  Organizations with relevant rodenticide information include Fish and Wildlife Service, US EPA, and National Pesticide Information Center.
  • All pesticides should be handled with care.  The state of North Carolina requires the following label information for pesticides:  manufacturer’s brand name, percent active ingredient, EPA registration number, signal work, and use classification. 
  • Poison baits should be kept in locked storage and clearly marked as follows: poison identification (skull and crossbones), ‘POISON’ label of at least 1 inch, name and address of poison licensee, and the company of licensee.  

Resources

Resources

(2011). Diseases directly transmitted by rodents. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
(2011). Rat-bite Fever (RBF). Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
(2014). Leptospirosis. MedlinePlus.
 
Berny, P.J., Buronfosse, T., Buronfosse, F., Lamarque, F., Lorgue, G. (1997). Field evidence of secondary poisoning of foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and buzzards (Buteo buteo) by bromadiolone, a 4-year survey. Chemosphere, 35(8): 1817-1829.
 
Brakes, C.R. & Smith, R.H. (2005). Exposure of non-target small mammals to rodenticides: short-term effects, recovery and implications for secondary poisoning. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42: 118-128
 
Caut, S., Angulo, E., Courchamp, F. (2008). Dietary shift of an invasive predator: rats, seabirds and sea turtles. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45: 428-437
 
Coddou, A., Mills, H., Hamilton, N., Algar, D. (2014). Baiting effectiveness for introduced rats (Rattus sp.) on Christmas Island. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 30:54-59.
 
Cox, P.R. (1991). Environmental effects of rodenticide use [Abstract]. PhD Thesis. University of Reading, Reading, UK.
 
Daniels, D. (2013). Second generation anticoagulant rodenticide assessment [Memorandum]. Sacramento, CA: California Environmental Protection Agency Department of Pesticide Regulation.
 
Donlan, J. C., Gregg, H. R., Tershy, B. R., & Donald, C. A. (2003). Evaluating alternative rodenticides for island conservation: roof rat eradication from the San Jorge Islands, Mexico (Vol. 114, pp. 29-34). Biological Conservation: Elsevier.
 
Eason, C. T., & Spurr, E. B. (1995). Review of the toxicity and impacts of brodifacoum on non-target wildlife in New Zealand (Vol. 22, pp. 371-379). New Zealand Journal of Zoology: The Royal Society of New Zealand.
 
Gabriel, M.W., Woods, L.W., Poppenga, R., Sweitzer, R.A., Thompson, C., Matthews, S.M., Higley, J.M., Keller, S.M., Purcell, K., Barrett, R.H., Wengert, G.M., Sacks, B.N., Clifford, D.L. (2012). Anticoagulant Rodenticides on our Public and Community Lands: Spatial Distribution of Exposure and Poisoning of a Rare Forest Carnivore. PLoS ONE, 7(7).
 
Hosea, R.C. (2000). Exposure of non-target wildlife to anticoagulant rodenticides in California. Proc. 19th Vertebr. Pest Conf.
 
Howald, G., Donlan, C. J., Galvan, J. P., Russel, J. C., Parkes, J., Samaniego, A., . . . Tershy, B. (2007). Invasive Rodent Eradication on Islands (Vol. 21, pp. 1258-1268). Conservation Biology: Society for Conservation Biology.
 
Howald, G.R., Faulkner, K.R., Tershy, B., Keitt, B., Gellerman, H., Creel, E.M.,…Croll, D.A. (2005). Eradication of black rats from Anacapa Island: biological and social considerations. In Proceedings of the sixth California Island symposium (pp. 299-312). Institute for Wildlife Studies, Arcata.
 
Leung, L.K.P, & Clark, N.M. (2005). Bait avoidance and habitat use by the roof rat, Rattus rattus, in a piggery. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 55: 77-84.
 
Murray, M. (2011). Anticoagulant Rodenticide Exposure and Toxicosis in Four Species of Birds of Prey Presented to a Wildlife Clinic in Massachusetts, 2006--2010 [Abstract]. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 42.1: 88-97.
 
Towns, D.R., Atkinson, I.A.E., Daugherty, C.H. (2006). Have the harmful effects of introduced rats on islands been exaggerated? Biological Invasions, 8: 863-891
 
Valchev, I., Binev, R., Yordanova, V., Nikolov, Y. (2008). Anticoagulant Rodenticide Intoxication in Animals – A Review. Turkish Journal of Veterinary and Animal Science, 32(4): 237-243.