THERE are calls for rat and mice bait that’s banned for general public sale in the US, Canada and Europe to be taken off Australian shelves to save native birds of prey.

Birdlife Australia has started a petition to bring attention to the danger of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), available in products in Australian supermarkets but banned overseas.

The toxic bait acts as a blood thinner to rodents so they don’t feel sick for a while after consumption.

That means rats and mice can consume a more than lethal dose before dying later, according to Birdlife Australia.

Birdlife Bass Coast convenor Gil Smith said it is the lag time between consumption and death that is most dangerous for owls.

“The problem with rat poison for owls is they eat the dead or dying rats and mice, and the poison builds up in their bodies and can lead to the owls dying,” said Gil.

“The Boobook and Barn Owls are of major concern because they are common around residential areas and farmhouses.”

Birdlife Australia recommends taking measures to control rodents without toxic rodenticides such as snap traps, picking up fallen fruit, and ensuring pet food isn’t accessible to rodents.

If rodenticides need to be used, they recommend checking labels on products so only first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (FGARs) are used.

Unlike SGARs, first-generation toxins break down quicker and do not stay in the rodent’s body for long, making it less likely a bird of prey will consume a deadly amount of toxin.

Head to actforbirds.org/ratpoison for more information.