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Non-toxic rodenticides – RatX

RatX® is a minimum-risk pesticide formulated from non-toxic food materials. The active ingredient, corn gluten meal, acts as a dehydrating agent in rodents. Following ingestion, the corn gluten meal coats the villi of the lower intestines, disrupting receptors that prompt rodents to drink water. Dehydration commences soon after, causing blood thickening, circulatory collapse and kidney failure. Rats and mice become lethargic, lapse into a coma, and die 4–7 days after regular intake (Jokic et al., 2006).

RatX kills rats and mice but is not harmful to other animals, including birds, livestock species, domestic animals and humans. This is due to rodents’ unique digestive system, specifically to do with absorption of water in the lower gut (ConSeal International, 2012). As a non-toxic rodenticide, use of RatX is advantageous, with less risk of secondary poisoning of wildlife, domestic and livestock animals (Importing Innovation Australia, 2017). It is also reportedly effective among anticoagulant-resistant rat and mouse populations. RatX is registered with the APVMA as a vertebrate poison, under the trade name Ratsak Naturals®. Because it is non-toxic, it has no poison schedule or regulatory requirements for its use.

For maximal efficacy, RatX must be the primary available food source for rodents. Therefore, producers should limit rodent access to food by securely housing grains, cleaning up feed spills and removing food waste from areas where birds are housed. Manufacturers of RatX state that rats must consume 40–60 grams and mice must consume 10–15 grams in order to cause death. This is well beyond the daily feed intake of rats and mice, therefore repeated feeding of bait is needed for effective control, which is difficult to achieve on-farm, particularly if the local rodent population is high. Many traditional rodenticides (anticoagulants and acute poisons) provide a lethal dose from significantly smaller levels of bait intake and are therefore more likely to be effective on-farm.

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