Secondary Exposure to Anticoagulant Rodenticides and Effects on Predators

  • Jhon J. López-Perea
  • Rafael Mateo
Part of the Emerging Topics in Ecotoxicology book series (ETEP, volume 5)


Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) are currently the most common pesticides and biocides used to control rodents. The long-term persistence in animal tissues of the second-generation compounds (SGARs) causes their bioaccumulation in predatory species. In this chapter, we evaluate some of the key parameters that are likely to determine bioaccumulation and risk in wildlife from secondary exposure to ARs, review wildlife field monitoring studies from around the world to assess the scale of that exposure, and examine the current state of knowledge as to how secondary exposure relates to risk of mortality and other adverse effects in wildlife and in humans. Using a simple modelling approach and information from the published literature, we conclude that excretion rate is key in determining the extent of bioaccumulation and resultant risk in wildlife from secondary exposure to SGARs. We also find that secondary exposure in predators is widespread and widescale throughout the world, and may be greatest in predatory mammals that specialise on feeding on rodents. The extent of secondary [lethal and sub-lethal] poisoning that results is unclear. This is largely because unequivocal diagnosis of AR-mediated mortalities is not easy to determine from necropsy and there is no clear threshold residue that is diagnostic of effect, although recent development of probabilistic modelling of residue data may help in the future. We recommend that the direct consequences for predators from AR exposure, and the potential consequent impacts on the top-down regulation of rodent populations, deserve greater study.


Rodenticide Ecotoxicology Bioaccumulation Bird Mammal Poisoning Food safety 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC) CSIC-UCLM-JCCMCiudad RealSpain

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