South Bay

Rat Poison May Be Killing Wildlife in Los Gatos, Other South Bay Locales

Wild animals are turning up dead in Los Gatos, and some suspect rat poison is to blame.

A deer carcass was found on the walkway of a home just last week, and a few days later someone spotted a dead turkey. The problem is not exclusive to Los Gatos; it's throughout the South Bay. The concern is people may be putting out rat poison to kill rodents, but it ends up killing other animals too.

The dead deer was disturbing enough for a Los Gatos woman to find in front of her home. Another Los Gatos resident, Lindy Faris, found a dead baby opossum last month.

"It didn't have any obvious injuries," Faris said.

While no necropsies were performed on the animals to determine exactly how they died, wildlife experts say it may be from rat poison.

A bobcat with mange recently was brought to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. Workers there believe the animal was poisoned with rodenticide in Morgan Hill. He is one of six poisoned bobcats brought to the center in the past two years.

Laura Hawkins, executive director of the wildlife center, says there are many more humane alternatives for people trying to get rid of rodents.

"The problem of people leaving out rat poison is very prevalent, and animals are likely to come upon it," Hawkins said. "One is making sure pet food is inside, that bird seed doesn't fall on the ground, and if you have fruit trees, pick up the fruit that has fallen on the ground."

Faris says she’s now worried her dog Maverick could get sick from rat poison.

"I just hope people stop before any more animals die," she said.

In Santa Cruz County, Wildlife Emergency Services says it recorded more than four bobcats suffering from rat poison in the past five years.

Wildlife experts say if rats are poisoned and become lethargic, they are much easier for the bobcats to catch, and that's how some may be getting sick.

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