What Are the Chemicals in Rat Poison?


Rat poison commonly contains anticoagulant rodenticides, which cause internal bleeding. It may also contain other ingredients such as sodium borate, colecalciferol, strychine, zinc phosphide, bromethalin and compound 1080. All are effective for getting rid of rats. Each type of poison reacts in a different way with death as the end result.

Anticoagulant Rodenticides

  • Anticoagulant rodenticides include brodificoum, diphacinone, warfarin and bromadiolone. They interfere with the body's use of vitamin K and in just a few days cause internal bleeding that leads to death.

Sodium Borate, Strychnine and Bromethalin

  • Sodium borate has many household uses and is known as borax. However, when ingested it can cause neurological damage and convulsions, as do strychnine and bromethalin.

Zinc Phosphide

  • Zinc phosphide, when ingested, mixes with stomach acid and produces a toxic phosphide gas.


  • Cholecalciferol causes cardiac failure.

Compound 1080

  • Compound 1080 contain sodium fluoroacetate which causes nausea and vomiting, as well as cardiac and neurological problems. It eventually leads to coma and death.


  • Use extreme care with rat poisons. Cats and dogs may eat the pellets thinking they are cat or dog food. If you believe your pet has been poisoned you should seek veterinary care immediately.

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