U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Document Type


Date of this Version



Proc. 28th Vertebr. Pest Conf. (D. M. Woods, Ed.) Published at Univ. of Calif., Davis. 2018. Pp. 243-246


Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) are used to control rodents around homes, buildings, and in agriculture. They have been found widely in predatory and scavenging wildlife as a result of secondary exposure and less commonly in herbivores and omnivores from primary exposure. While predators and scavengers have been monitored for AR exposure, very little information is available about AR residues in edible muscle tissue of game animals. Game animals may be exposed to ARs through direct consumption of bait, ingestion of contaminated food or vegetation, or consumption of contaminated prey items. Carcasses of three species of game animals (black bear, wild pigs, and mule deer) were collected opportunistically for this study from 2013 to 2015. Causes of death were mainly depredation, vehicular trauma, or hunter harvest. Sampling was performed in the field by California Department of Fish and Wildlife and US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services staff. Tissues were analyzed for 37 deer in 11 counties, 120 wild pigs in 10 counties, and 12 bears in eight counties. The highest prevalence of AR exposure was found in bears, with 83% of tested livers containing ARs. Bear were most likely to be exposed to brodifacoum, a second generation AR used primarily in and around residences. Prevalence of exposure in wild pigs was 8.3%. Pigs were most likely to be exposed to chlorophacinone, used primarily in agriculture. More than half of pigs with AR residues in their liver also had AR residues in their muscle tissue. There were no AR detections in muscle samples tested for bears with AR residues in liver. None of the deer livers tested positive for ARs.