Poison for pack rats finds way to coyotes - Tucson News Now

Poison for pack rats finds way to coyotes

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Pack rat (Source: NPS.gov) Pack rat (Source: NPS.gov)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Pack rats can wreak havoc on your home, but some techniques to keep the critters away are wreaking havoc on other wildlife.

Park staff at Tohono Chul Park have seen this first-hand with coyotes in the park.

Tohono Chul's Russell Smith was shocked to find a coyote pup having seizures on the trail.

"He was real robotic with his legs because he was laying on his side and trying to get up," Smith said.

The coyote had to be put down and an autopsy revealed the pup may have died from poison used to kill pack rats.

A week later, park staff members found a coyote under a bench with a snap trap on his paw.

"We were trying to get him for about a week and a half and it was almost impossible to catch him," Smith said.

Staff did catch the coyote and send him to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale for treatment.

"Sometimes these injuries, you know, we can bandage them and care for them," said education director Kim Carr. "Unfortunately with this little guy there was such extensive damage he's actually going to have his leg removed."

The coyotes will have to remain in captivity.

Live traps are a humane way to get rid of pack rats without hurting other animals.

The Tohono Chul staff suggests drowning the rats in a tub so they can be safe for other desert animals to eat.

 "Usually they die of hypothermia before they actually drown," Smith said.

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