Conservation has its ups and downs, but we cherish the days with positive community involvements. The Crescent Beach Condo staff along with one of our owl volunteers residing there, Nancy Ward-Patterson, noticed a Burrowing Owl was spending time under their boardwalk to the beach. They reached out to us interested in a starter burrow. One of our requirements is to ensure the property does not use rat poison. Unaware of the severe side effects, the staff asked what alternatives there were available. I recommend buying good nature CO2 traps. Nancy and her husband Jeff took the initiative to buy the traps and supplies for their complex. These are easy to manage and cause no secondary threats to wildlife or pets. With a quick trigger to the head, it removes the entire concept of any poison. If any animal finds the rat and consumes it, the animal will not be harmed.

Rat poison is frequently used at condos, hotels, restaurants, and residential homes. Many people are uneducated as to the extent of damage it can have on a multitude of wildlife and potentially your own pets. As these rats stagger around, they become easy targets to a variety of birds of prey and mammals. Specifically on Marco Island, we have found several deceased Burrowing Owls without any signs of predation or other trauma. Over the last two months, I have worked with Florida Fish and Wildlife to send a deceased Barn Owl, Burrowing Owl, and Cooper's Hawk to a lab for testing to confirm whether or not rodenticide was involved. Side effects commonly seen are "seizures, muscle tremors, limb weakness, ataxia, neurologic signs, respiratory paralysis, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and internal bleeding that can lead to cardiovascular shock and death" (Cornell University). Aside from CO2 traps, you can use snap traps tied up in safe locations away from children and pets. Please do not use glue traps that can cause extreme suffering and catch unintentional other animals.

I met with the manager of Crescent Beach Condos, Pam Carey, to show her how to use the good nature traps and to dig a starter burrow near the owl. We are so proud of this condo. I challenge all other condos, hotels, restaurants, homes, and businesses to achieve the same standards as this facility. One simple change can majorly help protect wildlife and pets.

If you have any questions or need assistance in changing what you are using, please email us at I will come to any location to provide help. We will highlight all individuals or businesses who make the transfer to a safer option for rodent control.


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