SGARs: What they are and what you can do about it

Photo by Denitsa Kireva

What are SGARs?

Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) are a type of rodenticide used to control mice and rats. They are significantly more powerful than their predecessor, the first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides. First-generation rodenticides have to be consumed multiple times and persist in an animal’s body for seven days to be lethal. Since the animal can feed from the poisonous bait multiple times before succumbing to the effects, a substantial amount of the pesticide accumulates in their bodies. In contrast, SGARs typically require only one consumption to be lethal. They also last much longer in the environment and animals’ bodies (up to four weeks!) and are more toxic than first-generation rodenticides.

What do they do?

Anticoagulants disrupt the body’s natural blood clotting mechanism by inhibiting the production of Vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a crucial role in blood clotting, and its reduced production leads to fatal hemorrhaging in the affected animals. SGARs remain in the bodies of the animals they kill, which can then be consumed by non-target species like birds of prey, large mammals, and even pets. A recent study has shown that exposure to SGARs can weaken the immune system and make carnivores more susceptible to disease.

Photo by Eric Kilby

What can you do?

Join Earthwise Aware’s (EwA) SGARs Brigade to help report the location of potential and confirmed rodenticide bait devices and document sick or dead animals that are likely victims of SGARs. In this project, you’ll learn to identify devices and recognize the symptoms of a poisoned animal.

Use alternative methods of pest control. Take a look at Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife recommendations for proactively preventing issues with rodents. 

If you want to get connected to a Save Wildlife initiative in your community, you can check out Save Arlington Wildlife’s (SAW) Activist Toolkit and reach out to SAW for help.

At the policy level, keep an eye on these bills: 

  • H.804: An Act authorizing the town of Arlington to prohibit use of second generation anti-coagulant rodenticides by commercial pesticide applicators.
  • S.2448: An Act authorizing the City of Newton to prohibit the application of second generation anti-coagulant rodenticides within its borders.
  • S.540: An Act empowering towns and cities to protect residents and the environment from harmful pesticides.