Does Zinc Phosphide Kill Squirrels

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Zinc phosphide is an acutely toxic substance that kills its target after just one feeding, and there is no antidote. When zinc phosphide comes into contact with gastric acid, it is hydrolyzed and releases phosphine gas. But, does zinc phosphide kill squirrels

Squirrels can be killed with zinc phosphide. It can reduce populations of squirrels faster than anticoagulants after just one feeding. Zinc phosphide, on the other hand, has a distinct odor and flavor that squirrels appear to avoid.

The zinc phosphide that squirrels occasionally eat is sub-lethal, meaning it will make people sick but not kill them. To learn more about squirrel poisoning, read the article.

What Is Zinc Phosphide?

The inorganic compound zinc phosphide is a mixture of zinc and phosphorus. Trizinc diphosphide is the chemical name given by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Zinc phosphide is a gray powder with a garlic-like smell. Phosphine is a colorless, highly flammable gas. Technical or industrial grade phosphine gas smells like rotting fish or garlic, but phosphine itself has no smell.

Zinc phosphide-based rodenticide baits require ingestion to be effective. They are used to control rodents that are commensal to humans. It’s in rodenticide baits. Zinc phosphide is transformed into phosphine when an animal consumes the bait due to the acid in its stomach.

The production of phosphine is responsible for the toxic effects of zinc phosphide. This is also true for aluminum and magnesium phosphides. When phosphine gas enters the gastrointestinal tract, it is absorbed alongside zinc.

Will Zinc Phosphide Kill Ground Squirrels?

Yes, zinc phosphide does kill ground squirrels. Zinc phosphide is a potent poison that can be used to kill ground squirrels. It kills ground squirrels after just one feeding, so it can reduce populations faster than anticoagulants.

Zinc phosphide, on the other hand, has a distinct taste and odor that so many ground squirrels appear to avoid. On rare occasions, ground squirrels will ingest zinc phosphide in sub-lethal doses that will make people ill but not kill them. This causes bait aversion in the ground squirrel population.

Broadcast applications of zinc phosphide can be used when ground squirrel populations are large or cover a larger area. This can be an efficient and cost-effective method of controlling this species across a large area.

When sick, squirrels usually retreat to their burrows and die there, though up to 20-30% of ground squirrels may die above the ground.

How Long Does Zinc Phosphide Kill Squirrels?

Ground squirrel succumbs to Zinc Phosphide’s toxicity between 15 minutes and 4 hours after ingesting a toxic dose, demonstrating how quickly the drug takes effect. The acute symptoms of Zinc Phosphide consumption are loss of appetite, which progresses to spasms, paralysis, and death.

By poisoning target ground squirrels with phosphine gas, zinc phosphate acts as a lethal rodenticide. When squirrels consume Zinc Phosphide, the acid in their stomach chemically transforms it into toxic Phosphine gas. Ground squirrels that are unable to vomit respond well to bait containing zinc phosphate.

The phosphine in the squirrel’s stomach enters the body cells and prevents the cells from generating energy, causing the cells to die. Zinc phosphide affects all cells in the body, but it particularly affects vital cells of the heart, lungs, and liver.

What Is The Best Ground Squirrel Poison?

Chemicals that kill rodents are known as squirrel poisons/rodenticides. Nowadays, most rodenticides are anticoagulants, also called blood thinners. They don’t thin the blood; it’s just a common misconception. The term blood thinner is used interchangeably.

Any substance that prevents blood from clotting or hinders the hemostasis process, also known as clotting, is an anticoagulant. Some of the first rodenticides were derived from medicines intended for human use. Rodenticides today typically contain one of three active ingredients.


Along with pindone, diphacinone, and chlorophacinone, warfarin was one of the first anticoagulants used to kill squirrel populations.


Bromadiolone is an anticoagulant that is primarily used in rodenticides to kill rodents such as squirrels.


Diphacinone is an antagonist of vitamin K and an anticoagulant.


Strychnine inhibits the glycine neurotransmitter in the spinal cord.

What Is The Best Repellent For Ground Squirrels?

Among the most effective ground squirrel repellents are.

Castor Oil is an effective squirrel repellent

There is castor oil present, which is used to repel ground squirrels.

2 teaspoons liquid dishwashing soap and 1/4 cup premium quality castor oil. Pour this mixture into the water. Connect the water source to a spray mechanism.

Pepper Spray squirrel repellent

Pepper spray is a cheap and non-toxic way to keep ground squirrels away.

To begin, heat a cup of hot water on low heat. The mixture should soak for 12 hours after which one cup of hot red pepper flakes should be added. Then, incorporate some dishwashing soap into this mixture then add it into a spray bottle.

Can Squirrels Survive Poisoning?

Yes, squirrels can survive poisoning, but in most cases, the poisoned squirrel dies. Even though the poison would still be present in the squirrels’ livers if they were still alive after being poisoned, they would probably survive.

When a poisoned squirrel consumes it, it suffers from long, agonizing convulsions and contractions. The painful symptoms in squirrels last for one to 24 hours or longer, with the length and severity of their seizures increasing and their ability to breathe becoming hampered by the abdomen and respiratory muscle spasms.

How to Treat Squirrel Poisoning?

The following are methods for treating poisoned squirrels based on the type of poison they swallow:

Poisoning from warfarin

Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, though there may be no symptoms for two to three days. Internal bleeding symptoms include patches of red/purple/dark blue skin and gums.

Bright green feces can be an early warning sign because the poison is frequently colored this way. To help the blood clot, give the squirrel an injection of vitamin K ranging from 5-20 mg, depending on weight.

Poisoning with strychnine

Strychnine poisoning causes spasms, pupil dilation, and muscle twitching in squirrels. Depending on the size and weight of squirrels, the prescribed treatment is an injection of diazepam (Valium).

What Are The Symptoms Of A Poisoned Squirrel?

The signs of rodenticide toxicity vary more and are influenced by the substance and dose.

Zinc phosphide

When zinc phosphide comes into contact with stomach acid, it emits phosphine gas into the bloodstream. Nonspecific clinical signs may include anorexia, dizziness, vomiting both with and without blood, diarrhea, and tiredness.


When bromethalin is taken in high doses, it can quickly start causing seizures along with other clinical symptoms like muscle tremors, hyperexcitability, and increased reflexes in the hind limbs.


Strychnine inhibits the glycine neurotransmitter in the spinal cord. Neurologic symptoms like muscle spasm, tightened neck, pupil dilation, seizures, and hypersensitivity can occur within an hour of ingestion and indicate poisoning.


Cholecalciferol Vitamin D3 raises serum phosphate and calcium levels, which can lead to failure of the kidney, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, and other nonspecific clinical signs.

What Is The Best Squirrel Bait?

Squirrels are omnivores, and their favorite foods include nuts, grains, seeds, herbs, and soft fruits and vegetables. When ground squirrel populations are high, poison bait is typically the most economical method of control. Grain or pellets that have been poisoned and are approved for use as bait are considered bait.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is the most effective squirrel trap bait. Of course, squirrels are naturally drawn to nuts. Peanut butter makes really good squirrel bait because it is difficult for squirrels to snatch and flee with, forcing them to interact with the trap hard enough for it to spring.


Squirrels much prefer “raw” nuts that are still on the tree or have just fallen to the ground.

Cereal grain

Scatter a small amount of untreated grain, like breakfast oats, near burrows.


Zinc phosphide is a grayish-black powder that smells like garlic. Phosphine is a colorless gas that is extremely flammable. To be effective, rodenticide baits based on zinc phosphide must be consumed. Zinc phosphate acts as a lethal rodenticide by poisoning target ground squirrels with phosphine gas.

Squirrels consume Zinc Phosphide, which is chemically transformed into toxic Phosphine gas by the acid in their stomach. When ground squirrel populations are high, poison baits it with their favorite foods including nuts, grains, seeds, herbs, and soft fruits and vegetables. It is usually the most cost-effective way to control them.

The toxicity of Zinc Phosphide kills ground squirrels between 15 minutes and 4 hours after ingesting a toxic dose. Although squirrels can survive poisoning, the poisoned squirrel usually dies. Even if the poison remained in the squirrels’ livers if they were still alive after being poisoned, they would survive.


Doğan E, Güzel A, Ciftçi T, Aycan I, Celik F, Cetin B, Kavak GÖ. Zinc phosphide poisoning. Case Rep Crit Care. 2014

Abdel Rahman M. El Naggar, Nashwa M. El Mahdy, Zinc phosphide toxicity with a trial of tranexamic acid in its management, Journal of Advanced Research, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2011.