Feratox is the trade name for an encapsulated form of cyanide that is used for possum control in New Zealand.
Encapsulated cyanide pellets (Feratox) are dispensed to possums from bait bags or placed directly into a non-toxic feed paste.
The feed paste is placed into bait stations and bait bags are stapled to trees.
Bait bags contain one to two Feratox pellets (47.5% cyanide - 475g/kg) which are incorporated within the non-toxic feed paste. This is dyed green.
To release the cyanide poison, possums have to chew hard enough on the Feratox pellet to crack it in their mouth, releasing the cyanide.
Feratox bait will be placed within treatment areas at 10 to 100 metre intervals at a height of 0.5 to two metres above ground level.
Bait stations are initially checked every two to three days and refilled as necessary.
Feratox pellets that get dislodged to the ground by rats will perish and break down in the soil once wet.
Feratox bait bag
Small round Feratox pellets and non-toxic feed paste used as possum bait.
Important points to remember
Children should be kept away from all poisoned areas. If you suspect bait has been swallowed, get medical help immediately.
Cyanide is a rapidly acting toxin. It inhibits the enzyme systems that transfers oxygen to body cells and affects the part of the brain that controls breathing.
Typical symptoms include:
Consuming one Feratox pellet will kill an adult weighing 73kg. Even less will kill a 15kg child.
Contact the National Poisons Centre 0800 764 766 in an emergency
This poison is fatal to humans. Speed is essential. Seek medical help immediately.
Use artificial respiration if breathing has stopped (mouth to nose).
If swallowed, give a glass or two of water and induce vomiting by putting a finger down the throat.
Repeat until the vomit fluid is clear in appearance.
Do not attempt to cause vomiting if the patient is unconscious or convulsing.
Both dogs and cats are extremely susceptible to cyanide baits if they are eaten directly.
Cyanide breaks down rapidly inside possum carcasses leaving little or no poison residues.
There is a low risk of secondary poisoning to dogs and cats that eat possum carcasses.
Dead possums may have poison residues around their mouth or on their paws.
Do not handle possum carcasses or let dogs scavenge them.
Cyanide has been used for possum control in New Zealand since the mid-1960s for the following reasons:
Feratox can only be used by Certified Approved Handlers or by persons under their direct control.
Cyanide is a vertebrate toxic agent (hazardous substance) under the Hazardous Substance and New Organisms Act 1996 and the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997.