WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - Animal rescuers want to warn the public, especially pet owners, about the harmful secondary effects of rat poison after an owl nearly died from eating a mouse poisoned by the chemical.
After a week of life-saving treatment, rescuers released the bird of prey back into the wild Friday.
His rescuers named the male owl Miracle. He was discovered lying on the ground at a property in Winter Haven last week. He was barely moving so the homeowner called animal control which later called rescuers to help save the owl.
After evaluating him, they determined he ate a mouse that had ingested rat poison.
“The poison concentrates as it goes up the food chain," licensed animal rescuer Cathy Terry said. "It’s not like when the rat dies, the poison goes away. The poison stays in the system and it has killed so many birds.”
While in the care of rescuers, Miracle suffered as many as 15 seizures in one hour, so they determined to euthanize him was the most humane option. Moments before going through with it, the vet decided to try a combination of drugs, including pain medicine, and Miracle’s condition miraculously improved.
“We couldn’t believe it," Terry said. "Our jaws just hit the floor. It stopped convulsing. It stopped seizing. Its eyes were open and it was gonna make it.”
After a week of rehab, Terry and rescuer Kim Kalishek released Miracle back into the wild near where he was found.
Terry hopes Miracle’s story shows people how harmful rat poison can be for wildlife.
“If you have a farm or are a blueberry farmer, put up owl boxes," Terry said. "Owls and hawks are natural rat killers. Just please don’t use the poison. Use humane traps, use snap traps, but please don’t kill our wildlife.”