Feratox is the trade name for an encapsulated form of cyanide that has been used for possum control in New Zealand since the 1960s.

Feratox bait bagWe use cyanide because:

  • It is fast acting – possums become unconscious within one minute and die three to four minutes later
  • It is effective for use in high possum density areas
  • Baits are small and easy to lay so large areas can be treated by hand
  • Possums die on the spot, allowing fur and skin recovery
  • There is low risk of secondary poisoning.

The Feratox pellets are dispensed to possums from bait bags or bait stations. The pellets are contained in a non-toxic feed paste, which 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.

Safe usage

Small round Feratox pellets and non-toxic feed paste used as possum bait. Feratox bait will be placed within treatment areas at 5 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.

To ensure feratox, which is dyed green, is being used safely:

  • Public health approvals are often required in public areas, which have restrictions on use.
  • Warning signs must be erected at all main access points where feratox is laid.
  • You need to read and adhere to the instructions on warning signs

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. Feratox can only be used by Certified Approved Handlers or by persons under their direct control.

Tips and tricks for bait stations

Updated November 23, 2022 at 2:21 PM

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