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Most modern rodenticides are claimed to cause death no earlier than several days after ingestion.

That's quite strange - once a chemical was ingested it will be absorbed in the digestive system and enter the blood stream and rapidly spread around the body (something like within ten hours - that's what most human medications claim in pharmacokinetics sections of their manuals). I'm pretty sure a rodent is very similar to a human in terms of digestive system functioning.

Then how do rodenticides not kill the rodent earlier than in several days after ingestion?

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Not sure about the specifics of rodenticides but you should take into consideration that a drug may not be directly bioavailable. It may be given as an inactive form which is metabolized to the active form. It may be retained in adipose tissue and slowly released. Also, the effect which may be fairly rapid, but not immediately fatal. If I remember correctly rodenticides are often anticoaugulants, so the effect may not be immediatly obvious. – nico Oct 1 '13 at 7:02

These poisons prevent recirculation of vitamin K and thus formation of prothrombin which is essential for coagulation of blood and are required for maintaining the integrity of capillaries. The depletion of vitamin K is slow and in a couple of days internal hemorrhage occurs extensively and the animal dies of shock. Early recognition of poisoning in humans and other animals can easily be treated with administration of vitamin K.

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