Ingestion of lead ammunition by companion animals.
The ingestion of spent lead gunshot, taken in mistake for grit, is a long-established cause of lead poisoning in wildfowl (Pain et al. 2019). Wild scavenging and predatory birds can be poisoned by consuming lead from ammunition present in wounded or unretrieved animals (Pain et al. 2019). Both shotgun pellets and bullets often leave small lead fragments embedded in the soft tissues of wild-shot game animals (Knott et al. 2010; Green et al. 2022). Gastrointestinal absorption of lead from these fragments is probably enhanced by their small size and large surface:volume ratio.