Yes. If these metals such as cadmium and mercury (still used in some batteries) leach into the soil they can pose a threat to wildlife mainly through their toxicity to plants and animals. That is why it is important to dispose of batteries properly, that is, in a way in which they will not corrode and leak their contents into the environment.
Not all metals in all batteries are bad. But some are very bad. Most batteries contain some kind of heavy metal.
Wet-cell: Lead acid batteries used to power vehicles and by industry.
Dry-cell non-rechargeable: These are the most common types of household battery.
The lead in car batteries is very bad.
The Zinc Alkaline manganese, nickel, and lithium in household batteries are bad to varying degrees, nickel is very bad, but not as bad as lead. “While not nearly as dangerous as lead, nickel is not without some environmental risks, and is considered a probable carcinogen. There are also concerns about the environmental impacts of nickel mining, and apparent challenges with fully recycling the nickel used in hybrid batteries.” http://www.hybridcars.com/battery-toxicity.html
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