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Development of strategies for the control of rats (prev VC0306) - VC0310

Description
Poor bait consumption is a major factor in the ineffective use of rodenticides and has been linked with selection pressure favouring low-degree resistance to anticoagulants. A variety of behavioural factors influence bait consumption, particularly neophobia (wariness of novel foods or objects) and aversion to food cues which animals learn to associate with illness. The strength of neophobic responses leads to longer treatments which increases the potential exposure of non-target wildlife. If initial bait consumption can be increased sufficiently by reducing neophobia, the opportunities for rats to develop learned aversions will be reduced. In this study, methods for reducing neophobic behaviour amongst rats towards novel foods and objects will be identified, including the use of chemical additives such as social odours and feeding stimulants, and familiarisation with bait containers prior. In addition, integrated strategies to overcome neophobic responses and enhance bait uptake will be developed and tested.
Objective
1. To identify ways of reducing neophobic behaviour amongst
rats towards novel foods and objects, including the use of
chemical additives such as social odours and feeding
stimulants and familiarisation with bait containers prior to
rodenticide use (Start: April 1995, Finish: February

1997).

2. To develop and test integrated strategies to overcome
neophobic responses and enhance bait uptake, thereby
increasing the efficiency of rodenticide use, reducing
selection pressure favouring low-degree resistance, reducing
treatment length and thus minimising environmental hazards
(Start: June 1995, Finish: March 1998).
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1998

Cost: £203,686
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Keywords
              
Fields of Study
Wildlife Management