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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Potential Norway Rat Attractants

  • Author(s): Witmer, Gary
  • Burke, Patrick
  • Jojola, Susan
  • et al.

Commensal rats cause significant damage to human food supplies and property around the world. They also cause severe ecosystem disruption, and even species endangerment, when introduced to islands. Effective attractants could help manage rat populations by increasing the probability of getting rats to detection stations, traps, and bait stations. Bait stations may contain a rodenticide, a fertility control agent, a disease vaccine, or an ecto-parasite control chemical. Effective rat attractants have not been made commercially available, although a few candidates have been identified over the years. We investigated 18 commerciallyavailable materials for their attractiveness to groups of wild Norway rats in a pen study. The most promising candidate attractants, based on the number of station visits, were almond, ginger, and lemon extracts. However, a subsequent, brief field trial at a livestock feedlot with a resident Norway rat population did not result in greater rat capture numbers with any of the 3 attractants over traps only containing water. It appears that additional testing of these and other materials will be necessary before an effective attractant can be discovered and made available for Norway rat population management.

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