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Liquid Fertility Management Bait Uptake by Urban Rats within New York City Subway Refuse Rooms

  • Author(s): Pyzyna, Brandy
  • Cunningham, Lindsey
  • Calloway, Elissa
  • Dyer, Cheryl
  • Mayer, Loretta
  • Cowan, Dave
  • et al.
Abstract

Traditional rodent management tools, such as traps and lethal rodenticides, are acute measures to reduce commensal rodent populations. Given the growing concerns regarding effectiveness, environmental safety, and animal welfare related to these tools, it has become imperative to find new methods. Fertility control is an emerging potential alternative to these tools as a safe, humane and effective method of long-term population management. SenesTech, Inc. has developed a liquid fertility management bait that causes follicle depletion in the ovaries of female Sprague Dawley rats and compromises sperm production in male Sprague Dawley rats in laboratory settings. These studies have shown significant decreases in litter sizes following bait consumption, but acceptance of this bait by wild rodents needed to be confirmed. Bait acceptance was tested within refuse rooms of the New York City subway system. Bait was provided ad libitum for 90 days. Uptake was evaluated by examining, via fluorescence microscopy, the presence of the bait marker rhodamine B, which manifests as fluorescent bands in whiskers. Presence of these bands indicated that 51% of the captured population had consumed the bait, and of these, 58% had taken the bait more than once. These results demonstrate that wild rats will consume a liquid fertility management bait, even in the presence of highly palatable and abundant food within the refuse rooms. This study establishes the successful acceptance of a bait by wild rats. Further investigation is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of this product for the management of urban Norway rat populations.

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