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An Overview of Vertebrate Pests in India

  • Author(s): Sridhara, Shakunthala
  • et al.
Abstract

A billion-plus human population, agriculture, and development are shrinking and degrading the habitat of many of the 1,200 bird and 500 mammal species of India. With humans and herbivores competing for the same resources, many of them are becoming pests on crops. The granivorous birds depredate on selected cereals, sunflower, groundnut, and oil palm. Guava, grape, apple, sapota, pecan, pomegranate, and pineapple are damaged significantly by frugivore birds. Amongst vertebrate pests, rodents are the most destructive. A dozen species, viz. Rattus rattus, Bandicota bengalensis, B. indica, Millardia meltada, Mus booduga, M. platythrix, Mus musculus, Tatera indica, Meriones hurrianae, Funambulus pennanti, F. palmarum, F. tristriatus, and Hystrix indica are serious pests. Cereals, pulses, oil seeds, vegetables, fruits, and plantation crops are damaged considerably. Sown seeds, seedlings of maize, sorghum, sunflower, groundnut, red gram, tender coconut, oil palm, cardamom, and cocoa are depredated much more. Other vertebrate pests of significance are Pteropus giganteus, Cynopterus sphinx, Rousettus leschenaulti (bats), Boselaphus tragocamelus (Nilgai), Elephas maximus (elephant), Macaca mulatto, and Semnopithecus entellus (monkeys). Sporadically, other langurs, sloth bear, wild boar, hare, golden jackal, and peacock become pests. This paper reviews the lethal and non-lethal methods of managing this wide of array of vertebrate pests.

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