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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Development of Re-Setting Toxin Delivery Devices and Long-Life Lures for Rats


Introduced rats continue to have a major impact on biodiversity around the world, and improved control techniques are required to avoid further extinctions. We are trialing re-setting toxin-delivery systems (Spitfires) targeting a range of predators, including rats. The rat Spitfire works by firing 800 mg of a toxic paste onto the belly of the rat as it passes through a tunnel; the device then resets. When the rats groom the paste from their fur, they ingest the toxin. Each Spitfire is capable of approximately 100 doses and is fitted with a counter and a delay mechanism. We trialed 0.55% 1080 paste in the Spitfire and 15 of 15 wild Norway rats and 14 of 15 black rats died. Further trials are planned with a range of toxins to allow flexibility of use. Resetting devices that are expected to work for long periods without being serviced also require long-life lures. Preliminary trials showed urine and scats from female Norway rats were attractive to both male and female Norway rats. The volatile components from these and further trials will be identified to aid in developing a long-life lure. The long-term, effective control of introduced rats will require a range of toxins with different modes of action, a number of different delivery systems, and long-life lures.

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