Colonies of wild rats, were offered the choice between two baits-cereal grains, flours, mixtures, oily and sweet cereals, and also grain flour. The rats were poisoned in the preferred baits with barium carbonate (10 mg/g food; 20 mg/g food in oily baits) and then presented with the same choice of unpoisoned foods as before. Poisoning changed the feeding patterns of rats. Foods mixed with barium carbonate were avoided ("poison-shyness"), the same foods then offered without poison were also rejected ("bait-shyness"). Intermittent poisoning also caused aversion to the eating of both poison and bait. Apparently, both the quality and the strength of tastes perceived in the poisonous mixtures influenced the development of "bait-shy" behaviour in the rats. The results indicate the possibility of using barium carbonate as an additional acute poison for rodent control. "Bait-shyness" can then be mitigated or eliminated by using for baits: (i) cereals in an alternative textural form; (ii) cereal baits blended with strong-tasting substances like chocolate; (iii) cereal mixed with groundnut oil; (iv) or an equivalent wt/wt mixture of cereals containing groundnut oil (5%).
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Zoology Department, Aligarth Muslim University, Aligarth 202 002, India.|
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