Optimizing the ratio of captures to trapping effort in a black rat Rattus rattus control programme in New Zealand

  • Published source details King C. & Scurr D. (2013) Optimizing the ratio of captures to trapping effort in a black rat Rattus rattus control programme in New Zealand. Conservation Evidence, 10, 95-97.


The ratio of captures to unit effort is an important cost/benefit measure for volunteer pest control programmes. We describe an experiment designed to investigate the use of pre-feeding and trap pulsing as possible means of increasing this ratio. In 20 traps locked-open and pre-fed with non-toxic pellets for five days, the same number of black rats was caught over the next 5 days as in 20 non pre-fed traps set for the whole 10 days (32 rats each). Allowing for successful traps being unavailable for an average of half a night each, the capture rate in the pre-fed traps was 47% over five days, more than double that in the non pre-fed traps set for twice as long (total 19% in 10 days).


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