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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A bitter attempt to prevent non-target poisoning of small mammals

Published source details

Kleinkauf A., Macdonald D.W. & Tattersall F.H. (1999) A bitter attempt to prevent non-target poisoning of small mammals. Mammal Review, 29, 201-204


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use repellent on slug pellets to reduce non-target poisoning Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study (year not stated) in an agricultural area in the UK (Kleinkauf et al. 1999) found that treating food with a bitter substance (Bitrex™; as a trial of its efficacy for deterring toxic slug pellet consumption) reduced consumption by wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus at some concentrations but did not change consumption rates of bank voles Clethrionomys glareolus or common shrews Sorex araneus. Wood mice avoided food treated with Bitrex at 100 ppm and 300 ppm but showed no avoidance at 50 ppm or 500–1,740 ppm (data not presented). Bank voles and common shrews showed no avoidance of food treated with Bitrex at 100 ppm or 300 ppm (data not presented). Wild small mammals were contained within small enclosures. Wood mice and bank voles were offered barley Hordeum vulgare. Common shrews were offered fly pupae. Food was sprayed with the Bitrex solution. Trails ran for eight hours overnight (wood mouse) or six hours night or day (bank vole and common shrew) with treated food only and with choices of treated and untreated food.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)