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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Use repellents that smell bad (‘area repellents’) to deter crop or property damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Key messages

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  • One study evaluated the effects of using repellents that smell bad (‘area repellents’) to deter crop or property damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict. This study was in the UK.





Supporting evidence from individual studies


Randomized, replicated, controlled studies in 1989–1990 on three farms in Oxfordshire, UK (Atkinson & MacDonald 1994) each found that a bone-oil based repellent (Renardine) reduced use of treated areas by moles Talpa europaea. Moles avoided the 25% of their home range that was treated with the repellent for 9–27 days (moles’ home ranges treated similarly, but with water, were not avoided). With close to 100% of their home ranges treated, moles avoided reoccupying treated areas for 42 hours to at least nine days. Moles took longer to cross a repellent-treated slit, cut across their home ranges (26 days) than a similar water-treated slit (four hours). The repellent, Renardine [use of which is prohibited in some countries], was soaked into rolled toilet paper and pushed into one mole tunnel/m2 in the 25% most heavily used part of home ranges (three moles) in spring 1989 or into all identified tunnels in the home range (four moles) in late summer 1989. One site was used in each case. Water-soaked toilet paper acted as a control at the 25% site (two moles). At a third site, 0.5 l/m of Renardine was poured into a 50-cm-deep slit across six home ranges in autumn/winter 1990. The slit was filled with peat, and a further 0.5 l/m of Renardine poured on top. One further home range was treated similarly, but with water. Mole movements were monitored by radio-tracking.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.