Project pro­vides taste test to tempt rats

Stratford Press - - News -

New Ply­mouth rats are hav­ing an ar­ray of ex­otic foods laid out on a plat­ter for them but ur­ban trap­pers have more sin­is­ter ideas in mind for the ro­dents.

A range of baits and flavours are be­ing tri­alled, from peanut but­ter to av­o­cado, macadamia but­ter to Pineap­ple Lumps.

The whacky ap­proach is be­ing em­ployed to find the best bait to catch the pests as part of To­wards Preda­tor-Free Taranaki.

The re­gion-wide, gov­ern­ment­backed project to pro­tect na­tive wildlife and plants is the big­gest of its kind in New Zealand.

Tak­ing full ad­van­tage of the Preda­tor Free 2050 Ltd, the project is hav­ing $12 mil­lion pumped into it.

Ecol­o­gist and To­wards Preda­tor-Free Taranaki project man­ager Toby Shan­ley said the trial was be­ing run to test what food flavours were most at­trac­tive to rats.

“It’s im­por­tant to trial dif­fer­ent bait op­tions to see what at­tracts rats in your back­yard be­cause just like hu­mans, dif­fer­ent rats have dif­fer­ent tastes,” he said.

“How­ever, New Ply­mouth rats don’t ap­pear to be as fussy as their Welling­ton coun­ter­parts, where it’s been re­ported their pre­ferred bait is gourmet peanut but­ter.”

About 1000 Taranaki res­i­dents have signed up to To­wards Preda­tor-Free Taranaki so far, each trap­ping in their back­yard or sup­port­ing fu­ture preda­tor con­trol.

The long-term project is set to fo­cus on other towns and ar­eas in dif­fer­ent phases over the com­ing years.

Rats of­ten eye up high-fat and high-pro­tein food, tak­ing ex­cep­tion to cheese which nor­mally doesn’t at­tract them, Shan­ley said.

He said trap­pers shouldn’t get dis­ap­pointed if they ex­pe­ri­ence a drop in catch num­bers af­ter snaring a bag­ful of ro­dents.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant that trap­pers keep go­ing even when their catch rate drops or they stop catch­ing any­thing.

“Trap catches will likely re­duce within the first one to two weeks, when rat num­bers take a hit, but it’s im­por­tant to keep your traps set so they can’t make a come­back and bio­di­ver­sity con­tin­ues to be pro­tected.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.