Rats and Mice - Shy or Inquisitive?
Just like populations of humans, rodent populations are heterogeneous (diverse) in their behaviour. In any population of rats or mice, there will be individuals that are shy and more wary of unfamiliar things in their environment and there will be individuals that are bold, curious and risk-taking. This has implications for you if you are trying to get rid of an infestation of rats or mice.
Rodents are neophobic. Neophobia is the avoidance of an unfamiliar object in a familiar place. It is often stated that rats are more neophobic than mice, but in any rodent population, there will be individuals that are very wary of new things in their environment and some that will be curious about the new things and want to investigate.
So, when you place bait stations, rodenticide baits or rodent traps in and around your house you should expect that some rodents will interact with the new objects within a few hours or days, but others may take longer to overcome their neophobia and enter the station, eat the bait or get caught in the trap.
The larger the initial infestation the larger the chance that there are a few elusive individuals that are more difficult to control because they are shy. In such cases, you can improve the effectiveness of your control measures by:
- Increasing the number of places where stations, baits or traps are within the rodent’s environment so that they are encountered more frequently.
- Locate stations and traps in covered locations where rodents will be hidden from view and ‘feel’ safer.
- Place traps in position without setting them for a few days before setting them.
- Do not move rodent control baits and devices even if they have not shown signs of interaction.
This advice will help you get rid of any last few difficult to get rid of rodent pests.