Neophobia in Rats

Neophobia in Rats

Neophobia in Rats

Here’s a short video from one of my wildlife cameras that was placed under customers kitchen units. This is a very important video, as it demonstrates rats’ natural neophobia. Most people think that a trap + some chocolate = a dead rat. However, rats will avoid anything new in their territory, whether it’s a trap or a piece of wood, for a at least few days until they get used to it. Even then, they will approach it cautiously. This is the most difficult factor in rat control as it means that a bait station or a trap is going to be avoided for some time after it is put in place. After a few days, the rat may still only nibble bait but because he’s still wary. Rats like to travel along the edges of walls or objects, and follow pre-programmed runways on their travels. If you place a trap against the wall, smack dab in the middle of a rat’s runway, it will most likely stop, and maybe even back up, and will establish a new travel pattern away from or around the trap. 

When I went back to this site all traps were untouched and had been for over 2 weeks. Some pest controllers would tell the customers that they are rat free as the traps haven’t been activated and there are no new droppings.

However, the wildlife camera tells us a totally different story. The rat keeps a very safe distance from the traps, cautiously sniffing and looking, but it doesn’t try and take what food that has been placed there to tempt it. Using equipment like the wildlife camera helps us make sure that we always have the upper hand when controlling rats and dealing with their natural neophobia.

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