Bait shyness and its prevention in the rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus L

Christopher D. Devine, Christian J. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Caged New Zealand white rabbits were examined for the development, and prevention, of a learned aversion to toxic feed. Two familiar feeds were offered. One feed, a paste, contained sublethal amounts of sodium monofluoroacetate (1080); the other feed, cereal‐based pellets, was unpoisoned. On initial poisoning, consumption of both feeds decreased, but more markedly for the 1080‐dosed pastes. Suppressed feed consumption was observed for several days and may have been illness induced. A second poisoning elicited a significant depression of consumption of pastes but not pellets. The addition of a mixture of certain drugs (neurotransmitter antagonists) to the poisoned paste appeared to prevent the characteristic depression of this paste intake. We speculate that the drugs disrupted the associative process linking 1080 to recognisable attributes of the toxin or bait itself. The implications of these results on aversion formation in rabbits and pest control are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-229
Number of pages7
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Zoology
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

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