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Prospects for biological control of rodent populations*

By Kazimierz Wodzicki


Pathogens and predatory animals are the main agents used for the biological control of rodents. The pathogens that have been used are of the genus Salmonella; none is rodent-specific and all can cause severe infection in man and domestic animals. Furthermore, rodents frequently develop immunity to, and become carriers of, these organisms, and there is little to commend their use, except in lightly populated areas where control is infrequently applied. The relationships of five predator species with their rodent prey have been examined. The monitor lizard, mongoose, and ferret were for different reasons found to be unsatisfactory, and there is not yet sufficient evidence to warrant further releases of the Japanese weasel. Domestic and feral cats control rodents well in some situations but only after some other agent has removed a large part of the rodent population

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