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Wild rats ignore predation threats in familiar environments

Penelitian - Scientists from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, and the Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding in Jastrzebiec report findings to Scientific Reports that Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) colony will not respond to potential hazards characterized by the presence of odors predator.

So many species are very sensitive to the presence of predatory odors and reactions to carnivorous scents. The prey animals develop this particular adaptation that is important in the course of evolution for survival by allowing them to recognize, avoid and defend themselves against predators.

Penelitian Wild rats ignore predation threats in familiar environments

Investigation of predatory odor evasion is important because the value of the data to develop an anxiety disorder model, to design effective pest repellent to protect plants and plantations also alleviates human conflicts with wildlife. The smell of predators as a repellent to pest species appears in a variety of commercially available products.

Rafał Stryjek of the Polish Academy of Sciences and colleagues exposed nine predatory odors to test their effectiveness in generating an avoidance response by R. norvegicus. The rats do not avoid boxes with predatory odor and do not indicate increased latency in food-carrying behavior or other fear-related behaviors.

"The findings confirm the hypothesis that feeding rodents in familiar regions and relatively close to the nest where other shelters are not affected by indirect cues from predation risk, such as predatory urine or impurities," Stryjek and colleagues note.

Journal : Rafał Stryjek et al. Wild Norway Rats Do Not Avoid Predator Scents When Collecting Food in a Familiar Habitat: A Field Study, Scientific Reports, 21 June 2018, DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-27054-4