U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Document Type


Date of this Version



Crop Protection 29 (2010) 1011-1014; doi:10.1016/j.cropro.2010.05.009


Gambian giant pouched rats (Cricetomys gambianus) are native to Africa, but they are popular in the pet industry in the United States. They were reservoir hosts during a monkeypox outbreak in the Midwestern United States in 2003. A free-ranging population became established on Grassy Key in the Florida Keys, apparently because of a release by a pet breeder. These rodents could cause significant damage to agricultural crops should they reach the mainland. Research under controlled conditions was needed to identify effective rodenticides for Grassy Key or other cases where an invasion of Gambian rats might occur. We tested 2 formulations of diphacinone baits and 1 formulation each of brodifacoum, zinc phosphide, bromethalin, and chlorophacinone baits with captive Gambian rats in multiple-choice food trials. Both the brodifacoum and zinc phosphide rodenticide baits were highly effective (100% mortality). Also, brodifacoum and zinc phosphide treatments performed similar to the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for toxicants of (i.e., 90% mortality in laboratory trials). The chlorophacinone, diphacinone, and bromethalin baits did not appear to be very effective at killing Gambian rats (<50% mortality) in our study. Effective tools to combat Gambian giant pouched rats have been identified in a laboratory trial. Further field testing of commercially available brodifacoum and zinc phosphide baits may prove useful for controlling the potentially invading Gambian rats.