Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

March 1970


A brief survey is presented of current knowledge on olfaction in rodents and the various roles that odors may play in modifying rodent behavior. Some species at least utilize olfactory cues: to locate food items; to recognize their mother and mates; to mark territory; as an involuntary population density regulator; possibly to recognize predators; as a warning cue against a repellent or toxic substance (poison-bait shyness); and probably, for many other behavioral purposes. The value of using artificial odors in rodent baits to increase bait acceptance is not yet well documented. The addition of attractive natural odors may increase detection of low-preference foods, but there is little evidence that a strange odor can improve palatability for any prolonged period. Much more research is need¬ed before rodent control methodology can fully exploit the olfactory acuity of wild rodents.