Surrya Khanam, Muhammad Mushtaq

Population characteristics of the house rat (Rattus rattus) in rural areas of Pothwar, Pakistan

Abstract The house rat (Rattus rattus) is the major commensal rodent species present in rural habitats of Pakistan. Little is known about the biology of this species in the country. Hence, proper control plans for its management could not be developed. The objective of the present study was to determine the population biology of the house rat in rural commensal habitats of Pothwar, Pakistan. A two-year study was conducted in four villages during four seasons. A total of 217 house rats were captured with snap traps. The species had an unbiased sex ratio. Individuals from different age groups were present in the population, and the adults outnumbered sub-adults and juveniles. Reproductive activity was observed throughout the year, and reproductively active individuals outnumbered the inactive ones. These results show that rural commensal habitats were providing suitable environment for the house rats throughout the year. The findings of the present study will be useful for the planning of control strategies in the commensal habitats of rural Pothwar.


Keywords House rat; commensal rodents; pests, ecology; villages; population characteristics

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