Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Evaluation of the palatability and toxicity of candidate baits and toxicants for mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus).

Abstract

The small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) is an invasive pest species responsible for damage to native avian, reptile, and amphibian species on Hawaii, Croatia, Mauritius, and several Caribbean Islands, among other regions. Mongoose control has been pursued through a variety of means, with varying success. One toxicant, diphacinone, has been shown to be effective in mongooses and is co-labeled in a rodenticide bait for mongoose control in Hawaii; however, preliminary observations indicate low performance as a mongoose toxicant due likely to poor consumption. We evaluated the efficacy and palatability of 10 commercial rodenticide baits, technical diphacinone powder, and two alternative acute toxicants against mongooses in laboratory feeding trials. We observed poor acceptance and subsequent low overall mortality, of the hard grain-based pellets or block formulations typical of most of the commercial rodenticide baits. The exception was Tomcat® bait blocks containing 0.1% bromethalin, an acute neurotoxin, which achieved up to 100% mortality. Mortality among all other commercial rodenticide formulations ranged from 10 to 50%. Three-day feedings of 0.005% technical diphacinone formulated in fresh minced chicken achieved 100% mortality. One-day feedings of para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP), a chemical that reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, achieved 100% mortality at concentrations of 0.10 to 0.15%. Bait acceptance of two sodium nitrite formulations (similar toxic mode of action as PAPP) was relatively poor, and mortality averaged 20%. In general, commercially produced rodenticide baits were not preferred by mongooses and had lower mortality rates compared to freshly prepared meat bait formulations. More palatable baits had higher consumption and achieved higher mortality rates. The diphacinone bait registered for rat and mongoose control in Hawaii achieved 20% mortality and was less effective than some of the other commercial or candidate fresh bait products evaluated in this study.