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Effects of Urbanization and Agricultural Expansion on the Upsurge of Wild Rats (Rattus rattus) in Yenagoa Metropolis of Bayelsa State, Nigeria

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In this study, the impact of habitat characteristics on the abundance and relative distribution of wild black rats (Rattus rattus) as influenced by human activities was investigated in Yenagoa and its environs in Bayelsa state of Nigeria. Consequently three ecological zones namely: 1. zone of stable urban centre, 2. zone of rapid urban transformation, and 3. zone of undisturbed rural centre were mapped out with three ecological subsets from each zone. These subsets include; site A-undisturbed landscape area, site B-stable human settlement area and site C-refuse dump site area. Standard trapping procedures were then adopted using bread and raw cassava as baits. A total of 1411 black rats were caught in 1002 trap nights representing a mean trap success of 46.9%. The relative abundance of rats caught were highest in zone 2 with 46.4% and lowest in zone 1 with 11.9%. An analysis of variance indicated that there was a significant difference in the abundance of rats in the various study zones (F_(cal)=1.626, MSE=21168.11, p<0.05). A Post Hoc analysis also shows a significant difference on the influence of site structure on black rat population. It is therefore worthwhile to conclude that black rat can be used as bioindicator to monitor the ecosystem health in an environment of growing human population.

Parallel keywords

Ecosystem rats relative abundance urbanization

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