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Some Aspects of Population Ecology of Nile Rat-Arvicanthis niloticus in theGuinea Savannah of Nigeria

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Author(s): A. I. Adeyemo | T. J. Orsar | Agbelusi, E. A. | O.A. Bello-Olusoji | M.O. Afunmiso | Y.M. Bankole

Journal: Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances
ISSN 1680-5593

Volume: 4;
Issue: 9;
Start page: 818;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Population | ecology | guinea savannah | Arvicanthis niloticus | Diet | shrimps | Peneaus | frequency | crustaceans | penaeids | stomach content | occurrence | phytoplankton

ABSTRACT
A research was carried out at the University of Agriculture Makurdi located in the Guinea savannah of Nigeria, to examine the trend in some aspects of population ecology of Nile rat-Arvicanthis niloticus. Three habitat types comprising one plot of arable land for maize production, another plot of arable land for rice/sorghum production and a plot of uncultivated woodland were used for the field study. Three consecutive days in each month were used in observing rat activities in each plot. The study lasted for two dry seasons and two wet seasons making up 24 months. Activities of the rats observed in a 20 m-width strip in each plot include: construction of runways, nests and food remains left on the feeding sites. A total of 72 observation-days per plot were taken for the period of two years. Incidental samples of the rat population in the study sites were taken from January to February of the two-year study period. The data obtained was subjected to analysis of variance at p (%=0.05) significant level. The result showed that mean number of runways increased from 6.00/strip in woodland to 12.00/strip in rice/sorghum plot, while the mean number of food remains increased from 4.50/strip in woodland to 8.83/strip in rice/sorghum plot. Mean number of nests increased from 2.17/strip in maize plot to 5.71/strip in rice/sorghum plot. There was however, no significant difference (p>0.05) in the rat activities between habitat types though the general trend showed an increase in the activities from woodland through maize plot to rice/sorghum plot. Nile rats mean population/plot increased significantly (p
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