Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 359

Full Length Research Paper

The reproductive and feeding ecology of rodents in Sekoru district, Southwest Ethiopia

Kitessa Hundera
  • Kitessa Hundera
  • Department of Biology, Jimma University, P.O.Box 378, Jimma, Ethiopia.
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Tsegaye Gadisa
  • Tsegaye Gadisa
  • Department of Biology, Jimma University, P.O.Box 378, Jimma, Ethiopia.
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  •  Received: 30 March 2015
  •  Accepted: 27 April 2015
  •  Published: 30 June 2015

Abstract

A study on reproductive and feeding ecology of rodents was conducted in agricultural areas of some selected kebeles (the smallest administrative unit in Ethiopia) of Sekoru district from February 2014 to December 2014. Rodents were captured by snap trapping using rat traps. During the whole study period, four rodent species, namely, Rattus rattus, Mastomys natalensis, Arvicanthis dembeensis and Lemniscomys barbarus were identified from a total of 326 rodents captured in 1320 trap nights. The proportion of male and female individuals captured was not different from a 1:1 ratio. Scrotal males and perforate females were captured throughout the study period though reproduction was seasonal. Breeding started in the later part of the rainy season and declined at the beginning of the dry season. The average number of embryo counted per pregnant females was 5.57±1.09, 8.65±1.80, 6.38.±1.70 and 4.00 ± 1.41 for R. rattus, M. natalensis, L. barbarus and A. dembeensis, respectively. The food items identified during the stomach content analysis were grouped into leaves, seeds, animal matter and unrecognized food item. There was no variation in the type of food item identified among the four rodent species. Some variations were observed in the proportion of the different food items consumed by the four rodent species in different trapping sessions. Awareness creation and the need of rodent pest control in all growth stage of crops and after harvest were recommended.
 
Key words: Arvicanthis, breeding, feeding, Lemniscomys, Mastomys, Rattus, Sekoru.