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Blog: Fear changes how rodents reproduce

Rodent females create extra offspring after smelling odours (chemo-olfactory cues) produced by scared males. Fear of being torn apart and eaten can influence the size of populations.
Rodents

Rodent females create extra offspring after smelling odours (chemo-olfactory cues) produced by scared males. Fear of being torn apart and eaten can influence the size of populations.

A study showed that exposed small, highly fecund (prolific) species like rat mothers produce families with about 40 to 60 per cent more pups compared to female that were not exposed to frightened males.

It was observed that the increase in pups was secondhand evidence that there was predators around and that this was enough to escalate the number of pups.

Predators can also scare the living bejesus out of their prey and the resulting terror alters how they behave and reproduce.

Also, these females may sense that their next litter may be their last and need to produce more offspring immediately. Simple physical interaction between the mating pair can regulate the litter size.

Go Green Pest Control owner Randy Bilesky is a long-time South Delta resident. Trained and certified, Bilesky has first-hand knowledge of the pest problems that local homeowners and business owners encounter.