Feeding Ecology and Pest Status of the Mole Rats (Tachyoryctes splendens) in Farmland, Masha, Southwest Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


A study on the abundance, distribution, feeding habit, pest status and impacts of mole rats on agricultural productivity was carried out on the farmlands of Masha during July, 2016 ─ February, 2017. Two study sites (Beto and Gembaka Kebeles) were selected based on the abundance and habitat differences of mole rats. Conical local traps and live traps were used to capture mole rats to determine body weight, external body measurements and stomach contents. Excavations were made to investigate the burrow system (nest, bolt hole and foraging tunnels). Fresh soil mound count was made to determine abundance and distribution of mole rats. Total counts of damaged enset and potato tubers were made and the percentage and income loss were calculated per study site based on the assessment of local markets. A total of 33 common mole rats (22 males and 11 females) were trapped from farmland, grassland and fallowland habitats during the wet and dry seasons. Common mole rats were abundant during the wet season (57.6%). The nest content and stomach content analysis showed grass in large proportion, followed by enset and potato as food items. The mean percentage loss of enset was 0.47% and potato is 0.03%. The mean annual loss monetary value of enset was 236.5 birr and potato is 6.65 birr per ha. However, from interview results the pest status of T. splendens ranked high by farmers. They control and manage the pest by using conical trap (61.8%) and rodenticides (23.5%). Proper management of T. splendens in the present study area can solve the problems that famers face regarding agricultural yield loss and energy expenditure. Key words: Burrow system, Enset, Masha, Pest status, Tachyoryctes splendens



Burrow System, Enset, Masha, Pest Status, Tachyoryctes Splendens