University of California

Experimental studies on poisoning pocket gophers


Milton A. Miller

Author Affiliations

Milton A. Miller was Associate Professor of Zoölogy and Associate Zoölogist in the Experiment Station, Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 22(4):131-166. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v22n04p131. May 1953.

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Field and laboratory tests on poisoning the Sacramento Valley pocket gopher (Thomomys bottae navus Merriam) are here reported. Nine poisons (including common and newly discovered rodenticides) and many kinds of bait materials were evaluated, graded dosages of the best poisons were bioassayed, and the effects of season of year, lures, and refrigeration on bait performance were tested.

Of the nine poisons field-tested on standard bait (mainly carrot), only Compound 1080, strychnine alkaloid, and strychnine sulfate gave practical kills; Castrix and thallium sulfate were moderately lethal; and zinc phosphide, ANTU, barium carbonate, and arsenic trioxide were relatively ineffective. Compound 1080 was far superior to strychnine, and the alkaloid form of strychnine proved better than the sulfate.

All three classes of bait materials tested—namely, root vegetables, grains, and fruits—were highly effective when poisoned with Compound 1080. With strychnine, root vegetables gave the best field-kills, fruits were significantly less effective, and grains gave poor results.

Recommendations based on these data and estimates of the cost of poisoning are given in the detailed summary of the paper. They will be useful to research workers, toxicologists, and rodent-control specialists, as well as to professional operators, agricultural commissioners, farm advisors, and farm managers.

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Miller M. 1953. Experimental studies on poisoning pocket gophers. Hilgardia 22(4):131-166. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v22n04p131
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