Rats can be an ecological nightmare, in a predator free enviorment a single pregnant female rat could cause chaos and if we are very unlucky, the extinction of a species that is unable to compete with them.
The concept of the predator free island was started on New Zealand, were vunrable birds are relocated to small islands that have been eradicated of rats and other preditors. This has been a very successful and Im personally really taken back by how easy many experts make these seemingly impossible goals a reality.
Of course after the eradication there needs to be very strict controls to ensure alien species don’t get introduced as well as regular monitoring to ensure there are no univited guests.
This of course takes time and in a nutshell money. Not only that but you can’t have people everywhere all the time. I wondered if there is a piece of technology that could assist with this task.
I came up with the concept of a weight activated rat detector. I’ve had quite a look and simply can’t find it anywhere.
So why would this be helpful? Well as a general rule many alien rat species(e.g. The brown rat) are heavier than the local rodents. Therefore the heavy, and mature, rats will trigger it, while the native rats are left alone. Having the rat trap a more targetted killer means that leaving it in place for a long period of time wont decrease the native rodent population. As a side note this means of course that potentially this technology could actually be used for the eradication as well, especially in situations were another rodent is critical endangered.
So how would it work? Well there really are a number of ways they could work. They could simply be based on a mechanical design in which a certain amount of force needs to be pressed onto the floor to trigger a switch. Or they could be electronic were the weight is measured and if its above a certain limit the rat get zapped.
However this being said there is an interesting point to consider. The weight activated trap won’t kill lighter(younger) rats. Therefore for this to be effective there does need to be a significant average weight different between target and native species.