Vertebrate Pest Management Division

Vertebrate pests comprise of birds, wild animals and small mammals, especially rodents under Class Mammalia. Among them, rodents belong to Order Rodentia represented by 34 genera and 104 species in India. They cause both direct and indirect damages to various crops/commodities by gnawing and contamination. The pre harvest losses range from 5-15% to cereal crops like rice and wheat.  It is estimated that in Asia alone rice loss caused by rodents in a year could feed 200 million people. Rodents adjust to the cropping systems and patterns in agriculture through their behavioural plasticity. They imitate crop behaviour in rice, by establishing during the initial period of the crop, breed during crop breeding period and emigrate after crop harvest. They are capable of rapid population response to short term variations, including seasonal fluctuation in temperature, humidity and food availability. Moreover, they are also found to adjust to Farmer with rat damaged tillers the newer environments in the changing climate regime with their faster mode of breeding, sometimes leading to major outbreaks. Individual symptomatic treatments lead to induced rodent breeding by immigrating rodents from peripheral areas. These ecological and ethological intricacies are needed to be observed to arrive at suitable management strategies to contain Bandicoot damaging sugarcane  these pests.

Farmer with rat damaged tillers          Bandicoot damaging sugarcane

Rodents also affect public health as vectors and reservoirs for bacteria which cause zoonotic diseases such as plague, leptospirosis, scrub typhus, Leishmeniasis, murine typhus and salmonellosis. NIPHM extends technical support to National Centre for Disease Control (erstwhile NICD), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in prevention of zoonotic diseases like plague, leptospirosis etc. The joint efforts of the institute with NCDC resulted in reduction of 61% incidence of Leptospirosis in four South Gujarat districts during 2009.

The institute advocates behavoural and non chemical approach for rodent management based on pest species. Practices such as indeginous traps are encouraged complimenting other rodent management practices. The institute even evaluated the efficacy of non poisonous sticky traps against major commensal rodent pest species in commodity and domestic situations.

Bamboo trap in North Eastern States

Palmyra basket bamboo snap trap

Bandicoot on sticky trap

Nodal Centre for Implementation of National Plan on Rodent Pest Management

Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC), Government of India launched a National Plan on Rodent Pest Management during XI Plan period. To tackle the situation at National level, a National Plan on Rodent Pest Management was launched by Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture in October, 2010 with an outlay of Rs. 679.72 Lakhs for remaining part of XI Plan period under Strengthening and Modernization of Pest Management Approach (SMPMA) scheme. The institute is also Nodal Centre supported by ICAR All India Network Project on Rodent Control for implementation of the National Plan. Capacity building, awareness creation and rodent control campaigns are identified activities in the National Plan and NIPHM is instrumental in coordination and monitoring of capacity building and awareness creation under the National Plan. It also extends technical guidance to the Ministry in financial allocations to take up rodent pest management activities by different States.

Activities of the Division

NIPHM is actively involved in capacity building among various stakeholders and provides consultancies to address specific problems in endemic areas.

1.    National Training Programmes on Rodent Pest Management

These are basic level training programs for field extension functionaries of States, UTs,  junior level extension scientists with 7 day duration. The training covers in-depth information on rodent biology, ethological parameters and principles for their management through participatory discussions. Skill development on available options for rodent pest management and actual control operations among the participants are developed through batch wise participatory action in farmers' fields.

2.    Apex Level Training on Rodent Control

An Apex Level Training on Rodent Control of 3-day duration targets the planning processes involved in rodent pest management for personnel manning rodent control at Directorate of Agriculture and district levels. The rodent pest/vector situation and implementation status of rodent management practices in the participating states/organizations will be analyzed and action plans are being drawn for monitoring the rodent infestation after community based rodent control campaigns.

3.    Trainer Farmers' Training Programs

As one of the Farmer Led Extension Strategies, Training of Farmer Trainers with 5 day duration are conducted under National Plan to produce more trained man power at village level and to facilitate horizontal expansion of rodent management technology among farming community. Progressive farmers from rodent endemic villages would be the participants. The training activities include identification of rodent damage in cereal crops, rodent-crop seasonal calendar, non-chemical rodent management, baiting techniques for appropriate control and community mobilization for rodent control. Skill development exercises will be imparted to the participants.

Expertise in India and abroad

The division validates technology developed by ICAR Research Project in different agro-climatic situations and assists the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture in extending expertise to needy States where rodent problem is endemic, viz. North East and States with river basins. Based on the reports on alarming situation of rodents in some parts of the country and advice by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, expert visits are performed and suitable technical guidance is extended to the States. The extent of rodent incidence, constraints in management measures will be analyzed and suitable guidelines will be given to the concerned States. So far NIPHM extended guidance to states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Andhra Pradesh and all North Eastern States. During 2010-11, such guidance was extended by NIPHM to Andhra Pradesh and Nagaland States to tackle rodent outbreak situation.


Expertise was provided to Bangladesh, People's Republic of China and Armenia in preventing rodent problems in these countries. National Workshops were conducted in China and Armenia before initiating TCP funded project by FAO of United Nations. Based on the feedback, extension based technologies were developed in addition to validation of existing technology in these FAO TCP projects. Capacity building was done through training of extension functionaries, trainer farmers and Farmers' field schools in rodent pest management. The project guided in China bagged the prestigious Edourd Saouma Award of FAO of United Nations.