A study of the population size of Bandicota bengalensis rats in three markets in Penang was conducted from April 2004 through May 2005. Taman Tun Sardon Market (TTS), Batu Lanchang Market (BTLG) and Bayan Lepas Market (BYNLP) were surveyed. Six sampling sessions were conducted in each market for four consecutive nights per session. The total captures of B. bengalensis in TTS, BTLG and BYNLP were 92%, 73% and 89% respectively. The total population of B. bengalensis in TTS was estimated as 265.4 (with a 95% confidence interval of 180.9-424.2). The total population at BTLG was estimated as 69.9 (with a 95% confidence interval of 35.5-148.9). At BYNLP, the total population was estimated as 134.7 (with a 95% confidence interval of 77.8-278.4). In general, adult male rats were captured most frequently at each site (55.19%), followed by adult females (31.69%), juvenile males (9.84%) and juvenile females (3.27%). The results showed that the number of rats captured at each site differed significantly according to sex ratio and maturity (χ(2) = 121.45, df = 3, p<0.01). Our results suggest that the population sizes found by the study may not represent the actual population size in each market owing to the low numbers of rats recaptured. This finding might have resulted from the variety of foods available in the markets.
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