Q:

Can dangerous or poisonous animals be controlled by understanding their breeding habits?

A:

Quick Answer

Understanding their breeding habits can help to control dangerous or poisonous animals if this information is used to disrupt breeding cycles or reduce fertility. Unsuccessful breeding strategies generally reduce populations of dangerous animals to manageable levels or even remove them from an area entirely.

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Can dangerous or poisonous animals be controlled by understanding their breeding habits?
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Full Answer

Disrupting unwanted species' breeding habits is typically achieved by either introducing a chemical or hormonal disruptor into the local environment or by encouraging a competitor species that reduces the effectiveness of the target species' reproductive strategies. Substances that disrupt breeding cycles include artificial pheromones in the local vicinity, oral contraceptives dispensed in feed and feminizing hormones in water sources. They are considered to be safer than lethal pesticides because they are unlikely to affect organisms outside of the target species, and in addition do not cause lethal damage.

Encouraging competitor species that remove access to resources or reproductive spaces can also be an effective way of limiting breeding in unwanted animals. Encouraging competitors may involve improving the environment from their perspective or removing obstacles to their ingress. However, introducing entirely new species to an area to compete with pests is historically fraught, and it has resulted in several extinction events in the past, so such activities should only be carried out under strict controls.

Learn more about Animal Reproduction

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