Survey of domestication process of grass cutter (Thryonomys swinderianus T.) in some selected states in southwestern Nigeria
Grass cutter (Thryonomys swinderianus) is cherished by many people but, its conservation status is at risk hence, the quest for domestication. An investigation into the domestication process of this rodent in four farms in Oyo and Osun States was carried out. Sixty structured questionnaires were administered to fifteen members of staff in each farm, but only fifty-five (91.7%) were retrieved. Data on respondents’ personal characteristics, factors influencing farm location, methods of land acquisition, factors militating against grass cutters domestication and nature of feed fed were collected. Results indicated that 30.9% of them were within the 31 – 40 years age bracket. Grass cutters habitat (0.0%) and proximity to market (3.6%) did not seem to influence farm location. Unlike insufficient funds, inadequate incentives and part-time involvement that absolutely (100.0%) militated against grass cutters domestication in the region. Interestingly, it was discovered that forages, grains, fruits, tubers and nuts were offered to the grass cutters. Reflecting that grass cutters domestication in southwestern Nigeria is possible if only, social infrastructures such as constant electricity supply, pipe borne water and good network of roads, incentives like pups, feed and funds are provided by concerned authorities. These may arouse the interest of prospective farmers to operate beyond subsistence level rather than part-time involvement as hobby.
Keywords: Domestication, Feed, Grass cutters farming, Southwestern Nigeria.