Effects of strain, live weight and micro-environment on body weight development of cane rat (Thryonomys swinderianus) in the humid tropics
Interactive effects of strain, live weight and a non-genetic factor namely micro-environment on the live weight development of cane rats reared in captivity were investigated over a seven-month period. A total of seventy-nine (79) cane rats (Thryonomys swinderianus) originating from three different sources (strains) and of four body weight categories were used for the study. The treatment design was 4x3 Factorial of Live-weightXStrain randomly assigned to 3 Houses (block) using RCBD, while statistical analysis utilized GLM procedure of SAS® (1999). Data were recorded monthly based on Treatment-combinations and Housemicro- environment. Results revealed that effects of strain, live weight category and housemicro- environment on strains were significant. Consequently, interactive effect of strainXhouse-micro-environment was found most depressing on Lawole>FRIN>Bamidele, while strainXlive-weight category interaction exerted most positive influence on Lawole strain which demonstrated the highest ability for body weight development than other two strains. Findings revealed that interactive effect of STRxHME was most significant on weight development. Bamidele strain was identified as most acclimatized and adaptable of the three strains based on least body weight sensitivity and variation between HMEs. Different strains of cane rat in captive rearing systems would exhibit different and specific reaction norms under interaction of strain, Body weight and House-micro-environment. This knowledge is useful for feeding regimes, husbandry and breeding schemes for cane rats in humid tropics.
Keywords: Grasscutter, adaptability, South-West Nigeria, Housing-microenvironment