Fertility control in wild mice after feeding with RU486 or methyl testosterone Academic Article uri icon


  • Paraffin blocks containing either no steroid, 150 mg RU486 kg-1, 500 mg methyl testosterone kg-1 or 1500 mg methyl testosterone kg-1 were fed to wild mice (Mus musculus) in addition to the standard laboratory diet in four large (3 m x 3 m) outdoor pens for six months over the summer. The RU486 bait was provided for only 3 days every 18 or 21 days, whereas the methyl testosterone bait was available continuously. From a foundation stock of 20 mice (nine male, eleven female) in each pen, the population had increased to 253 (control), 72 (RU486), 249 (low methyl testosterone concentration) and 103 (high methyl testosterone concentration) at the end of six months, when 17%, 4%, 32% and 13% of the mature females were pregnant in the respective treatment groups. There was little evidence of an increase in the incidence of injuries in the androgen-treated animals. Daily estimation of water consumption in the pens proved to be a good non-invasive way of monitoring population growth during the course of the experiment. Intermittent feeding with a low concentration of RU486 appeared to be much more successful in inhibiting reproduction than continuous feeding with a high concentration of methyl testosterone, and it therefore offers a new method for controlling feral mouse populations.

publication date

  • July 1, 1994