Send in your tails for resistance testing – FREE OF CHARGE

    Send in your tails for resistance testing

    The University of Reading are collecting rat AND mouse tails for resistance testing. Send them your tails using the simple steps below:

    Collecting tails

    Email Clare Jones ( with postcodes of the sites you want to collect tails from BEFORE you collect them. Clare will tell you whether you are already near an existing data point and will be happy to give you advice.

    • Please collect 1-3 tails per site. If a tail fails testing you will be invited to send in up to a maximum of 3 replacement tails.
    • Collect tail samples from dead bodies or preferably trapped rodents (fresh, clean and intact bodies are needed for better results. If you suspect the animal has been dead for more than 3 days and is not of good quality, don’t use it).

    Cut & Bag tails

    • A tail tip (2-3 cm) is required to provide DNA from each rodent. Each tail tip must be removed using a clean blade or scissors and stored in a sealable plastic bag (e.g. Zip-Lok).
    • Once bagged (one tail per bag), the tail should either be frozen (within 12 hrs of collection) or sent immediately to the University of Reading for DNA testing.
    • An exact location must be provided with a sample (GPS co-ordinates OR a post code OR Zip code) or it cannot be processed.


    The quicker a fresh tail can be posted off OR stored in a freezer, the better the chances of successful results.


    If your samples are from a location within a 5km radius of an existing data point then the samples cannot be analysed free of charge.

    Email Clare Jones ( with postcodes of the sites you want to collect tails from BEFORE you collect them. If you would like to check whether you are near any resistance go to RRAC’s online interactive questionnaire and map.

    Labelling tails

    • The samples must be labelled correctly and packed in a way that samples cannot be touched by unauthorised people
    • You must label each tail individually.
    • Use the template below as a guide for labelling your bagged tails:

    Name: [your name]
    Date: [date the tail was collected]
    Species: [Brown Rat / House mouse]
    Site Postcode: [postcode of the site or GPS co-ordinates]
    Email: [your personal or work email]

    Sending tails

    Within 12 hours of a tail sample being collected it should be frozen or sent using next day delivery to:

    Clare Jones
    Vertebrate Pests Unit
    Harborne Building
    School of Biological Sciences
    University of Reading
    Reading RG6 6AS

    Tel: 0118 378 8329

    A polite note to NOT SEND your tails from Thursday – Sunday as the University advise it will most likely be left sitting in a post room waiting to be distributed the following week.


    The University aim to email you the results within 3-4 weeks of receiving your samples. You will be advised on how your rat/mouse strain could affect control and recommend the most effective rodenticides.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can tails only be taken from sites where no rodenticide has been used prior to trapping?

    Tails can be collected from any site. Even sites where anticoagulants have been used.

    How fresh should a rat/mouse tail sample be?

    If you have a good idea about how long your rat/mouse has been dead, it is recommended collecting tails from bodies that are no more than 2-3 days old. But please use your own judgement, if a body looks in bad condition or the skin on the tail is loose then don’t use it. The freshest bodies will have a better chance of successful results! Therefore, live trapping rats/mice is recommended if you can and removing the tail sample after they have been humanely dispatched.

    How many tails can I get tested?

    Up to 3 tails per site can be tested for free.

    If a tail fails testing, you’re welcome to send in another tail to replace it. You will be invited to send in up to a maximum of 3 replacement tails.

    Advice can be given via email (

    How can I guarantee successful results?

    Unfortunately, successful results cannot be guaranteed. Collection and testing is a very sensitive process with many factors which could impact successful DNA extraction and isolation. For this reason, it cannot be known for certain why a tail fails testing. Contamination and degradation are usually the most common problems.
    The most that can be asked from you is that:

    • each tail comes from a body as fresh as possible
    • the tails are cut with a clean pair of scissors or blade
    • tails are run under clean water to wash off any debris and dirt
    • the tails are sent off the same day as collection (within 12 hours or less) using same or next day delivery. If you can’t send them off the same day then put them in a freezer until you can do so.
    • bagged tails are put in padded envelopes to add protection

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