Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

26-09-12 : Live trapping small mammals

A group of student and staff volunteers teamed up over 3 days in September to undertake some small mammal live trapping in our Kingston Hill woodland. It was all part of the Mammal Society's Mini Mammal Monitoring scheme.

Bruce showing Rachel how the Longworth traps work

The trap chambers filled ready for their first night in the woodland

On the first evening of the three days, we set out the traps with bedding and bait, but left the traps open and not set to trap. We set the traps over a 100m transect in the woodland, leaving the traps 10m apart. 

On the second evening, we returned to the woodland to refresh the bedding and bait in the traps. This time we set the traps to trip shut if they were entered. This was a fiddly job, but we got them all set up and ready to go. The question was, would we catch any critters?

New bedding and bait
Refreshing the traps
We left the traps slightly tilted down so that they wouldn't fill up with rain
Woodland camouflage!

We met at a yawningly early 7am the next day to go and check the traps... trap 1 - empty, trap 2 - empty, trap 3 - empty. We were starting to get a little disappointed, when we moved on to trap 4 and... it was closed! Plastic bag at the ready we tipped the trap contents out to find a Bank vole amongst the bedding!

We emptied the traps into plastic bags, so there was no need to handle the small mammals
Emptying the trap
A Bank vole (Myodes glareolus)
After the Bank vole, we found 2 more small mammals - both Wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus). They were much more lively - one even escaped the bag, venturing up Rachel's arm and sitting on her head for a while before deciding to scurry off back into the woodland! 

Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped out. We will be doing bait tube surveys in the woodland soon - email if you want to join in.

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