Hi! My name is Ms. Woodward. Please travel with me to Nova Scotia to study Climate Change and Mammals!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Setting Traps

Today we learned how to set Longworth traps. They are a special type of small mammal trap. Christina is shown here explaining how to assemble the trap. Don't worry, they are live traps. I'll post a video on how we prepare them, but I wanted to be a good listener today so I could get it right. The trap has two parts. The narrow part is the tunnel. The animals that we are trapping are burrowing animals so the opening is appealing to them. When they walk through they trip a lever and the door closes behind it. The larger part is called the nesting box. We fill it about half full with hay, about a tablespoon of seed, and a bit of apple. The animals should never be in there more than a few hours, but while they are there they have a warm nest and food. If they have seed to eat, why do you think they need a piece of apple, too? We'll check the traps twice a day, because small mammals need food to help them keep warm. If they can't eat they will die of hypothermia. Christina is marking sets of twenty traps. We'll set these traps, check them twice a day, and they will be set in the same place for three days in a row. If the door is closed we know something is inside, so we'll take that trap back to be marked and recorded. They get clip marked. That is a little haircut that cuts away a layer of fur leaving a different color top fur. We set traps in one hectare. A hectare is a 100 x 100 meter area. There were five teams, so we spread out about 20m apart. Each team had 20 traps, so they were set 5 m apart on our line. It was very rough going! I'm posting pictures, because we were climbing over huge boulders and through thick briars! The trap with the white foam on it is to help insulate the nesting box. Hopefully after all that, some of our traps will have animals. They told us not to expect too much the first day because the traps will smell of human and it is something new and mysterious in the environment. When we were done we went to the home of the scientists Chris and Christina, ate lunch, and then had another project. Each team they meet with in the next several months will be helping to build a field site cabin for Cook's Lake (we'll be there next week). Then volunteers will have a place to work out of the weather. We made wall frames today. Yes, that is me hammering nails into the frame!


At April 13, 2010 at 6:58 PM , Blogger Jill said...

Is there a trick to choosing the best site for the traps? I noticed that one is set right next to a mossy rock. I would think that the foreign appearance of the foam would make the animals suspicious of it, though. And do you map out where you've set the traps? Or do you just need to remember where you put it? (I suppose the white foam would help make it easier to spot ...) I can't wait to hear when you find your first closed door!

At April 13, 2010 at 8:08 PM , Blogger Kerry said...

It looks beautiful there!

At April 14, 2010 at 9:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The need an apple because they might need fruit.John.H

At April 14, 2010 at 9:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kinds of animals did you catch in the traps? Are there any animal prints leading up to the trap? Was making the traps a hard project? What kind of seed did you use in the traps?

Miss Woodward's Class

At April 17, 2010 at 2:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imiss you sooo much I can't wait for you to come back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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