Welcome :) Follow my blog as I explore the mammals of Nova Scotia!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 4- East Point Medway Research Site

Weather: Sunny
Temperature: 40s F

Today was a very busy day! We woke up this morning and drove over to where Christina and Chris live.

Christina and Chris's House

It was an important morning for us because we needed to prepare the traps for the afternoon when we would place them in the field. The traps we use are called Longworth Traps and they are made in England. The Scientists have never trapped this early in the season. Due to the fact that they are made out of metal, it was necessary for us to make insulating "jackets." Since the small mammals (mice and voles) we are hoping to trap have very little body fat, we need to make sure they are able to stay warm overnight until we can release them in the morning. Remember this is human trapping (catch and release) ... not trapping for furs! We spent a few hours cutting styrofoam and covering the traps... we were able to cover 65 of them,but not all 100.

Alison cuts styrofoam for the traps
Once the traps were covered, we labeled them with a letter (A-D) and a number (1-25). These will be important later on when we are placing them in the field. Then they were loaded up for transport to the field site and we had a quick picnic lunch before heading off.
Traps ready to go!
When we reached the site of the trap placement, we had to hike a bit down a path with our boxes of traps, 2 bags of hay, birdseed and several other tools. It was time to stuff the traps and prepare them for any of the little visitors we might get. In order to prepare a trap properly you need to have a couple necessities: Nesting materials and FOOD! In each trap we put in a baseball sized amount of hay, a little birdseed and a small slice of apple. This will provide a warm place for the animal to stay over night as well as some food to keep up their calories in this cold weather. Once the traps were prepared, we set them and got ready to place them in the field. Wouldn't you find them cozy?

Trap "set" The view looking inside the trap

We went out in teams of two and three to set 4 lines of 25 traps. Each line was either A,B,C, or D. The traps were labeled 1-25. Each of the lines were about 30 meters apart and each trap was then set 5 meters apart. Most traps had the styrofoam jackets on them but the bare ones we had to be extra careful placing... we needed to find natural materials like leaves, pine needles and dirt to try and make them insulated.

When finding a good place to place the trap, we were instructed to "think like a mouse". Mice like to run along areas that are protected on a side, for example along sides of rocks or fallen trees. They also lake places that have a lot of covering in the form of tree branches or leaves. These are the types of places we looked for when we set our traps. This was difficult work because the terrain we were hiking over was pretty rough, lots of big boulders and what seemed like millions of trees. It was very difficult to navigate carrying huge boxes of traps.

The Terrain

Trap Placement

After setting the traps we were pretty exhausted. We headed into a nearby town called Liverpool to get some groceries and then went back to the accommodations for dinner. Tomorrow we will go out and check the traps in the morning. We will also check them in the afternoon. It is important that we check them twice a day so that the animals are not stressed too much and so that they can be free again to go home. We are hoping to find at least a few mammals. I asked Chris how many we should anticipate finding tomorrow and he said that usually the first night of the first trapping session yields only 5 or so. This is because they traps are now foreign in the environment and it might take a day or so for the mice and voles to be adventurous enough to go near them. We'll see! The traps will be out for 3 days so we will bring them in on Friday and analyze the data at that time. Alright this is all for now, talk to you soon :)

? What is the difference between mice and voles?? Do any of you know?


At March 17, 2010 at 10:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

voles are large and eat insects and other small animals along with plants. while mice are small and eat only plans.
Adam P.

At March 17, 2010 at 10:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the brain worm doto the moose to kill it?

Matt B.

At March 17, 2010 at 10:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Smith,
Are you having fun in Nova Scotia? I bet you are but guess what? It is supposed to get to 60 degrees today so its really nice out-there is not even any rain! Is is getting any warmer in Nova Scotia or is it still cold? If its cold when do you eat ice cream? Wouldn't that make you colder? (: I eat ice cream during the winter too though... so I guess its not weird. Do you get to name the animals you trap? If you do can you name a really cute one Taylor? (: Just kidding. Okay I will see you in about 2 weeks!! This was a really long post. Bye!
Taylor G.

At March 17, 2010 at 10:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Smith,
I still think this is really cool.
Can you make sure to post pictures of the animals you trap, I want to see what types of animals you are able to trap. Also, are Chris and Christina married?

At March 17, 2010 at 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

do the traps hurt the animals?!

At March 17, 2010 at 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I hope you are having fun. Happy St. Patrick's Day

From Sam

At March 17, 2010 at 8:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference between mice and voles is that the mice have large eyes, large ears, and long tails (just at least as long as their bodies)and voles have smaller eyes, smaller ears and shorter tail.


At March 18, 2010 at 10:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Smith! Guess what!? Today's temp is suppose to go up to 70! Isn't that awsome! Well,I hope the weather is decent up there for you. Byee

Lady N

At March 18, 2010 at 10:57 AM , Blogger DillonF said...

it sounds like setting up the trap would be really fun!


At March 23, 2010 at 10:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms.Smith!!!!

I hope you are having tons of fun! Has all the ice cream been eaten yet?! This is a little late, but I hope you had a fantastic St. Patrick's Day:)

Melissa K.

At March 24, 2010 at 3:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Smith
Why did you go to the tree farm?

Will L.

At March 24, 2010 at 3:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long was the ride to Kejimkujik National Park? Were you bored?
Will L.


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