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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In the Field



Thanks everyone for commenting. The scat (poop) was from a raccoon - they are easy to tell as they often eat a variety of things and also by the shape. And for those that were concerned with my holding it - this is actually Dr. Buesching in the photo.

Today we went out into the field to set Small Mammal traps - small mammals, like voles and mice, are good indicators of climate change as their distribution and abundance are greatly affected by changes in the climate. The traps that we set do not harm the mammals. In fact, we took great care to put in a nice soft bed of hay, some grain to eat and an apple for hydration. We then walked into the forest to place 100 of these traps on a grid along the forest floor. Walking through the forest was not an easy task - lots of brambles, rocks, bushes and ticks!
After setting the traps we headed to the scientists' house to help build a cabin for one of the research areas. This involved hammer together the walls of the structure. I'm sure I'll be a little sore tomorrow!

Tomorrow we go back to check the traps for any small creatures. If we happen to catch any, we'll take them out, check and note their health, clip their hair (so we know if we have caught this animal) and then let it go. These traps are designed by a company in England, called Longworth, and each trap cost $100.

Challenge: Why do you think small mammals, like mice and voles, are so important to the ecosystem?

Also what is the total cost of all the traps we set? You can see the row of all the traps in the photo above.

8 Comments:

At April 13, 2010 at 3:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sue! Thank you for showing the fun of science by going out in the field and sending bits of it back to our classroom! Now I know 1.why not to play dead with a bear; 2. that raccoons have 10 digits; and,
3. why Nova Scotian mice and voles will be getting hair cuts!
I love to check each post for new photos!MO

 
At April 14, 2010 at 8:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think small animals are important part of an ecosystem because they are part of the food chain, and if they disappear then other animals will disappear.
OC

 
At April 14, 2010 at 8:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, all you are doing sounds like great fun. I like that dog named Lycos... He is so pretty. Wow, now I know never to play dead with a bear. I hope you are having a great time!

Challenge: Maybe small mammals are good because they provide prey for larger animals. Along with that, they are good indicators of climate change.

the number of traps set was 100.

RL

 
At April 14, 2010 at 8:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are very vunearable to climate change as they need to keep their litters warm and dry and when it is too wet or cold the babies die.

 
At April 14, 2010 at 9:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small mammals such as mice and voles play a vital role in an ecosystem because they are part of the foundation of a food web. These small mammals are normally low on the food chain and as such without them the ecosystem will be thrown off balance. Now on the topic of Nova Scotia’s ecosystem I am curious to know what the apex predator of this region is, my best guess is that it’s the wolf? As far as the cost goes for traps that’s $10,000; boy that’s quite a bite of cash to spend on traps!

R.M.C

 
At April 14, 2010 at 10:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Squirrels plant acorns unintentionally when they store them and put them in the ground. Small mammals are also a crucial link in the food chain.

JT

 
At April 14, 2010 at 11:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mice and Voles are important for the ecosystem because they eat little things such as insects and they keep the insect population under control.

And the total cost of all those traps was $10,000. That is a lot of money!

DTR

 
At April 15, 2010 at 8:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The traps are so nice maybe the vole don't mind being trapped at all...maybe it's a little vacation for them!

 

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