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

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No Rain, but ticks!


Today was so much better than yesterday - no rain and not so cold! In fact the sun was out for most of the day. However, because it was so much warmer we had lots of ticks to deal with!! They seem to like to jump onto your clothes and then hide until you find them later on your neck, arm or leg! We always have to do tick checks when we're done in the field to make sure they aren't taking a ride home with us. Do you know what ticks are?

With our trappings today we only caught one Meadow Vole - Spunky! Meadow Voles are larger and quicker than the Red-Backed Voles. They live out in the grasslands and don't have as many hiding spots, so have to be quicker and need the extra body fat to keep warm. Well be going out tomorrow again, so hopefully will have a few more to look at.

We did some more snow-shoe hare quadrats and found over 2000 scat in our plots. Then we did some deer and field transects to see what other animals are in the Cook's lake area and found bobcat, coyote, porcupine, deer, fox, and marmet. The picture above shows how we plot out the area for a quadrat.

So why are we trapping small mammals and looking at scat? One of the reasons is to get an idea of what animals live in this area. Then scientists have to systematically monitor the populations for long periods of time to find out how abundant the animals are. They can estimate population size using mathematics. They actually know how much scat a specific animal produces in an area and then through mathematical formulas can figure out how many animals are living there. This is important information in knowing how animal populations are changing - are they getting bigger, smaller, migrating, etc.

Tomorrow - Beaver watching in the evening!!

8 Comments:

At April 20, 2010 at 7:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Sue! It looks & sounds gr8!! Reminds me of a field Biology class I took @ Harper... I'll have to see if it's still offered! Will try to get mom up here 2morrow, but have printed a few of your pics for her.... Thanx, Sandy

 
At April 21, 2010 at 8:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard that foxes do not smell very good at all. I don't know if you know, but do they? I have a fox tail that I bought one time and I actuallykind of liked the scent...-RL

 
At April 21, 2010 at 8:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sue, I hope your having fun! Miss you. See you when you get back! I think ticks feed off the blood of animals and humans (an example of a tick is lice). J.F.

 
At April 21, 2010 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A tick is a blood sucking arachnid, however they share much with the mosquito. They must have blood to lay their eggs. They are awfully hard to pull off of an animal, not to mention yourself. It is good that you're checking for these parasites, or you might come back sick.

-XX

 
At April 21, 2010 at 11:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why go beaver watched in the evening when you can do it in the DAY LIGHT!

 
At April 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A tick is like a flea. I think it's an arachnid that clings to your skin and sucks your blood.

DTR

 
At April 21, 2010 at 11:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Jake, have you seen any cool animals like the atlantic warlrus on your trip?

 
At April 21, 2010 at 11:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

ticks are little bug type things thatsuck on mostly animals blood but it can also suck human blood.
-O.C.

 

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