After the excitement of setting and baiting traps, clearing the critters out and then getting to handle them in the lab, there is still more work to do!
Late in the afternoon after a well deserved nap, volunteers head back into the lab to organise their animals ready to be released out into the field. As many of the volunteers have found out this week, Hopping Mice don’t take to kindly to being chased around a bucket as you try to wrap a catch bag around them. With a cry of “escapee” the entire lab is put into action chasing a rogue Hopping Mouse before safely securing him in a bag that he cannot jump out of.
After organising animals back into their groups and loading them into the vehicles teams head out to their sites to bait and re- set Elliot traps as well as re- check the pit fall traps that have been open all day. Teams then need to release the animals back at the sites they were captured at. First the skies are checked for birds of prey like ravens, eagles and hawks who wait eagerly for animals to run free of the catch bags and snap up a quick dinner.
Reptiles are placed in sandy, shaded patches, making sure they do not over heat and have plenty of shrubbery to run and hide in. Some may not know, but reptiles do not always like to be released onto hot sand as this can cause them to overheat. Instead they may need be wetted with a small amount of water to cool them down and released into a shady patch of scrub.
Mammals require us to find small holes, carefully letting their noses out of the bag as you guide them down towards the hole. This is to make sure they are well hidden from any predators and are able to come out after dark, in their own time.