Tuesday morning once again had the volunteers rising early, but this time there was the promise of cute little critters, waiting to be cleared from traps.
After a quick run through about the ethics of clearing traps and how it is easiest done, it was time to get stuck in to annual trapping. The first important check is to make sure there are no snakes hiding at the bottom of the pit fall trap, using a jigger (wooden handle with small metal hook on the end) to move the sand and shelters around. The clearing of pit falls involves getting down on hands and knees and poking around with your fingers to make sure there are no small creatures hiding in the toilet roll shelters provided. It is also important to make sure all of the sand in the bottom of the pit is sifted through thoroughly, as small reptiles often find this a perfect hiding place.
On to the Elliot traps and the real excitement comes when you approach one with its door closed and the scratching inside confirms there is a small mammal in there! After ensuring the catch bag is wrapped tightly around the Elliot trap, the door can be opened and the animal moved from the trap into the bag. You need to be quick though, those Spinifex Hopping Mice can be very tricky, jumping out the sides of bags that weren’t closed quickly or tightly enough.
The teams worked quickly to make sure they removed all the animals from their traps before it became too hot and too bright making the animals uncomfortable. It was then on to the lab for processing. To find out how we process our little critters, check out the blog tomorrow for an update and find more photos at www.facebook.com/AridRecovery