Heligan Small Mammal Surveying

The event, hosted by Heligan and organised with Heligan and the 3 Bays Wildlife Group, was intended to get a feel for the small mammal population of the wilder areas of the Gardens (for those of you familiar with the site this was mainly in the fields/woodland and orchard behind the bird hide).

After one delay for poor weather 5 of us eventually set the traps on a very dank and misty Friday evening (finishing off by torchlight) and put out 53 traps – Longworths, BioEcoss plastic traps and (a new one for us) Shermans.

11 people turned up on the Saturday morning to help clear the traps and record. Trap occupancy was very high at over 40%. Most traps were occupied by wood mice (mostly males) but we also trapped a couple of bank voles and field voles. We also found evidence of field vole feeding in the orchard. There was some debate over identifying what looked like a juvenile field vole but was relatively brown in colour, had a short(ish) tail and a smooth(ish) coat.

Both Longworth and BioEcoss traps performed well with relatively few false trips. The Shermans have the advantage of being cheaper and also easy to store but they were quite tricky to set as all the bedding has to be away from the trigger. We also could not find an easy way to clear the traps – maybe this comes with experience?

All in all a successful event and a good learning experience comparing the different types of traps. Like the sound of coming along for some trapping? Keep an eye on our upcoming events page/our membership email updates and join us next time!


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