Did we catch a potoroo?

May 15, 2009 by
Filed under: Australian Mammals 
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So, did we manage to catch a potoroo at Mount Royal National Park?

Mount Royal National Park
Well, yes and no. The trapping in our cage traps was unsuccessful for potoroos, but we were successful for other animals. But more of this later.

What sort of trapping were we doing at Mount Royal National Park?

We laid out 48 cage traps in 3 lots of 16, each trap was about 250 metres apart. Each cage trap was accompanied by 2 elliott “A” traps. The elliott traps were baited with a ball of a mixture of peanut butter, honey and oats and the cage traps also had one of these balls and a slice of white bread with strawberry jam, yum.

Elliott trap

Elliott Trap with closed door indicating a trapped animal is alive inside

We have trapped at Mount Royal on a previous 5 occasions and this year we caught the most Brown Antechinus (Antechinus stuartii) in the elliott traps that we have ever caught. We had 114 captures of Brown Antechinus, which is a trap capture rate of about 30%, very successful indeed.

Kindi Smith and antechinus

Kindi Smith with a Brown Antechinus

Every Antechinus captured is weighed, sexed and marked with a unique marking of paint so we can tell if an individual is recaptured. Brown Antechinus are carnivores, they eat insects and other invertebrates and small skinks. The males only live for 10 months and the females can live for up to 2 years. We also caught some Bush Rats in the Elliott traps with one huge male weighing 169g.

But what about the cage trapping?

Cage Trap

Cage trap with bottom treadle and protective cover. Trap set with door open.

We did catch some interesting animals in the cage traps. Previously we have caught Long-nosed Potoroos, Spotted-tailed Quolls, Northern Brown Bandicoots, Brush-tailed Possums and even some birds.

Pied Currawong and friends

Pied Currawong in trap with friends.

This year we did trap some birds, we trapped some Pied Currawongs (Strepera graculina) and as you can see they all wanted to join in the party of white bread and strawberry jam!

Not only did we trap some birds, we also trapped a beautiful juvenile Brush-tailed possum and something else very special. We also trialled some interesting techinques that gave us some surprising results. Keep tuned for the next post to see what we caught.

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