Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mouse Spanker 3000

California mammals are, by and large, a nocturnal lot. To find out what is lurking in our backyard--and around our campsites--while we sleep we picked up a game camera. These are chiefly used by hunters to find bucks with the big racks. I surfed some hunting forums looking for camera reviews where I enjoyed dot sigs like this: Beer nuts--$1.89. Deer nuts--still under a buck.

In the end I settled on a relatively cheap camera (to test out the idea) with infrared flash (so as not to scare the animals away)--the Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared Flash Game Camera. The night before last Ev and Greta and I walked the deer trail behind the house and set the camera up on a tree facing the trail.

In addition to ourselves, this is what we caught:

Ev suggested hopefully that it might be a feral dog, and suggested we check for a collar--which, as it turns out, is clearly visible.  At least we now have proof that the camera works.

Mammals of California suggested that we construct our own live trap for rodents.  I am quite skeptical about both the safety and efficacy of this trap, but we had fun rigging it up (and naming it).

Today a naturalist is coming to the house to teach us how to best set up our camera, what baits to use, and how to identify various rodent nests.  She'll also talk about the ethics of live traps.

In a few days we'll be camping and setting up our camera at night. This will be at a crowded campground, but with luck it will help us refine our techniques so that we'll be ready when we head up the coast to Jedediah Smith Redwoods later this month.


AM said...

Upon reading the first paragraph, I was confused for a second - thought I'd ended up on the wrong blog.

Karen said...

I am on my way to bed, but I couldn't resist a blog post titled Mouse Spanker 3000.

I hope that with it, you catch one of each kind of tiny mammal that is native to California. Happy hunting!

Susan said...

AM, That's right--you never know what you'll find over here at In the Kitchen.

Karen, thanks! Our trap was empty this morning. But the kids did catch a squirrel yesterday in a Hav a Hart trap. Fun! For us.

Kristin said...

Nice trap.

I like the fact that you have found a naturalist that travels door-to-door. Please share who is willing to do that.

You are the ultimate resource queen.

Kate said...

Ha! I had the same response "Mouse Spanker 3000!" Good luck with the mammal-cam. What fun!