Last week was my holiday and when I came back this week, Laura Preston, our Ranger, had had mice running all over her desk. The paw prints were very clear. No doubt. We have got mice in our office building! Furthermore, Lindsay Mark, our Visitor Experience Manager found that some of our storage room which is right next to the office had a scent of pee. Again, the mice had been having fun in our little New Lanark building. Therefore, we decided to do something about it. The way to do it in a “non-killing way” is, Longworth trapping!
The trap consists of a tunnel, with a trip mechanism and trap door and in the end, a nest box for food and bedding to keep the prisoner alive. If you want to catch shrews you need a licence so in our traps there is a small hole in the end of the next box which you can see in the picture below. It is small enough for a shrew to get through, but too small for a wood or house mouse to escape through.
These traps are also ideal for surveying. Spread 10-20 traps out on an area with about 20 meters apart and try to cover the range of habitats such as woodland, woodland edge, grassland and wet areas. Remember to mark the area so you can locate the traps again. This can be done by sticking a branch or hammering in a pole next to a trap.
We put up 7 traps total in the storage room and office. After only two days we’d already caught two mice – one per day. We were a bit wary putting them outside at first since we were unsure whether they were wood or house mice but we absolutely couldn’t keep them in the building. After a bit of research we found out they were wood mice and therefore it was no problem releasing them on the reserve plus, there might be a great chance they won’t come back. We will keep the traps out until we have a full week of no mice. Fingers crossed we don’t have a lot.
Carina Marcussen – Volunteer Assistant Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust
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