Small Mammal Survey

Dibbinsdale LNR Small Mammal Survey 2011

Early in April a survey of small mammals around the meadow near the Rangers Office was undertaken with the support of Wirral Wildlife.  On day 1 twenty live traps were locked open and baited to get the animals familiar with them, and then on the evening of Day 3 the traps were activated and shrew survival rations added (if this is not done any shrews caught are very likely to starve to death within very few hours!). Traps were checked both early morning and evening over the next two days.  Throughout the survey techniques recommended by The Mammal Society were used and a licence for shrew handling had been obtained from the appropriate authority.  The key aim of the survey was to determine which mammals were present in the area.

The trapping was very successful with high capture rates on both days. The four species found were Wood Mouse, Short-tailed Vole, Bank Vole and Common Shrew.  At each capture a small hair clipping was taken to mark the animal. A different clip mark location used at each trapping session. Several animals were captured more than once and one individual was actually captured on all four capture periods ( he must have really liked the trap bedding and food supply!).

Overall 47 captures were made, the sex, weight and clip markings of each animal were noted before it was released. The number of different individuals animals we caught were;  10 Wood Mice, 5 Short-tailed Voles,  7 Bank Voles and 3 Common Shrews. Throughout the survey no animals were injured or died, no traps were disturbed or lost and our expertise in the management of surveys was improved with two novice small mammal trappers being trained.