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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

SCENT LURES: DO THEY WORK FOR SMALL MAMMAL SAMPLING?

Abstract

Small mammals play vital ecological roles and are often the most abundant component of the mammal community in a given ecosystem. In most instances, small mammals have highly developed olfactory senses that are the primary sensory system used for navigation, interspecific communication, and most importantly, location and evaluation of food resources. The importance of olfaction presents a potential opportunity for small mammal researchers to minimize the challenge of keeping traps clean and potentially the negative effects of ants on trapping that are typically associated with small mammal sampling using traditional baits in the southeastern U.S. Our objective for this project was to evaluate the efficacy of scented cotton balls as an alternative to traditional small mammal bait. To achieve this objective we sampled small mammals using both traditional and scent baits with Sherman and snap traps during September-November 2018. Based on 330 trap nights, capture rates were low, but similar, between scent bait and traditional bait (traditional – 0.066/trap night, scent – 0.048/trap night). Anecdotal evidence suggests that ants were less often associated with the scent bait than the traditional bait. Although more data collection in the field and lab-based behavior trials with ants is needed, our preliminary data suggest that the use of scent baits has potential benefits and should be considered more carefully as an alternative to more traditional small mammal baits.

Acknowledgements

UNG Biology department

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