The evening before, myself and volunteer Ian had set up 20 Longworth traps and 10 footprint tunnels around the park, and thankfully we only had a few traps left to set as the rain began to fall!
Longworth traps are a survey method used for small mammal population studies as they safely trap mice, voles and shrews in the nest chamber of the trap (full of hay, bird seed, apple and casters), ready to be identified (and sometime marked) in the morning. Casters are a critical ingredient, as these will satisfy any shrews that are trapped – these insectivores need to eat every few hours to survive!
Footprint tunnels are the main survey method for detecting hedgehogs. They contain food, ink and paper, so that any animals enticed in by the food leave behind their footprints for us to identify!