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Use of a Mesh Live Trap for Small Mammals: Are Results from Sherman Live Traps Deceptive?

Michael J. O'Farrell, William A. Clark, F. H. Emmerson, Stephen M. Juarez, Fenton R. Kay, Theda M. O'Farrell, Tracy Y. Goodlett
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1382517 692-699 First published online: 25 August 1994


Two types of mesh live traps were better than Sherman traps for capturing rodents in high and low deserts, Mediterranean grassland and shrubland, and riparian woodland and scrub habitats (P < 0.001). Mesh traps took more species and more individuals within a species than did Sherman traps, resulting in substantially different estimates of density, sex ratios, age structure, and movement. Kangaroo rats frequently kicked sand into Sherman traps, but not into mesh traps. A significant difference in trap response for a variety of rodents suggests a need for reevaluation of studies on populations, behavior, and distribution conducted with Sherman and other closed, box-type traps.

Key words
  • trap comparison
  • rodents
  • Dipodomys
  • density
  • population structure
  • movements
  • distribution
  • behavior