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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Predator with prey (From the mountain)

Br'er fox nailed a wood rat, and walked past a camera trap before eating it.

It's not common to get a camera trap photo of predation, but that's what Rich Tenaza found this weekend when he checked the cams on the mountain in Napa county.

It would have been nice if wiley fox had faced the camera, but I'm not complaining. We are mighty pleased.


Roland said...

cool, these interactions are alwasy exciting to see. We just got our first one down in Panama with this ocelot and agouti: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxhDCKc6vDU

Camera Trap Codger said...

Really neat, which goes to show that it happens now and then. Ullas Karanth gave me a fine print of a leopard carrying a limp mouse deer. It was taken during his tiger studies in Nagarahole National Park, and remains a treasure lost in a box somewhere in this house.

randomtruth said...

Hi Codger,

Glad to hear you had a good workshop. As mentioned previously, would love to see your thoughts on a variety of subjects including camera tech and camera placement, but if I had to choose one to start, I'd go for scents & attractants. In lieu of putting out sides of beef, what are some good easy-to-get scents and attractants that might cause animals to stop for some good pics?

I recently decided to try peeing on the ground in the focal zone and found that foxes, bobcats and rabbits did stop for a smell. However, I've seen you use catnip and even 7-month old crab juice and get even better results. What else works and what's the best way to use it? Are there scents that are animal specific? Do animals ignore scents after a while of use?

BTW - recently left my camera trap out unmonitored for 2 weeks for the first time and did quite well (above mentioned critters plus deer, a bear, a hawk and even a great blue heron). Unfortunately I moved the trap the evening before a mountain lion came in and took a fawn or I would have likely caught him carrying it off! Did get a blurry shot of the lion with the fawn in its mouth with my hand-held digicam though.

Anyway - your ideas on scents & attractants that could increase dwell time in front of the camera would be much appreciated.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Glad you are getting into it, RT. I'll post something in the future about scents, but what I suggest is that you get online and check out Kishels and Cumberland's NW Trapping Supply's stock of scents. You can learn a lot by reading catalogues. Use of scent is also covered in detail in the new book on "Noninvasive survey methods for carnivores", by Long et al. Check it out on Amazon. Excellent. A lot of scent lures do the trick to distract them long enough for a picture, but its important to change them so they don't habituate to any one scent. More natural than bottled scent is to collect and use scat found in the area. It really works too.