Elliott trapping is a scientific technique used to ‘live’ trap small to medium sized mammals. While other scientific techniques such as, spotlighting, thermal imaging and remote camera surveys are less invasive due to the animal not being trapped and handled, there is sometimes a need to ‘live’ trap an animal.
Some species are not able to be clearly identified without holding the species in the hand and undertaking scientific examination and measurements. For example dunnarts or feathertail gliders are unable to distinguish between species from camera trap images alone.
At other times Elliot trapping is used as confirmation of tracks / footprints or traces of hairs / scats (poo) or other evidence left behind that might indicate a threatened species that needs to be identified to confirm it’s presence at a certain location.
Elliott traps are a small metal trap with a weight sensitive treadle base plate that triggers a spring-operated door to close. They are usually used as a last option after other less invasive options can’t be used. Their use is subject to animal welfare and hence are only used by certified operators who must obtain animal ethics approval to use them.
All Elliot trap field activities must follow strict criteria around the baits and nest materials used. In addition to strict criteria around setting the traps, checking the traps, handling animals and weather conditions to ensure the safety of any trapped animals and a successful release back into the environment.
Much of Treetec’s work over the last years has involved Elliot trapping to identify the presence of Broad-toothed Rat (Mastacomys fuscus), Smoky Mouse (Pseudomys fumeus) and White-footed Dunnart (Sminthopsis leucopus). The confirmation of these threatened species locations and all other more common species identified are recorded in the Victoria Biodiversity Atlas (VBA) Register.