Paul Smelter's Diary
Mammals of Nova Scotia
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July 1, 2009: Getting down to it
Once again we started the day with a good breakfast before heading off to the
research site to check our traps from yesterday, really hoping to find a mouse in the traps.
Well, no mice, just voles and a couple of chipmunks. The latter are rather big to fit into
our traps -- but they do, so we have to add them to our record sheets with what trap
and which line we found them in. After that we reset the traps and place them back
into the field or back into the forest areas hoping to trap more throughout the
After lunch we set off to do different tasks in two teams. One team works to clear the
track into Cook's Lake Farm, and the other sets off with the other research doctors of
to count ... deer droppings? Yep that's right, deer droppings. What for, you ask? Well, by
counting all different types of poo from a deer, rabbit, porcupine, etc., we can find out
how many type of each mammals are in the area. The way we do this is to place a
marking pole into the ground and radiate 90-degree angles from this point and back
again for a distance of 10 meters square, and then bend over to study the ground to
find if there are droppings from any mammals in the section we have marked out.
The results will be calculated on Friday with Doctor Chris Newman who has been there
to supervise us and assist each member to make sure are making the right call, as
some of the poo looks like very old pine cones.