Can I pitfall trap?

sde

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Hi all,

So I am wondering if a field herper like me, with not a lot of experience, can pitfall trap?
I know how you supposed to do it, and I know that they should be checked on a daily basis.
I think I would make some modifications if I did though.
I wouldn't have it just be the bare bottom of the bucket they would fall on to, I feel like that could hurt them, possibly fatally.
So I would put loose dirt in the bottom, with some leaves and pieces of wood for hiding. It would have holes in the bottom for water drainage and would be slightly elevated off the bottom of the hole so that drainage could occur correctly. Then I would have a slightly elevated board or lid or something over the top so that rain would not freely get in and animals would be less likely to step on it ( deer coyotes etc. ).
I would check it every day.
When/if I caught some thing I would measure it and weigh it ( if I have a scale ). I would also note the species and take photographs. And maybe measure certain body features lengths so that I can identify it again and tell it from others individuals.

I am doing this to try and get an idea of the amphibian population in my area per each species. I want to monitor the population long term it I can to help determine if the population is increasing or decreasing or staying the same.
And then potentially match that to the weather conditions in those years to identify what weather conditions and such are increasing survival rates of larvae and juveniles and what weather decreases it. This could also go hand in hand with aquatic bug larvae populations, which are probably also effected by weather changes year to year.

So, do you think that would be ok if I did it? -Seth
 

Ominojacu

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I think the issue would be where you are doing this, I believe most trapping even for scientific purposes requires a permit in most places, check with your local DNR
 

sde

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I am in Washington U.S.A., so maybe. I will check. Thanks for the heads up!
 

otolith

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Ominojacu is right on about checking with your local fish and game. Most kinds of trapping, whether or for scientific or eating purposes are pretty well regulated.

If you end up getting the OK from your DFG to trap I suggest including a small piece of rope/string that goes to the bottom of your trap to the top. This allows any small rodents who might get caught in your trap to escape without injuring your herps. This was a trick I saw used during Ambystoma californiense studies here in CA.
 
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sde

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Ok, thanks for the suggestion! That must have been cool seeing A. californiense! A species I would love to find in the future.

Thanks guys for the heads up and information, I really appreciate it. -Seth
 
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