The traps have been set, the bait left out and the Petersen girls have gone to bed filled with the excitement of what we might find in the morning. It all sounds a bit gruesome but in fact it’s all part of a “hedgehog survey” for The Mammal Society.
We’ve decided to play detective and find out what mammals, other than hedgehogs, come out at night in the garden. We know they’re there…Bramble and Pixie have left a few “gifts” at the back door over the past few weeks, but we’ve spent the evening erecting “mammal tunnels” to try and record the Fishpond’s Nightlife!
They were simple to make; a large sheet of black corrugated plastic folded into a triangular tracking tunnel. Using paperclips we secured a piece of plain paper at each opening and bait in the middle. At the edge of each piece of paper we stuck down masking tape and loaded it with ink made from poster paint and olive oil.
We made two tunnels and Maddie carefully chose where to site them. One has been put next to a flower bed at the side of the lane, where Maddie thought she had identified a mouse hole. And the other is in long grass at the edge of a field.With any luck, the hedgehogs, mice, shrews and their other small furry friends will be tempted by the peanut butter, cashews nuts and dried apricots that were lovingly left out for them this evening. After feasting on our goodies, they will inadvertently leave a footprint trail as they scurry through the ink and across the paper.
Part of me can’t help but think I will have two disappointed girls in the morning when we check for footprints and find blank paper. But we know there’s life out there……and we’re determined to track it.