Date of this Version
Proceedings of the 16th Wildlife Damage Management Conference. (L.M. Conner, M.D. Smith, Eds). 2016. Pp. 21-25
A low-maintenance, long-term bait station that resets itself after being triggered would be a very useful tool for controlling Richardson’s ground squirrels, or other problem rodent species, in remote locations. With collaborators, we developed and tested two such devices using lab rats in pen settings. The devices can be left in-situ for long periods of time without servicing, and requires only occasional bait and/or battery replacement. Squirrels would be unable to cache bait due to the integrated time-out mechanism. The devices use capacitive sensor or strain gauge systems for animal identification, making it very unlikely that smaller non-target species would be able to trigger the systems while the design precludes entry by larger non-target species. Further refinement and testing will be needed before a viable, commercial product can go into production. These refinements include increasing reliability, reducing power requirements, design features and triggering mechanisms tightly linked to the attributes of the targeted pest species, and reduction of production costs. The devices will also need to be tested in field settings for extended periods of time.