This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ PrePrints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Camera traps are commonly used for mammal surveys and many recent studies have published variable trap success rates. All published reports have focused survey efforts in protected areas or large contiguous forests, but we used camera traps in a highly altered suburban landscape. We selected 22 camera trap sites in Warrensburg and Lee’s Summit, Missouri and surveyed for a total of 308 trapnights (TN) of effort. Procyon lotor (raccoon) had the highest trap success (38.96/100 TN), followed by: Didelphis virginiana (Virginia opossum, 37.34/100 TN); Odocoileus virginianus (white tailed deer, 27.92/100 TN); Sciurus niger and S. carolinensis (fox and gray squirrel, 19.48/100 TN); Vulpes vulpes (red fox, 8.77/100 TN); Canis latrans (coyote, 7.79/100 TN); Sylvilagus floridanus (cottontail rabbit, 3.90/100 TN); Urocyon cinereoargenteus (gray fox, 2.92/100 TN); Lynx rufus (bobcat, 1.95/100 TN); and Mephitis mephitis (striped skunk, 1.62/100 TN). These results are higher than any other published findings. We used 1-3 kg of deer meat as bait at each camera station and we believe this increased our trap success of mesopredators (Cove et al., 2012) versus studies that used no bait. However, our trap success for deer, squirrels, and rabbits were also higher than those published and these species were not attracted to bait. We hypothesize that the increased trap success in our study reflects (1) a true state of increased mesopredator abundance due to increased human-derived resources in the suburbs, and (2) concentrated activity of mammals in small fragmented forest patches versus the expansive forest tracts in other studies.
This research was presented as a poster at the 2011 Meeting of The Missouri Academy of Science.