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Comparing the Effectiveness of Fitch and Sherman Traps in a Grassland Ecosystem

Sean Beckmann*

*Department of Biology, Stetson University, DeLand, FL 32723.

Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 29, Issue 3 (2022): 342–352

Abstract
Many studies of rodents rely on the use of live trapping. Comparative studies of trap type provide researchers with information that can inform their trapping design, yet relatively few comparative studies include economical mesh traps, such as Fitch traps. I compared the effectivess of Sherman box traps and Fitch mesh traps for rodent sampling in a grassland ecosystem. Between 2016 and 2017, I set 120 trap stations with both Fitch and Sherman traps for a total of 6000 trap nights at a single tallgrass prairie-restoration site in northern Illinois. I compared trap effectivess overall and for each species captured. Fitch traps were significantly better at capturing ground squirrels than Sherman traps and comparable to Sherman traps at capturing voles and jumping mice. These results demonstrate Fitch traps provide a viable alternative to Sherman traps for sampling at this location and indicate they should be considered in future comparative studies to further assess their effectiveness, especially in grasslands.

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