Gopher Tortoise Services
from the FIELD GUIDE TO BUCKET TRAPPING ~ by Thomas Connolly
The illustration on the right shows a typical
installation of a bucket trap. (The bucket was left open for the
purpose of showing the placement relative to the burrow entrance)
Notice that the entrance to this burrow is somewhat concealed by foliage offering additional security for the occupant tortoise.
The hole for the bucket is dug in the entrance of the burrow in line with the normal path of traffic, dug to a depth that has the top of the bucket positioned level with the bottom of the original burrow’s floor and sloped at about the same angle as the original entrance.
(Refer to the section: “Bucket trap and installation” for additional information!)
Craft paper has been placed over the top of the bucket and covered with a thin layer of sand and camouflaged with a few leaves.
Also notice that metering sticks have been installed at the entrance of the burrow and will aid in determining the direction that a tortoise was traveling prior to becoming captured.
Here are a few key points!
During the daily visits to inspect the site: Examine the metering sticks and carefully check the sand leading up to and covering the bucket for signs of tortoise tracks. If you find that the sticks have been pushed in or out or if you have tracks, without collapsing the camouflaged lid into the bucket you may need to make adjustments to the sensitivity of the trap, refer to setting trap sensitivity at the end of this section. If the sticks are pushed inward this is a good indication that a tortoise is entered the burrow, if the sticks are pushed outward then this would indicate that a tortoise has exited the burrow, if the sticks are moved sideways this may indicate that a small tortoise is moving in or out between the sticks. Adjustments to the sticks, sensitivity of the trap, and maintenance of the trap covering in camouflage need to be made daily as they are affected by morning dew, temperature, humidity and of course rain.
to the section: “Daily site inspections” for additional
In this case however the evidence is clear that we have successfully captured the tortoise exiting the burrow, there are no signs of disturbed soil or tracks leading up to, or around the bucket. The sticks were plowed over pointing outward and covered with sand as she was heading out to forage. This tortoise will be relocated to a starter burrow and this burrow and trap will be shut down.
(Refer to section: “ Closing down the
burrow” for additional information!)