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Small mammal study at Cache Creek Nature Preserve shows mice stick close to home – Daily Democrat

A house mouse captured and ear tagged in the grassland area of ​​the Cache Creek Nature Preserve. The tags have a three-digit code that allows people to identify previous recordings. The small mammals are weighed in plastic bags and inspected without direct contact before being released back into the wild. (Felicia Wang/courtesy)

A small mammal trapping study at Cache Creek Nature Preserve found that some rodents don’t stray too far from home.

The two-month, year-long study is already showing some interesting trends for mice, according to information from the Cache Creek Nature Preserve.

The first small mammal capture was conducted April 7 and 8 in collaboration with UC Davis doctoral candidate Francesca Rubino and involved seven past and current Nature Preserve wildlife interns, as well as four of Rubino’s students. A month later, in early May, a second capture took place.

Everyone involved works to catch, tag and release mice and voles.

Traps were placed in April in the southern portion of the grasslands, which was selected because it is the location of a Swainson’s Hawk easement, according to Preserve biologist Felicia Wang and other staff members.

“The mice and voles provide a common food source for the birds of prey,” Wang said. “There is also a small mammal camera in the area, which provides information about the species of mammals in the area.”

On April 7, 120 traps were deployed. On April 8, the traps were checked early in the morning. Ten traps were activated, capturing five house mice, three deer mice, one field mouse and one harvest mouse.

Preserve Director Sheila Pratt said the next round of trapping took place from May 5 to 8, and during this time four different habitat types with 30 traps each: grassland, oak savannah, riparian and wetland.

“This gives us a more complete picture of what small mammals live in the reserve and where,” she said.

During the May captures, one harvest mouse, one deer mouse and one house mouse were captured. On May 7, the team captured one deer mouse (recaptured as of May 6). On May 8, there were four deer mice (including the same recapture from May 5 and 7) and one young vole.

Some biological samples, such as feces and ticks, were also collected.

According to Wang, one of the more interesting finds so far is that so few house mice have been captured. These mice are considered invasive because they are found primarily in urban environments and not in the wild. What this means, however, remains to be learned.

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