Small vertebrate trapping on Bon Bon Station Reserve
At Bon Bon Station Reserve (South Australia) in the country’s arid zone, there's a lot of baseline data being collected. One of these data sets is on the abundance and diversity of small mammals and reptile species that live in some of Australia’s most harsh conditions.
This involved a full-on week of trapping, we I called on the help of the Green Army based in Roxby Downs.
Green Army Coordinator, Guy Nelson and his team of 4 trainees jumped at the opportunity to be involved in the monitoring program. “Not only would the team have the chance to gain knowledge from experienced Bush Heritage staff, we'd also be able to help with important work while observing animals we'd never seen before,” said Guy.
The Green Army helped over two weeks. The first was spent setting up trapping sites, digging in new pit-fall traps and laying netting fences. The Green Army also got to see a lot of the property, taking in the unique landforms and bird life, which included South Australia’s only endemic bird the Chestnut-breasted Whiteface (Aphelocephala pectoralis).
The second week was definitely the highlight with all our hard work paying off. Our successful week of trapping captured 140 animals, comprising 28 different species (2 native mice, 2 carnivorous marsupials, 1 introduced mouse and 23 reptiles).
There were also 3 reptile species that had never been recorded on Bon Bon Station Reserve before. These were the Shovel-nosed Snake (Brachyurophis fasciolatus), the Desert Skink (Liopholis inornata) and the Lake-Eyre Basin Beaked Gecko (Rhynchoedura eyernsis).
“We all got to observe and handle some amazing creatures that some people will never see," said Guy. "Some of these included Bolam’s mice (Pseudomys bolami), Fat-Tailed Dunnarts (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) and the Jan’s Desert Banded Snake (Simoselaps bertholdi).
Green Army trainee, Tyler Stephens said “My experience during my time with green army was great fun. While it was hard work setting up the trap sites it was awesome to see all the different animals, I learned a lot”.
It was great to see so many captures during this event and with a new predator control program being rolled out reserve-wide we can hope to see abundance and diversity increasing in the future.
The next trapping event is happening in May 2017. If you're interested in getting involved, register to volunteer on our website.
Field Officer, Kate Taylor stops for a photo after getting this Bearded Dragon out of a pitfall trap.
The Northern Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus ciliaris) has the most beautiful eyes and spiky bumps that almost look like braille.
Trying to get the kinks out of a legless lizard to take its measurements is harder than you'd think. Western Hooded Scaly-foot (Pygopus nigriceps).
Tyler Stephens inspects a Western Hooded Scaly-foot (Pygopus nigriceps). This legless lizard is actually a type of gecko.
Little Long-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis dolichura) is a carnivorous marsupial. Yes, that means it has a pouch to carry its young.
The Prong-snouted Blind Snake (Anilios biturberculatus) lives underground raiding ant nests and eating the eggs. Its scales are ant-bite resistant, which allows it to get into the nest without being injured.