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Comparing live-capture methods for nutria: single- versus multiple-capture cage traps

December 2, 2019

Herbivory and burrowing by nutria (Myocastor coypus) cause substantial ecological
and economic damage. Trapping is a common, effective practice for reducing nutria damage;
however, trapping approaches must continually be adapted to keep pace with evolving animal
welfare and ethical issues and to more effectively target pest species of interest. Our objective
was to evaluate the efficacy of 2 nonlethal trap types for nutria: single-capture (SCT) and
multi-capture (MCT) cage traps. We established 3 MCTs and 3 SCTs at each of 7 sites on
a 10,500-ha mixed-use island located 15 km northwest of Portland, Oregon, USA. We prebaited using carrots, apples, and sweet potatoes for ≥3 consecutive days before trapping.
We checked traps daily, and an infrared motion camera was established near each MCT to
document activity. We captured 26 nutria over 724 trap nights, and all captures occurred at 4
sites. Nutria captured by MCTs were larger (6.38 ± 1.68 [SD] kg, n = 10) than nutria captured
by SCTs (4.21 ± 2.48 [SD] kg, n = 16; F1,25 = 5.51, P = 0.02). Camera surveillance showed
multiple nutria present in an MCT on ≥2 occasions, although individuals <3.7 kg were able to
escape. The MCTs were more expensive, larger, heavier, and more difficult to transport and
deploy. However, MCTs were less likely to capture nontargets. Improvements to MCT door
design would likely increase multiple catch opportunities and decrease escapes.

Publication Year 2019
Title Comparing live-capture methods for nutria: single- versus multiple-capture cage traps
DOI 10.26077/4ssf-gp94
Authors Trevor R. Sheffels, Jacoby Carter, Mark S. Sytsma, Jimmy D. Taylor
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Human-Wildlife Interactions
Index ID 70208188
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center