It’s been a couple of months now since GVI expanded its research program by digging a two-bucket pitfall trap in Shimoni East forest – an experiment of sorts, and an attempt to start looking more closely at some species that have at times been overlooked in the past: frogs, lizards, and potentially some smaller snakes.
Two months on, it’s safe to say the experiment’s been a success. The Shimoni East pitfalls have been regularly catching frogs, toads, and one very special White-Toothed Shrew – a species not previously known to live in the area. So with that in mind, we decided to try it again. We picked Shimoni West forest (the larger forest patch to the west of Shimoni, where GVI is just starting to conduct research) as our next target, and went for a bit more of an ambitious approach…
The Shimoni West pitfalls didn’t come easily – it took two solid days of digging through pretty impossible-looking coral rag just to get the holes in place – but the result was definitely worthwhile. With 4 buckets (all of them deeper than those in Shimoni East) and a total of 30 metres of drift fence, it was hoped that we would start catching both a great quantity of creatures and a wider range of species (including, hopefully, some larger frog and reptile species that might be able to escape from the shallower Shimoni East traps).
It’s perhaps still too soon to tell how successful we will be, but we’re off to a promising start. We opened the traps up yesterday, just after we finished putting up the fence, and checked them out this morning. The result was 5 frogs in healthy condition – best of all, only two of them were the same species.
We’re now in the process of identifying them all from our photos – if we succeed in that, it’s pretty likely we’ll be adding to our species catalogue once again. Not bad for the first day’s haul – watch this space for more updates as the project continues!