Answers to your questions!
Hello boys and girls! You did a very good job of answering my questions so I will attempt in this post to give you more information and answer your questions. When I told you that I was trying to catch a vole, I was hoping you would ask me what it is. A vole is a rodent that looks very similar to a mouse except that a vole has a shorter tail, no whiskers, and very small ears compared to a mouse. I have posted a picture of a vole below for you to look at. This is a vole that was caught in one of our traps this morning. Our scientist, Christina is holding this vole right now. My partner, Caroline and I actually caught this vole in one of our traps. We caught the first mammal of the expedition and we were very proud of that. In fact, we caught two animals in our traps this morning, this red backed vole and a deer mouse. Below is a picture of me holding the vole that we trapped this morning! I was kind of scared at first but voles are very mild mannered and didn't mind being handled too much. Caroline was in charge of taking the mouse out of our trap. I'm very glad that I didn't have to do that job! The mouse was running all over the plastic bag and did not want to be caught. Please remember that we did not hurt these animals in any way and that we don't hurt them when we hold them by the scruff of their necks.
You also answered my question about the maze boxes. I will explain the maze boxes in more detail in my next post when I explain to you what we did today.
My next question asked why we trap animals and why did we need so many traps. We trap these small mammals for a variety of reasons. For this expedition, the main reason we are trapping is to learn about what effect climate change is having on the animal population. We study these small mammals like mice and voles because they are at the very bottom of the food chain, meaning that a lot of animals like to eat them. There is also usually a large number of these animals because they breed all summer and can have lots of babies. By trapping and finding out about how many mice occupy an area at a time, we can begin to see patterns year after year. If one summer we trap 100 mice, but the next summer we trap 20, we can see the pattern and can look for reasons about why this is happening. The scientists we are working with believe this is due to climate change. We use so many traps so that we can try and get the most accurate count of the population that we can.
Finally, you asked me about the time zone here and the weather. I am two hours ahead of Iowa. For example, in Iowa, right now it is 9:15pm. In Nova Scotia right now, it is 11:15pm and I should be getting to bed soon! :) As for the weather, today was the best day we have had so far. It was absolutely gorgeous all day today and sunny. It was about 50 degrees and I even got a little sunburned today!
Please check my other post from tonight to learn about what we did today and to look at some more pictures from our expedition. I have inserted a picture of my friend Caroline (who is from England and is very interesting to talk to) holding the mouse that we caught in our trap today.