Camera traps are a popular tool for monitoring wildlife though they can fail to capture enough morphological detail for accurate small mammal species identification. Camera trapping small mammals is often limited by the inability of camera models to: (i) record at close distances; and (ii) provide standardised photos. This study aims to provide a camera trapping method that captures standardised images of the faces of small mammals for accurate species identification, with further potential for individual identification. A novel camera trap design coined the 'selfie trap' was developed. The selfie trap is a camera contained within an enclosed PVC pipe with a modified lens that produces standardised close images of small mammal species encountered in this study, including: Brown Antechinus (Antechinus stuartii), Bush Rat (Rattus fuscipes) and Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps). Individual identification was tested on the common arboreal Sugar Glider. Five individual Sugar Gliders were identified based on unique head stripe pelage. The selfie trap is an accurate camera trapping method for capturing detailed and standardised images of small mammal species. The design described may be useful for wildlife management as a reliable method for surveying small mammal species. However, intraspecies individual identification using the selfie trap requires further testing.
Available for download on Saturday, December 07, 2019