Small Mammal Research Project

Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

Francis Marion University Students: Eleanor Rosenberry, Morgan Warner, Kimberly Baskins, Nakayla Garner, Clay Tiller.

In Fall 2022, the first cohort of Carolina Wildlands Foundation Research Fellows from Francis Marion University, led by biology professor Travis Knowles, started a multi-year field study of small mammals at Southern 8ths Farm.

Their project surveys for small mammal diversity among different habitats found in the Carolina Piedmont, including upland and bottomland hardwoods, pine plantation, native grasslands, and freshwater ponds and wetlands. Their methods involve live trapping of animals using Sherman live traps, the “industry standard” for field mammalogy. They are designed like a small “have-a-heart” trap, for humane study using catch-and-release practices

The first capture was an eastern harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys humulis). It's a small mouse that typically lives in fields and pastures throughout the southeast. Color ranges from dark brown to more reddish brown, like our specimen.

The first capture was an eastern harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys humulis). It's a small mouse that typically lives in fields and pastures throughout the southeast. Color ranges from dark brown to more reddish brown, like our specimen.

The interns learned field inventory techniques including safety, data collection, handling and release.  The interns stayed overnight at the property, setting traps at dusk to capture rodents such as native mice, voles, and rats at night when they are most active, then checking the traps first thing in the morning. When a live specimen is found in a trap, the students determine the species and safely place it in a clear bag to be weighed, measured, gendered and photographed. Then the animal is released unharmed, where it was found.