Background & Introduction

Much of the research work undertaken by BioEcoSS Ltd and Simon Poulton over the last thirty years, both in the UK and overseas, has involved small mammals. Most of this has involved live-trapping, usually with metal traps such as the Longworth or Sherman. Despite their utility, it clear that there are many drawbacks to these traps, that have remained substantially unchanged over fifty years.

In 2008, Simon Poulton had completed the pilot study of the National Small Mammal Monitoring Scheme for The Mammal Society and he was planning the launch of the full scheme. It became clear to him that the cost and availability of existing traps would be a serious constraint on the volunteers for this scheme. This prompted him to draw up plans for a new trap, designed to be entirely plastic with simple, snap-fit assembly – and at a fraction of the price.

Well, "The best laid plans of mice and men..."! Three and a half years later – after much frustration and anxiety – the first TubeTrap rolled off the production line. BioEcoSS has been trialling them alongside an existing "well known" trap, with a carefully designed, paired field experiment. In addition, several users are carrying out their own independent comparisons. These are being compiled into a meta-analysis for comparison between TubeTraps and existing traps, but user's comments can be read here.

Acknowledgements

Many people and organisations have helped with the design and manufacturer of the TubeTraps. In particular:

  • David Plummer at The Design Institute, Coventry took the original design and turned it into a working prototype.
  • Tony Brown and Ian Valentine of BFT Engineering Ltd, Kidderminster provided a wealth of experience and expertise in designing and creating the injection moulding tools.
  • Mike Trigger and Derek Free of B.T.F. Polymers Ltd, Shrewsbury stepped in at a time of crisis and have worked ceaselessly to produce the prototypes and production traps.

The TubeTrap could not have been developed without them - I am gratefull to them all. In addition, many people have given support and encouragement throughout the production and trialling process. Thanks are due to Simon Baker, Diana Bell, Johnny Birks, John Flowerdew, Rob Strachan and Kate Williamson.

During development of the BioEcoSS TubeTrap generous grant aid was awarded by Innovation Networks, Advantage West Midlands and Coventry University Enterprises Ltd.